Got a big turkey for Thanksgiving? Start thawing it Friday!

Got a big turkey for Thanksgiving? Start thawing it Friday!
Thanksgiving isn't complete without the turkey! (Source: WAFB)

(WDBJ) - Turkey is a traditional and delicious part of the Thanksgiving celebration, but you have to be careful to thaw it and cook it properly to avoid foodborne illnesses that could come from an undercooked bird.

The foodsafety.gov website has some tips about timing to keep you and your fellow diners safe.

For starters, proper thaw time is helpful.

The website indicates you can thaw turkey in a refrigerator set to 40 °F or below for about 24 hours for each 4 to 5 pounds, so if your bird is 20 pounds or more, you should start thawing in the fridge November 22.

For cold water thawing, allow about 30 minutes per pound, changing the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is thawed. A turkey thawed in cold water should be cooked immediately.

Here's a list:

  • 4 to 12 lbs... thaw in fridge 1 to 3 days; thaw in water 2 to 6 hours
  • 12 to 16 lbs... thaw in fridge 3 to 4 days; thaw in water 6 to 8 hours
  • 16 to 20 lbs... thaw in fridge 4 to 5 days; thaw in water 8 to 10 hours
  • 20 to 24 lbs... thaw in fridge 5 to 6 days; thaw in water 10 to 12 hours

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