When purchasing a whole turkey, we would suggest the following pounds per number of guests:
Whole Turkey Buying Guide
For questions on larger parties, please contact us.
Yes. But without the aid of a blast freezer (used commercially to freeze at a very rapid rate), you may experience a slight loss in quality. Slow freezing increases ice-crystal formation, causing damage to muscle fiber and moisture loss.
|Food Item||Time Limit|
|Cooked turkey||3-4 days|
|Other cooked turkey dishes and gravy||3-4 days|
|Food Item||Time Limit|
|Turkey slices or pieces (plain)||About 4 months|
|Turkey slices in broth or gravy||6 months|
|Other cooked poultry dishes, stuffing and gravy||4-6 months|
Freezer storage times are for quality only. Frozen foods remain safe indefinitely.
There are two methods to thaw a frozen turkey:
Cold Water Thawing
Refrigerator Thawing Times
A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 days before cooking. Foods thawed in the refrigerator can be refrozen without cooking, but there may be some loss of quality.
Cold Water Thawing Times
A turkey thawed by the cold water method should be cooked immediately. After cooking, meat from the turkey can be refrozen.
Both wooden and plastic cutting boards can be washed in hot, soapy water or put in the dishwasher. Cutting boards wear out over time. You should replace any board that has developed hard-to-clean grooves or looks excessively worn.
Following three simple rules will go a long way toward keeping your family safe. First, raw poultry should always be refrigerated at or below 40° F. Second, it should be cooked properly to internal temperatures of at least 165° F, as determined by a meat thermometer. Third, all counters, utensils and surfaces that come in contact with the raw turkey and its juices should be washed with hot, soapy water.
Cross-contamination can occur when preparing raw poultry for cooking. Raw meat juices containing microorganisms can get on the countertop, on utensils, etc., and if not cleaned, may result in cross-contamination of the next item to come in contact with the counter or utensils (for example, salad materials—tomatoes, lettuce—or other items that may not be cooked).
Per the Food Safety and Inspection Service, use hot, soapy water and paper towels or clean cloths to wipe your kitchen surfaces or spills. Wash cutting boards, dishes and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next.
According to the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the USDA, all leftovers should be stored in shallow containers and refrigerated or frozen within two hours of cooking. Bacteria grow rapidly between the temperatures of 40° F and 140° F. After food is safely cooked, hot food must be kept hot at 140° F or warmer to prevent bacterial growth. Within two hours of cooking food or after it is removed from an appliance keeping it warm, leftovers must be refrigerated. Throw away all perishable foods that have been left in room temperature for more than two hours (one hour if the temperature is over 90° F, such as at an outdoor picnic during summer).
Cold perishable food, such as chicken salad or a platter of deli meats, should be kept at 40° F or below. When serving food at a buffet, keep food hot in chafing dishes, slow cookers, or warming trays. Keep food cold by nesting dishes in bowls of ice or use small serving trays and replace them often. Discard any cold leftovers that have been left out for more than 2 hours at room temperature (1 hour when the temperature is above 90 °F).
When a fresh turkey or turkey breast is purchased and frozen by the consumer in a home freezer, it should be used within one year for best results. (Source: FSIS/USDA)
When a fresh turkey or turkey breast is purchased and frozen by the consumer in a home freezer, it should be used within one year for best quality (Source: FSIS/USDA). When freezing fresh poultry, do note that without the aid of a blast freezer (used commercially to freeze at a very rapid rate), you may experience a slight loss in quality. Slow freezing increases ice-crystal formation, which can negatively affect the quality of your fresh turkey.
When refrigerated at temperatures between 36 – 40 degrees (or cooler), fresh turkey should be wholesome through the “sell by” date listed on the tag. However, because home refrigerators are not typically as consistent at holding temperature as commercial grade refrigerated systems, we suggest you cook or freeze your turkey within 4 – 5 days of purchase (not to exceed use by date) to ensure highest quality and freshness.
No. At room temperature, hazardous bacterial growth may have occurred after that length of time. You should dispose of the turkey.
Eating Within 2 hours?
Keep the food hot. Keeping food warm is not enough. Harmful bacteria multiply fastest between 40 and 140° F.
Set oven temperature high enough to keep the turkey at 140° F or above. Use a food thermometer to check. Stuffing and side dishes must also stay hot (at 140° F or above). Covering with foil will help keep the food moist.
Eating Much Later?
It’s not a good idea to keep food hot longer than two hours. It is better if you:
Turkeys can be kept in the freezer for a year without issue. The problem that arises with product in the freezer isn’t a food safety concern but more of a quality concern. Oxidation takes place over time and can result in off flavors.