The Thanksgiving Turkey Top 10Maureen Murphy, Manager of Consumer Trends, Nutrition & Lifestyles Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching! Here are the 10 most commonly asked questions consumers have when it comes to the holiday bird. When should I buy my turkey? If you’re purchasing a frozen turkey, you can do so at any time, but need to allow enough time for it to thaw. Check the sell-by date on a fresh turkey as it can be purchased and stored in the refrigerator up to that date on the label. It should be placed in the freezer if you plan to use after that date. What size turkey should I buy? Plan on approximately 1 lb. of turkey per person, which will allow for generous servings and leftovers. That being said, the larger the turkey, the greater the yield. A turkey larger than 16 lbs. will provide 2 servings/lb. i.e. a 20 lb. turkey will feed 40 people. How long can you keep a turkey in the freezer? As long as a turkey is kept in the freezer it will remain safe to eat indefinitely as food poisoning bacteria does not grow in the freezer, however for best quality it should be cooked within 1 year. How do I safely thaw my turkey? Thawing in the refrigerator is the preferred method of thawing. Estimate at least one day of thawing for every 4-5 pounds of turkey. A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 days before cooking. Although refrigerator thawing is preferred, don’t worry if you forgot to take the turkey out in enough time to thaw. You may also thaw the turkey in cold water or in the microwave if necessary. To thaw in cold water: Place the turkey breast-side down in its original wrapper in cold water to cover, and change the water every 30 minutes to keep the turkey surface cold. Minimum thawing time will be approximately 30 minutes per pound, and the turkey must be cooked immediately upon thawing. To thaw in the microwave: Check the manufacturer’s instructions for the size turkey that will fit in your microwave, recommended minutes per pound, and power level to use for thawing. The turkey must be cooked immediately once it is thawed. Is it safe to wash a turkey? It is not recommended that you wash a turkey! Any bacteria that may be present will be killed by cooking so there is no reason to wash it. You can actually run the risk of cross-contamination if you do wash the turkey as any loosely attached bacteria present can spread up to 2 feet around your kitchen. Bacteria could contaminate your dish towel, soap dispenser, etc. What’s the safe way to stuff a turkey? The USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline actually recommends NOT stuffing the turkey. If it is stuffed, the stuffing may not reach the correct temperature of 165°F to kill bacteria even if the turkey itself reaches the safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Stuffing the turkey prolongs the cooking time and prohibits uniform cooking. Here are some basic rules to follow if you do plan on stuffing the turkey: Prepare stuffing just before it goes into the turkey. Dry ingredients can be mixed together and chilled ahead of time. Mix perishable (butter or margarine, mushrooms, sausage, oysters, broth, cooked celery and onions) ingredients however, just prior to placing stuffing inside the turkey and putting the turkey in the preheated oven. Stuffing should be moist, rather than dry, since heat destroys bacteria more rapidly in a wet environment Stuff the cavity of the turkey loosely, about 3/4 cup stuffing per pound of turkey to allow the interior of the stuffing to reach the proper 165°F temperature in the center, and use a meat thermometer to ensure it has. Remove the stuffing from the turkey as soon as it is completely cooled to prevent bacterial growth. Can I cook a turkey ahead of time? You can cook a turkey up to a couple days in advance if desired. Doing so is actually a great time saver and a way to maximize oven space on Thanksgiving Day. If you do cook it in advance, slice the meat off the bone, and refrigerate in shallow containers so it cools quickly. You can also collect the drippings and prepare your gravy ahead of time avoiding that last minute preparation. When it comes time to reheat the turkey: put in a shallow pan, sprinkle with broth or gravy, cover with foil, and place in a preheated 325°F oven for approximately 30 minutes or until it reaches the safe temperature of 165°F. You can cook it earlier Thanksgiving Day if you have the ability to hold it at 140°F or