One Year My Family Didn't Have a Turkey on the Dining Room Table.

Apparently, when it's a huge turkey, you need to move it from the freezer almost a week before the main event. Yes, almost a week before the big day that you pop it in the oven.

Mario Tama, Getty Images
Mario Tama, Getty Images

Unfortunately, I was 19 when I took it upon myself to make the family a delicious turkey and it went sideways fast. I wish someone would have told me that we needed to defrost that big ole turkey 5 days before and not the night before. I vowed to never make that mistake again.

1 in 4 Americans Will be Attempting to Cook a Turkey for the First Time This Year.

No one wants to be that family featured on the 10 o'clock news because they put a frozen turkey in the deep fryer and burnt their backyard down right?

The first thing that the USDA is reminding everyone is to immediately take the frozen turkey home and store it in the freezer.

According to their website "A package of frozen meat or poultry left thawing on the counter more than 2 hours is not at a safe temperature. Even though the center of the package may still be frozen, the outer layer of the food is in the "Danger Zone" between 40 and 140 °F — at a temperature where foodborne bacteria multiply rapidly." You don't want people getting sick because you left the turkey out too long.

Jason Kempin, Getty Images
Jason Kempin, Getty Images

Make sure you thaw your turkey in time to have it oven or deep fry ready. When is it perfect timing for your turkey to get thawed?

Check out the recommendations from the USDA below.

Refrigerator Thawing Times (for a whole turkey):

  • 4 to 12 pounds - 1 to 3 days
  • 12 to 16 pounds - 3 to 4 days
  • 16 to 20 pounds - 4 to 5 days
  • 20 to 24 pounds - 5 to 6 days

The USDA also pointed out that a thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for up to two days before cooking. So the only concern you should have is is the turkey is taking up too much space in the fridge.

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