To Stuff or Not to Stuff My Turkey?

How do I safely thaw a turkey?
Buy a fresh turkey if possible.

If bought frozen, place in a pan and leave turkey in its original wrapper in the refrigerator.  For a 5 pounds turkey, it will take about 24 hours to thaw in the refrigerator.  For a 10 pounds turkey, allow 48 hours to thaw in refrigerator.

Don’t forget to remove neck and giblets after thawing. 

Baked Turkey

To stuff or not to stuff?
For ideal food safety, cook the turkey and stuffing individually.

If you decide to stuff the turkey, best and safer to not pack it tightly with the stuffing, stuff it loosely. Or use fresh herbs as stuffing.

Always use a meat thermometer to check the stuffing temperature as well as the turkey temperature, which both should be at a minimum of 165F degree.  

Fresh herbs
How do I cook the turkey?
Preheat the oven according to turkey package directions. Cooking time will depend on size of turkey and whether it is stuff or not. 

Stuffed turkeys will usually take about 30-45 minutes longer for safe cooking.  A meat thermometer is the best tool you can use to determine when it is properly cooked.

Avoid basting too often if you want a crispy skin. Once every hour should do it.

For additional flavor and moisture, place some aromatic butter under the turkey’s skin.

Bake in the oven on the lowest rack in a preheated oven.

My favorite fresh, no bread stuffing:
lemon slices and fresh thyme, orange slices and fresh rosemary, fresh garlic cloves and rosemary, Apple slices and Sage, fresh garlic cloves and tomatoes, just plain diced carrots and celery and thyme, fresh yellow bell pepper slices and green olives.  This list could be longer…

Fresh Thyme

Delicious Lemons

What’s your favorite stuffing? Send me an email and tell me about your family’s favorite fresh stuffing.

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