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Roast Turkey
Safety Tips to Prepare and Roast a Turkey

You bought a turkey for the holidays, now what do you do?

Here is everything you need to know to safely prepare and cook a turkey, from safely defrosting it and preparing it to cooking it.

Cooked turkey on a platter
© Jan Snow at ABKL Designs
Permission from ABKL Designs

Safety First

* Get a meat thermometer and use it.

* Do not use a disposable aluminum foil pan. It could buckle under the weight of the turkey spilling the turkey and burning you.

* Use a roasting pan with a rack so the air circulates around the turkey. You could also buy a rack to use with your roasting pan.

* Cook a turkey at 325 degrees F OR ABOVE. Never cook a turkey at heat lower than 325 degrees F, even if you are cooking it overnight.

* Never cook a turkey in the microwave.

* It's best not to put stuffing in a turkey, but if you must, never stuff it until it is ready to put into the oven.

* Don't use brown grocery bags for cooking. Use only bags approved for use use that have been made with no harmful chemicals.

* Never cook a turkey in a slow cooker. (Slow cookers and a roast oven is two different things. Yes, you can use a roaster oven.)

* Never thaw a turkey at room temperature. Thaw in the refrigerator or under running cold water, or cook it frozen.

Prepare The Turkey

*Plan on one pound of turkey for each person.

*Buy your fresh turkey only 1 to 2 days before you plan on cooking it, and keep it stored in the refrigerator.

*Keep your frozen turkey in the freezer until you are ready to thaw it. You can freeze a turkey for a year before cooking it if you need to.

*Keep your frozen turkey in the freezer until you are ready to thaw it. You can freeze a turkey for a year before cooking it if you need to.

*Check the United States Department of Agriculture fact sheet for the thawing times for various sizes of frozen turkeys. You can defrost the turkey in the refrigerator or defrost it faster by using cold water.

* Wash your hands, knives, cutting board and counter often and thoroughly with hot soapy water while handling the turkey.

* Don't let the raw turkey or juices come into contact with other foods.

Following the rules for turkey cooking, using hygienic methods to handle and prepare the turkey, and reading a food thermometer to cook the turkey to the proper temperature ensure that your Christmas turkey is a savory holiday delight.

Cooking The Turkey:
Instructions for Beginners

If you haven't cooked a holiday turkey before, then I would suggest that you follow the fully illustrated How To Cook A Turkey Dinner.

* Buy and have your ingredients on hand before you start preparing the turkey.

*Copy the instructions from the Web site above and have them with you in the kitchen.

*Turn your oven on when prompted to and follow the temperature and the cooking time recommended for the size of your turkey.

Turkey Recipes:
Rosemary Roasted Turkey
Asian Spiced Turkey Recipe
Pomegranate Molasses Glazed Turkey
Maple Syrup Glazed Turkey with Riesling Gravy

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