Tag Archives: thawing

Thawing a frozen turkey

It's not a good time to be a turkeyTHE GOLDEN RULE: Never thaw a frozen turkey at room temperature.

By far the best method is to thaw the bird in the refrigerator (set no higher than 40F)  and, be warned, this will probably take 3-4 days, depending on the size of bird you are dealing with. 

To do this: Leave the bird in its original wrapping and place on a tray in the bottom of your refrigerator.  Allow 5 hours per pound of bird – so for a bird of, say 14lbs, you would be looking at 70 hours (or just over 3 full days).  Be sure to keep an eye on it during that time because you will periodically have to empty liquid out of the bottom of the tray … you don’t want to flood your fridge with raw turkey juice!

Quick method: Check that the turkey is in leak-proof packaging.  If it is, put it, in its original wrapping, in a sink of cold water, breast side down.  In the same way that ice cubes transfer their low temperature to a drink, so your frozen turkey will lower the temperature of the water.  In other words, you’re going to have to change the water in the sink every half hour in order to maintain a consistent temperature.  Allow half an hour per pound of turkey so, for example, the 14lb bird mentioned above is still going to take 7 hours to defrost.  Cook as soon as you have completed this process. 

I wouldn’t recommend using a microwave.  The nature of microwave ovens means that the bones will become hotter quicker and the meat immediately around them may effectively start to cook, causing potential health hazards.  If you feel you absolutely must use a microwave, follow the manufacturer’s instructions precisely and, again, aim to cook the bird immediately after.

Here are a couple of charts which may help when calculating thawing times:

Refrigerator thawing (weights represent a whole bird)

8 – 12 pounds ……… 1 to 2 days

12 – 16 pounds …….. 2 to 3 days

16 – 20 pounds …….. 3 to 4 days

20 – 24 pounds …….. 4 to 5 days

Cold water thawing times

8 – 12 pounds ……… 4 to 6 hours

12 – 16 pounds …….. 6 to 8 hours

16 – 20 pounds …….. 8 to 10 hours

20 – 24 pounds …….. 10 to 12 hours

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Basic Kitchen Hygiene

It’s coming up to that time of year again, when we wrestle with a behemoth of a bird in order to feed the gathering hordes family.  I often think that handling poultry is a bit like preparing fugu fish.  Get it wrong and you’ll pay – big time!  Don’t get in a panic however, the Gentle Voice is here to dispense a few words of wisdom that will help you through.  To begin with…

Hey..chicken tips!Should you wash poultry before cooking?  Simple answer: No. 

  • Salmonella cannot be washed off meat and can only be destroyed by the heat of proper cooking.  Washing poultry only raises the risk of splashing raw juices around sinks and work surfaces.

For further information, please visit the USDA site here and/or the Food Standards Agency site here

Here are a few other facts, pointers and tips:

Harmful bacteria can be found in all poultry: chicken, duck, goose and turkey as well as game birds like partridge and pheasant. 

Store raw birds in the bottom of your fridge to reduce the risk of cross contamination.

Keep cooked meat away from raw meat.

Thoroughly thaw frozen meat – plan ahead and follow instructions on the packaging ‘to a T’, defrosting in the safe, cool environment of the refigerator (in other words, below 40F). Use your own judgement too – if you see ice crystals, or the flesh is ‘crunchy’ with ice when you start to handle it then it needs longer to defrost!  Some more information specifically to do with thawing can be found here.

Be aware that any / all packaging around the meat may well be tainted with harmful bacteria.  If you’ve touched it, you need to wash your hands.

Use separate cutting boards for raw meat

When you have handled raw meat, make sure that you thoroughly wipe down and clean anything that it has touched, together with all nearby surfaces, with hot soapy water.

~~~T O P~~T I P~~~

When I’m about to handle raw meat, I first fill a bowl in the sink with plenty of warm water, make sure that I have one of those soap dispensers with a push top nearby, and a few sheets of kitchen roll.  Once I’ve finished handling the raw meat I can plunge my hands straight into the clean water, press the top of the soap dispenser with my forearm and dry my hands with kitchen roll.  That way I don’t have to touch kitchen taps with ‘meaty hands’.  (To be honest I am so careful about raw meat that I usually wash my hands once in the bowl of water and then in running water from the tap, finishing by washing out the bowl and around the tap anyway!  Obsessive?  Yes maybe, but I have never made my family sick from the food I have prepared and I intend that things stay that way)!

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Filed under General Health, General house tips, What's Cooking?