Keep these tips in mind when you are preparing a turkey for your holiday meals. If using a frozen turkey, you need to store it in the refrigerator under 40F to stay safe. For 4-12lbs it may take 1-3 days, 12-16lbs 3-4 days, 16-20lbs 4-5 days, 20-24lbs 5-6 days. A thawed turkey can be kept in the refrigerator safely for 1-2 days before cooking. Use a food thermometer (throw away the little plastic one that comes in the turkey as it is useless) and make sure that the turkey reaches an internal temperature in the thickest portion of the meat (the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast) of 165F. Be careful with the stuffing, as this needs to be cooked to 165F as well in order to prevent any food borne illnesses. You may want to cook the stuffing separately in order to ensure it reaches safe temperatures and to prevent over cooking the turkey in the process, otherwise the whole turkey with stuffing needs to be cooked longer to reach safe temperatures.
Refrigerate your leftover turkey within 2 hours of it being cooked. It will stay safe if refrigerated under 40F for 3-4 days. It can be kept safely frozen under 0F from 4 months and upto 6 months if it is mixed with other sides.
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