By Renee Koenig, Guest Reporter from UW-Extension
Perhaps the biggest holiday meal of the year is just around the corner. Thanksgiving brings families together from all across the state to share a meal that often centers on roast turkey and all the fixings. To help you prepare the holiday meal here are some helpful hints.
Whether you choose a fresh or frozen turkey is up to you. But for both fresh and frozen, allow one pound of turkey per person.
If the turkey is fresh, buy it only one to two days before you plan to cook it, and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to place it in the oven. Place a fresh turkey in a pan or on a tray on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator; the pan will catch any juices that may leak. Do not buy fresh pre-stuffed turkeys.
If your turkey is frozen, keep it frozen until you’re ready to thaw it. There are three ways to safely thaw your turkey: in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in a microwave oven. Plan ahead as thawing does take time.
We do not recommend washing a whole turkey before you cook your Thanksgiving meal. You are likely to spread germs around your kitchen if you do so. The only reason a whole turkey (or any meat or poultry for that matter) should be washed is if it was brined.
The University of Wisconsin-Extension has food safety information available at your fingertips 24/7 at www.foodsafety.wisc.edu or for more Thanksgiving meal tips go to https://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/.