It's time to talk turkey again….actually any time is good to talk turkey because turkey is now served all year and not just at holiday time. It is also a good source of protein and lower in fat and cholesterol than other meats.
TIPS FOR PREPARING A WHOLE TURKEY OR TURKEY BREAST
Turkey is very perishable and must be handled properly. Food bacteria develops rapidly in turkey left at room temperature which can result in food poisoning. Refrigerate any left-over turkey immediately after serving. Remove all stuffing from carcass. Preferably remove any left-over meat from carcass. Store in the coldest part the refrigerator wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. Or, wrap in heavy duty aluminum foil or place in heavy-duty zip-lock bags, sealing tightly, and store in freezer for up to three (3) months.
Always thaw frozen turkey in the refrigerator. Never thaw frozen turkey at room temperature. Allow about 24 hours thawing time for every 5 pounds of turkey.
May keep fresh turkey for up to two (2) days in the coldest part of the refrigerator before cooking. Most fresh turkeys are processed and kept at 28 degrees F.
Prepare stuffing and stuff turkey just before ready to roast turkey. Never prepare stuffing or stuff turkey in advance of cooking. Stuff turkey neck and body cavities loosely with stuffing. Do not pack as stuffing expands during roasting. There is less chance of undercooking the stuffing and less possible chance of contamination if it is baked separately, covered, in a casserole/baking dish in a preheated moderate oven (350 degrees F.)
use a meat thermometer to insure accurate cooking temperature of turkey. Insert meat thermometer into thickest part of inside thigh or breast. Cook to an internal temperature of 170 degrees F. For breast and 180 degrees F. For thigh. Stuffing of stuffed turkey should register 165 degrees F. When thermometer is inserted into stuffing. Allow 20 to 25 minutes per pound roasting time for stuffed turkeys and 15 to 20 minutes per pound for unstuffed turkeys. Allow turkey to rest, tightly covered with aluminum foil, for about 20 minutes before carving to ensure easier carving. Resting allows meat juices to be equally distributed through-out turkey.
Always preheat oven for 10 to 15 minutes prior to roasting. Bake whole turkeys and turkey breasts in a preheated slow oven (325 degrees F.)
Always wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling any kind of poultry!!!!