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ANNUAL THANKSGIVING HANDBOOK : THAWING : The Big Un- Chill

November 19, 1995

There are three ways to thaw a frozen, unstuffed turkey. An evenly thawed turkey may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before roasting. Do not refreeze an uncooked turkey after it has been thawed.

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Refrigerator Method--The best, although slowest, way of thawing. Place the bird on a tray in its original wrapping, then put it in the refrigerator until thawed. When partially thawed, remove the bag of giblets from the body cavity and reserve in the refrigerator for making gravy or stuffing.

Turkey Weight / Approximate Thawing Time

4 to 12 pounds: 1 to 2 days

12 to 20 pounds: 2 to 3 days

20 to 24 pound: 3 to 4 days

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Quick-Thaw Method--Leave the turkey in its original wrapping, place it in a large kettle and cover with cold water. Change the water frequently to speed thawing. Thaw until the bird is pliable.

Turkey Weight / Approximate Thawing Time

4 to 12 pounds: 4 to 6 hours

12 to 20 pounds: 6 to 8 hours

20 to 24 pounds: 8 to 12 hours

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Microwave Method--If the microwave is large enough to accommodate a turkey, thaw it in a glass baking dish, following manufacturer's directions. It may take 1 to 1 1/2 hours on defrost cycle.

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