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Thanksgiving Survival Guide

The Basic Turkey : THAWING

November 19, 1998

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

Refrigerator Method: The best, although slowest, way of thawing: Place the bird on a tray in its original wrapping and place it in the refrigerator until thawed. When it's 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 pounds 3 to 4 days

Quick-Thaw Method: Leave the turkey in its original wrap, place 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

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

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