Thanksgiving Frequently Asked Questions

Cooking Recipes Catalogue

What size turkey should I buy?
Purchase 1 1/4 pounds of turkey per person to be served. This will allow enough for the meal and leftovers.

Should I let the turkey come to room temperature before roasting it?
Don't leave perishable foods at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Harmful bacteria can grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees F.

I'd like to roast my turkey in a brown paper bag. Is this safe?
It is not recommended that you roast your turkey in a paper bag. Today's bags are made from recycled paper products that contain harmful chemicals.

Do I need to baste my turkey?
It is not necessary to baste your turkey. Pouring juices over the turkey during cooking will only flavor 1/4 inch or less of the meat below the skin. The constant opening of the oven door will bring down the temperature, possibly resulting in a longer roasting time. Just brush the turkey skin with oil or butter prior to roasting to prevent the skin from drying.

I need to serve dinner within an hour but my turkey is still raw. What can I do?
Cut up the turkey into parts such as legs, thighs, wings and breast meat. Arrange the parts on a heavy large rimmed baking sheet. Roast the meat at 450 to 500 degree F. The meat's exterior will brown quickly and the inside will be cooked.

What's the safest way to handle leftovers? And, how long can I keep them?
Carve the turkey and remove all the stuffing. Place the turkey leftovers in shallow containers and refrigerate or freeze within two hours of cooking. Store the turkey in the refrigerator at 35-40 degrees F for 3 to 4 days or up to four months in the freezer.

Gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes and vegetables should also be stored in the refrigerator in separate shallow containers. The stuffing and gravy will stay fresh for one to two days in the refrigerator and the side dishes will keep for three to four days.