above, but it is not safe to cook it ahead of time and leave it at room temperature. How long will my turkey take to cook? How can I tell when it’s done? Most turkeys today come with pop-up timers, and they are generally accurate. If your turkey doesn’t come with one, it is recommended that a meat thermometer be used as it is the safest way to ensure that the turkey is done. The thermometer should be inserted into the inner most part of the breast/thigh area without touching bone. The turkey is done when the thermometer reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F. I like to use a meat thermometer even with a pop-up timer, not only for peace of mind so I know the turkey has reached 165°F, but also to check on how the turkey is progressing for timing of side dishes and serving. The roasting chart below is only to be used as a guide. TURKEY ROASTING CHART at 325°F Weight (Pounds) Unstuffed (Hours)* Stuffed (Hours)* 8 – 12 2 ¾ – 3 3 – 3 ½ 12 – 14 3 – 3 ¾ 3 ½ – 4 14 – 18 3 ¾ – 4 ¼ 4 – 4 ¼ 18 – 20 4 ¼ – 4 ½ 4 ¼ – 4 ¾ 20 – 24 4 ½ – 5 4 ¾ – 5 ¼ *Estimated cooking time How do I travel with an uncooked and/or cooked turkey? It is easiest to travel with a cold, uncooked turkey – put it in a cooler with ice so you know it is safe and cold when you reach your destination. If you need to bring a cooked turkey, it is safest to cook in advance. Slice the meat off the bone, refrigerate, and pack cold in a cooler with ice to travel, and then reheat at your destination. The only time you should transport a hot turkey is if you live very close to where you’ll be bringing the turkey. If you do, then take the turkey hot out of the oven, wrap in foil, newspapers and towels and place in a box to retain the heat. Be sure that where you are going has the oven on so you can pop the turkey back in as soon as you arrive so it stays at or above 140°. How long will a cooked turkey keep? Leftover turkey as well as any other holiday leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. If you don’t intend to eat by then, you can wrap the leftover turkey well and place in the freezer. Use within 2-6 months for best eating pleasure! Written by Maureen Murphy & Sarah Palmer When it comes to baking a pie, mastering the crust is key! While you can purchase pre-made pie crusts in the dairy & frozen section of our stores, making a pie crust from scratch will make your pie the star of the dessert table! Below are some tried & true tips to help get you started!
- Your butter & water must be cold; even frozen butter works as long as you cut it into cubes before freezing
- Measure ingredients carefully to prevent a tough, greasy or soggy crust
- Cut the fat into the flour just until the size of peas (use a fork or pastry blender)
- Handle pie dough as little as possible to ensure a flaky and tender crust
- Chill pie dough for several hours to tenderize the dough, and prevent shrinkage during baking
- Allow the dough to come to room temperature before rolling
- Roll dough from the center out to a 1/8̋ thickness or less
- To place the pie crust in the pie pan, carefully loosen it from the cutting board; fold it over the rolling pin. Unroll it into the pan and press down lightly
- Trim any excess dough, leaving approximately ½ ̋ for fluting the edge
- Flute the edge by pinching dough between the thumb and forefinger or seal the edge by pressing the dough with a fork against the rim of the pie pan
- When baking a crust without the filling, prick the dough with a fork and place dry beans or rice in the bottom to prevent shrinkage while baking. Bake in a preheated 450°F oven for 10 -12 minutes or until lightly browned.
- For the crust to be baked with a filling, do not prick the crust. For pies with juicy fillings, brush the bottom of the crust with egg white or melted butter to prevent a soggy crust.
- For pies that bake more than 30 minutes, place a rim of foil around the edge of the crust during the first half of baking to prevent over-browning
- 2 PICS eggs
- 1 cup PICS sugar
- ½ cup Price Chopper flour
- ½ cup PICS butter, melted
- 1 T. PICS vanilla
- 1 cup PICS pecans, chopped
- 6 oz. semi sweet chocolate morsels
- 1 pastry shell, unbaked
Written By: Elizabeth Barbone
For someone on a gluten-free diet, the Thanksgiving table can look like one large buffet of “do not touch.” However, with a little work and cooperation from family and friends, the meal can be something you’re truly thankful for.
First, let’s start with the good news!
