Chapter 2. Storing an Uncooked Turkey
Rule #4: Store turkeys at 40 degrees F. or below. Store turkeys in the coldest part of your refrigerator, in the back on a lower shelf.
Q: How long can a whole turkey be kept frozen?
A: A whole frozen turkey in its original packaging may be stored at 0 degrees F. for up to one year before the quality begins to deteriorate. Properly thawed frozen turkeys can be refrigerated in their original packaging from 1 to 5 days before cooking.
Q: How long can a fresh turkey be kept refrigerated?
A: A locally raised fresh turkey will last only 1-2 days refrigerated at 40 degrees F. or below. Commercially raised fresh turkeys in their unopened packaging may last longer and should be marked with a "Use By" date, which is your best indicator (but in our experience that date stretches the quality and freshness a day too long); they may usually be kept as long as 3-4 days under refrigeration.
- What size turkey should I buy?
- Is it better to buy one large turkey or two small ones?
- Should I buy fresh or frozen?
- What about turkeys that have been injected with fats and seasonings?
- What about turkey parts and frozen stuffed turkeys?
- How long can a whole turkey be kept frozen?
- How long can a fresh turkey be kept refrigerated?
- Thawing Rules
- Thawing Methods
- Turkey Thawing Charts
- Is it best to cook the stuffing inside the bird, or separately in a baking dish?
- If I do want to stuff the bird, what's the best way to do it?
- How much stuffing do I need?
- Do I need to close up the cavity after it has been stuffed?
- Preparations Step-by-Step
- Stuffing & Trussing
- Do I need to truss the bird's legs, or can I just roast it the extra effort?
- Roasting Step-by-Step
- How do I keep the breast meat moist when cooking?
- Use a Meat Thermometer
- My turkey comes with a plastic pop-up timer. Can't I use that instead?
- How accurate are "recommended cooking times"?
- How can I tell when the turkey is done?
- USDA Timetable for Turkey Roasted at 325 degrees F.
- Rules for Making Gravy
- Making the Basic Gravy
- Additions to Gravy
- Basic Carving steps
- Removing the Thigh, Drumstick & Wings
- Carving the breast
- Storing leftovers
- Reheating leftovers
- Back to Thanksgiving Headquarters
This page modified November 2006