Turkey Q&A

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How well do you know Thanksgiving turkey safety tips? Let's find out!

Thanks to the "Turkey for the Holidays" website from UI Extension for these tips!

Q: How long does a turkey take to thaw?
A: Allow about 24 hours of defrost time for every 5 pounds of turkey. For example, a 20 pound turkey will take 4 to 5 days to thaw.

Q: What is the lowest oven temperature I can cook my turkey at?
A: The USDA does not recommend cooking turkey in an oven set lower than 325°F.

Q: What temperature should my thermometer reach?
A: Cook turkey until temperature in the innermost part of the thigh reaches 165°F as measured with a food thermometer. Check the wing and the thickest part of the breast too.

Q: Can I stuff my turkey the night before? That seems like a good time saver.
A: Nope! Why? Harmful bacteria can multiply in the stuffing and cause food poisoning even when the stuffed bird is refrigerated. The cavity of the bird actually insulates the stuffing from the cold temperatures of the refrigerator and acts as an incubator for the harmful bacteria.

Q: Our family grazes on food all day on Thanksgiving. How long can I leave cooked turkey out?
A: Put turkey away two hours after coming out of the oven. Remove stuffing from the cavity, cut turkey off the bone and refrigerate or freeze all leftovers for later use.

Q: Can I eat on leftover turkey all week?
A: Nope! Leftovers should be eaten within four days. On day four, eat the rest, freeze it, or throw it out!

Turkey Bone Broth

Turkey carcass and all bones from leftover turkey
2 coarsely chopped carrots
1 celery rib with leaves, chopped
1 onion chopped
1 clove of minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped parsley with stems
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 bay leaf
Water or canned chicken broth (if you are short on bones)

1. Break up turkey bones and place in a large pot. Add remaining ingredients and cover with 2 quarts water or canned chicken broth or a combination of the two. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook, skimming for 2 hours. Strain and boil down to one quart.

Today's post was written by Caitlin Mellendorf. Caitlin Mellendorf, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and Nutrition & Wellness Educator serving DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties. She teaches nutrition- and food-based lessons around heart health, food safety, diabetes, and others. In all classes, she encourages trying new foods, gaining confidence in healthy eating, and getting back into our kitchens.