Here’s a list of foods that are usually gluten-free:
- Turkey (check with the producer to ensure that wheat-based gravy or stuffing hasn’t been added to the turkey.)
- Cranberries and cranberry sauce
- Sweet Potatoes
- White Potatoes
- Fresh, roasted, or steamed vegetables without sauce (sauces often contain wheat)
- Brown, white, and wild rice (be sure they contain no sauces or wheat-based seasonings)
Here are foods that usually contain gluten:
- Vegetable dips
- Salad dressing (many but not all pre-made salad dressings contain wheat)
- Stuffing/dressing, including cornbread stuffing.
- Green Bean Casserole
- Pie Crusts
- Any vegetable dish with a thickened sauce
- Any dish containing soy sauce.
Dos and Don’ts of a Gluten-Free Thanksgiving—for a gluten-free eater (if you’re hosting someone on the gluten-free diet for Thanksgiving, there’s a list below for you, too!)
- Do…call your host before Thanksgiving. Discuss your needs and how you plan on handling them.
- Do…serve yourself first. If you aren’t bringing your own food, be sure to serve yourself before everyone else does. I know this sounds rude and selfish. However, it’s the only way to prevent potential cross-contact with gluten-filled foods.
- Do…bring yourself something you love. If your host is unable to accommodate a part of the meal you love, such as rolls, bring them yourself.
- Do…ask for brands and ingredients that will be used to prepare the Thanksgiving meal. Remind your host about “hidden gluten”–such as soy sauce or flouring cake pans or gluten in prepared foods.
- Do…plan for the best but expect the worst. Even with the best planning things sometimes go wrong. Remember to ask questions before the meal. Thanksgiving is a hectic day and sometimes things can change at the last minute.
- Do….familiarize yourself with dishes that might contain gluten so you’ll know to avoid them.
- Don’t….serve yourself a dish with a “shared” serving spoon. If people are scooping wheat-based stuffing and then using that same scoop to serve Brussels sprouts, the vegetables are no longer gluten-free. Take care to avoid any food that has come in contact with wheat/gluten.
- Don’t…forget about small amounts of gluten. If the gravy was thickened with “just a little” flour or the vegetables contain “just a little soy sauce” or the dessert contains “just a little” non-gluten-free oats, avoid them. Remember, gluten can be obvious and not-so-obvious. When in doubt, ask questions or skip the dish.
- Don’t…cheat. It might be tempting to cheat but don’t. Your good health is worth staying on the gluten-free diet. By doing a little pre-planning, you can avoid gluten and enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Dos and Don’ts of a Gluten-Free Thanksgiving—for a non-gluten-free host
- Do…talk to your guest about what you’re making. Talk about ingredients and brands that are safe, and not safe, for someone who eats gluten-free.
- Do…understand that even a small amount of gluten can make someone sick. Your gluten-free guest isn’t trying to be picky. They are trying to stay healthy.
- Do…prepare gluten-free foods first. After that prep is done, prepare foods made with wheat. Doing this limits the chances of cross contact with wheat occurring.
- Do…keep gluten-free and gluten-filled food on separate ends of the table or buffet. If possible, use note cards to mark which foods are gluten-free and which are not.
- Do…change things up a little. Perhaps prepare a naturally gluten-free rice stuffing or swap your pie crust for one that’s gluten-free. Lots of little changes make a big difference.
- Don’t…assume a food/ingredient is gluten-free. Gluten can be found in unlikely places, like in prepared chicken broth. In the days before Thanksgiving, go over your shopping list and contact manufacturers with any questions about the gluten-free status of an ingredient.
To help with your meal, here are some gluten-free recipes for classic Thanksgiving dishes.On Thanksgiving Day, some people look forward to the turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing the most. But for the family members that are just counting down until the dessert table is set, we have all the sweetest sweets! Filling your dessert table with a delightful selection is easy as pie. Along with cakes, cupcakes, and an array of other treats, our bakery has delicious gourmet pie and cream pie offerings..Let our pies be the star of your dessert table this year! Gourmet Pies
- Apple Caramel Walnut
- Very Berry