Four methods to defrost a turkey quickly and safely

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Whether it’s the first time you’re cooking Christmas dinner, or you’re a seasoned pro who just needs to make sure you’ve got the correct timings, spoke to Gary Ellis, Director at CE Safety, the occupational health and safety training specialists about the safest ways to defrost and a turkey, without giving anyone food poisoning this Christmas. 

What is the best way to defrost a frozen turkey? 

Gary said: “It’s vital to follow instructions carefully around defrosting a turkey as the consequences of incorrectly defrosting meat can be very serious, with the huge risk of food poisoning. Although it takes a long time, the safest and easiest way to defrost a turkey is by putting it in the bottom of the fridge so that it doesn’t spread any bacteria to other foods. 

“Do not leave your turkey on the side to defrost at room temperature. This is because the outside of the turkey will thaw faster than the inside, and rise in the ‘danger zone’ (above 4.4°C) where bacteria can very quickly multiply.”

Defrosting a turkey in the fridge

“If defrosting your turkey in the fridge, I’d allow 10 to 12 hours per kilogram which is approximately a day per every four pounds,” he continued. “The key is to just keep checking on the turkey, and use a food thermometer to be sure.”

“You can defrost it either in its original packaging or remove it completely. Either way, put the turkey on a deep tray to ensure no juices or food poisoning bacteria run onto other food. You can leave a turkey to defrost overnight in the fridge, but never just on the counter or kitchen side. 

“When the bird defrosts, it’ll defrost from the outside in, meaning the outside may become too warm before the inside has started defrosting. This is a recipe for food poisoning!”

Can you defrost a turkey outside? 

Gary said: “Although it is extremely cold at the moment, it’s not ideal to defrost a turkey outside, as it becomes harder to control the precise temperature. 

“If you’re sure the temperature isn’t going to hit above 10°C, you could leave it outside to free up fridge space – keep a close eye on it and the outside temperature.”

How can you defrost a turkey quickly? 

“It’s much more important to ensure your turkey is defrosted thoroughly rather than quickly, but if you want to try and speed the process up, remove the giblets and neck as soon as possible,” the expert commented. 

Can you defrost a turkey in cold water? 

“Submerging a frozen turkey in water is a common way to try and speed up the defrosting process,” Gary explained. “It is faster but a bit more hands-on than the fridge method. 

“If you want to try this, fully submerge the turkey in cold water, never hot. Allow around half an hour per pound, and change the water every 30 minutes. 

“There’s some science behind turkeys defrosting faster in water than in the fridge and it’s all about the molecular density of water. The molecular density of water is much larger in water than air, meaning there’s a faster transfer of heat, meaning the turkey warms up and thaws quicker.”

Can you defrost a turkey in the microwave? 

“A microwave can be used to defrost a small turkey,” he added. “Remove all the packaging and giblets, and have a really thorough check for any metal clips. 

“Place it breast-side up in the microwave, then use the defrost setting for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes, use short five-minute blasts until the turkey is fully defrosted. 

“It’s really important to thoroughly clean the microwave after this method to ensure no bacteria is left behind which can then transfer onto other foods.”

How do you know if a turkey is fully defrosted? 

“Take off the packaging, and if you haven’t already, remove the bag of giblets,” Gary said. “Put your hand inside the cavity of the turkey and you should be able to feel that no part of it is still frozen. If anywhere is still cold or hard, it needs further defrosting. Feel the breast meat, this should also be soft. Have a check for any remaining ice crystals too. 

“The safest way to make sure your turkey is defrosted is to use a temperature probe. Push this into the thickest part of the turkey (usually the thigh), and if the reading is below one degree, it’s still frozen so needs to be defrosted for longer.”

Can you cook a turkey frozen or partly defrosted? 

“Yes, you can cook a turkey from fully frozen or partially, usually allowing around 25-50 percent longer cooking time than a thawed bird,” Gary revealed. “The key is to ensure that the turkey doesn’t linger within the danger zone for food poisoning (between four and 60°C) for an extended amount of time.”

Source: Read Full Article