Photo: Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash / Unsplash
The favorite celebration of the year for many is approaching, Thanksgiving that opens the door to the Christmas season and is accompanied by succulent dishes. For many people, Thanksgiving dinner this 2021 will undoubtedly be very special since the covid-19 pandemic is in better control. However, let’s be honest organizing dinner is not an easy task. Beyond the fuss of preparing a dinner of epic proportions, in these times food safety must be the top priority. Based on this, we set out to compile three essential practical tips on how to defrost a frozen turkey: If this process is done incorrectly, it has the potential to bring a ton of disease-causing bacteria to the holiday table.
The truth is that there are quite different ways to defrost a bird, however in general almost all of them require starting the process a few days before the night of Thanksgiving dinner. Therefore the first recommendation is to prepare well in advanceOtherwise the turkey may thaw days after the event and it would be a real tragedy.
Three easy ways to thaw Thanksgiving turkey:
1. Thawed in the fridge
The first mistake we’ve all probably ever made is defrosting the turkey on the kitchen counter. The reason? It is the perfect setting to become a nesting area for nasty bacteria., or even worse, your cat’s midnight snack. Fortunately, the solution is incredibly affordable: the fridge. Experts recommend placing the turkey on a tray with edges and of good height, since it will naturally release liquids as it defrosts. Place the turkey breast side up (the thickest area between the wings) and wrap it in plastic. There is also a simple consideration, established by the United States Department of Agriculture: When thawing a turkey in the refrigerator, allow 24 hours of defrosting time for every 4 to 5 pounds of poultry. So if your turkey weighs 4 to 12 pounds, plan to thaw it in the refrigerator for one to three days. If it weighs between 12 and 16 pounds, you should make sure to place it in the refrigerator three to four days before the expected night.
2. Wrapped and in cold water
This is one of the most famous methods for defrosting, however in many occasions we tend to think that it will take a short time and the reality is that every defrosting process has its stages. If you plan to thaw the bird in cold water, the most important and first step is to make sure the turkey is in a leak-proof plastic bag before submerging it. This step is key since will prevent any cross contamination and will ensure that the bird does not absorb any more water during the defrosting process. Later, fill a container with cold water, it should be large enough to fit completely. Dip the wrapped turkey and change the water every half hour. Changing the water will help protect it from contaminating bacteria and clear the packaging itself. About the times: allow 30 minutes of defrosting time for every pound of turkey, which translates to two to six hours for a 4 to 12 pound turkey. A 12-15 pound bird will defrost in six to eight hours.
3. Defrost in the microwave
This is one of the least explored scenarios, but it is a good alternative in some cases: when the birds are not so big. So the first step will be to make sure that the turkey you selected will fit in the microwave, as well as allowing for some additional space for it to rotate. If the turkey is small enough, place it unwrapped in a microwave-safe dish. Press the defrost button, integrate the weight of the bird and let the microwave do its magic. If the microwave does not have a defrost function, determine how long the bird needs to stay there based on its weight. To determine this, consider the following: six minutes per pound is a good rule of thumb. Since microwaves tend to heat things unevenly, it is very important that you make sure to turn and flip the turkey piece during the defrosting process.
4. Some additional tips
– Always confirm that the bird has been completely thawed
To make sure the bird is completely thawed, reach into the hollow part and check for ice crystals. Then, with the help of a fork, pierce the thick parts of the bird and make sure that they are no longer hard or frozen. If so, the turkey definitely needs more time to thaw.
– Dont wait! Cook the turkey immediately
A golden rule, in which the best chefs agree: once thawed, the turkey should be cooked immediately. According to data released by the USDA, this is because once the bird is thawed, bacteria that were present before it was fully frozen can begin to grow back. Therefore, as soon as it is completely thawed, proceed with its preparation and marinating, to bake immediately.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.