CLEVELAND — Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and prepping for the big feast is underway. The Butterball turkey talk-line is open and ready to receive callers asking questions about all things turkey.
The general rule of thumb is if you have a 20-pound turkey, you should take it out about five days to thaw in your refrigerator.
“And if you find yourself running low on time and the day before Thanksgiving and your turkey is still frozen, we can definitely walk you through the cold water from method, which is just placing your turkey in your sink or a food-safe basin of cold water. And you change that water every 30 minutes ... It thaws out quickly,” said Coren Hayes, Turkey Talk-Line expert for Butterball.
Hayes said cooks should never use warm water to thaw the turkey as it can cause bacteria to spread around your kitchen.
“There's absolutely no need to wash your turkey. It actually spreads bacteria around your kitchen. It's unnecessary. So all you have to do once you take that turkey out of its packaging is pat it dry, brush it with vegetable oil and proceed with roasting,” Hayes said.
While turkeys usually come with a meat thermometer, Hayes said it’s better to use a standard food-safe meat thermometer because it can be more accurate.
“You can test different areas of the turkey, especially in the breast meat. You want to make sure that's getting up to 170 degrees and then the thigh meat. You want to make sure that getting up to 180 degrees one, your turkey reaches those temperatures. It's safe to eat.”
Leftovers can be the best part of the days following Thanksgiving. Hayes said leftover turkey is good for about three days in your refrigerator or two to three months in the freezer.
This year marks 40 years of Butterball answering questions from callers who need help making sure their Thanksgiving goes off without a hitch.
“We started with phone calls, of course, and now we have text chat, email and social media. Eighty-three percent of callers are cooks are turning to social media to find recipes, trends, tricks, all those type of things," she said.
Text: "TURKEY" to 36888 or call: 1-800-BUTTERBALL to speak with a Talk-Line expert live.
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