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How to Buy and Store a Turkey

Avoid those inserted pop-up thermometers

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Thanksgiving Turkey

© 2011 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.

How to Buy a Turkey

Turkeys are bred for their prized breast white meat. In fact, most turkeys are fertilized via artificial insemination because they are so large, they cannot get close enough to mate.

Although the turkey can grow to 70 pounds, most toms (males) weigh in at around 20 pounds. Turkey hens are usually 8 to 16 pounds. Due to the popularity of turkeys in todays' market, a smaller version has been bred called a fryer-roaster which weighs 5 to 8 pounds.

Frozen turkeys are readily available year-round, and fresh turkeys can easily be obtained by your grocer with a few days notice.

Most come with a pop-up thermometer to indicate when the bird is completely cooked, but it is wise to use an instant-read thermometer to be sure of internal temperature.

Many turkeys have been injected with butter or vegetable oil which are sold as self-basting turkeys. When you are ready to buy a turkey, choose a bird with smooth, creamy, soft skin, avoiding turkeys with any bruised or torn skin.

Turkey Storage

Fresh turkey may be stored up to 2 days in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Freeze no longer than two months.

Cooked turkey should be consumed within 3 days or frozen up to a month. Cooked turkey will retain its moisture if you freeze it in turkey or chicken broth.

When storing fresh turkey, be sure to remove the giblets and store separately.

More About Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving and Turkey History
Turkey Selection and Storage
Turkey and Food Safety
Turkey Health Benefits
Turkey and Holiday Hotlines
Turkey Recipes
Turkey Leftovers Recipes
Roast Turkey Recipe Photo © 2011 Peggy Trowbridge, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Cookbooks

Betty Crocker Complete Thanksgiving Cookbook
Historical Thanksgiving Cookery
The Thanksgiving Table
Thanksgiving - Williams-Sonoma
More Cookbooks
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