Getting burned isn"t the only thing come worry about when it concerns cooking her turkey this Thanksgiving.

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Cooking a turkey take away a most preparation and also if the turkey isn"t save or cooking correctly, human being may unintentionally make their guests or family members members sick, according to Tina Hanes, a technical details specialist through the United states Department of agriculture meat and also poultry hotline.

"We obtain hundreds of call from human being who aren"t sure if the turkey is spoiled or if it"s been in the fridge as well long," she said.

Remember, Thanksgiving need to look like this:

Not this:

Here"s a overview you can use come ensure the your family and also friends don"t remember the year you held Thanksgiving as the year everyone got sick.

1. Thawing the turkey and the two-day rule

Buying her turkey early? better keep your bird frozen until you are ready to thaw or you might be on your means to the grocery save for a new one, according to Hanes.

"Once a frozen turkey is thawed, it have to be cooking within two days," Hanes said. She claimed some human being prefer a fresh turkey, for this reason they should arrangement on wait to pick it up from the save until one or 2 days before they arrangement to chef it.

It bring away 24 hrs for every 4 to 5 pounds the turkey to thaw, follow to the USDA.

USDA indict guidelines on frozen fridge thawing times:

4 come 12 pounds — 1 to 3 days12 to 16 pounds — 3 come 4 days16 come 20 pounds — 4 to 5 days20 to 24 pounds —5 come 6 days

You have the right to thaw your turkey in the refrigerator, or if you are strapped because that time, you deserve to use the microwave or operation cold water end the covering bird in a sink.

2. How do I understand if the turkey is spoiled?

Maybe girlfriend left her turkey in the fridge for a week, or it satellite in your trunk in the garage for a couple of hours, regardless you must be wary of making use of the product.

Many times civilization can tell if a turkey is spoiled by the "texture and smell" that the turkey. Hanes claimed the skin the the turkey may end up being slimy, and the odor is often described as "rotten eggs or prefer sulfur."

It smells a little strange...

It gets trickier through detecting foodborne pathogens, according to Hanes.

"You can"t see, taste or smell foodborne pathogens, for this reason if E. Coli, Salmonella or Staph space on the turkey, girlfriend wouldn"t understand it," she said.

3. To to wash or no to wash?​

Don"t wash your turkey. If many people might think the rinsing the turkey will eliminate bacteria indigenous the bird, nothing could be farther from the truth, follow to the USDA.

"Juices that splash throughout washing can transfer bacteria onto the surface of your kitchen, other foods and also utensils. This is called cross-contamination, which have the right to make you and your guests very sick," according to the USDA.


Make certain that all surfaces and plates that come into contact with the life turkey space sanitized and also make sure to wash her hands.

4. Doesn"t matter if it wiggles, or jiggles favor it should, the bird has to be 165 degrees

Regardless that whether your turkey is the perfect the shade of brown or if the drumsticks jiggle, the bird is no safe till it get 165 degrees, follow to the USDA. Use a food thermometer to inspect the bird in three places: the thickest component of the breast, the innermost parts of the wing and also the bird"s thigh.

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5. No, us aren"t excellent yet. Leftovers:

Leftovers have to be refrigerated in ~ two hours of eating and should be safe for 3 to four days after her meal. If you freeze your turkey, it need to be yes sir for two to 6 months.