Thanksgiving is days away and now is the time to start defrosting your turkey.
Putnam County UT Extension Agent Michelle Parrott said some of the largest turkeys can take up to four days to fully thaw.
“What you want to do is make place in your fridge, get a small pan you can place the turkey in and then, look at the pounds of meat you have,” Parrott said. “Basically, you are looking at around 24 hours thaw time for each four to five pounds of meat.”
For those of you that forgot to take your bird out of the freezer, do not worry. Parrott said you can safely defrost your turkey by submerging it in cold water in the original packaging.
“What we really encourage is thawing in the refrigerator, but let’s say you forgot and it is like, ‘Oh my goodness, it is two days before Thanksgiving.’ Don’t worry,” Parrott said. “You can put it in your sink, but you need to do what is called water thawing.”
Every 30 minutes, replace that water to prevent it from reaching room temperature. Parrott said defrosting this way only takes about 30 minutes per five pounds of meat.
“If you do it with the cold water thawing, it (the turkey) will be fine,” Parrot said. “Now, rushing is a problem if you just put that bird out in the sink itself with no cold water or sitting it on your counter top in a pan and hoping the room temperature of your home thaws that out. You definitely do not want to do that.”
Most turkeys have pop-up thermometers, but let’s say your turkey does not. Parrott said to have a meat thermometer ready to make sure your turkey is 165 degrees at the thickest part of the breast.