The holiday season is upon us. Our minds turn to delicious Christmas aromas wafting from kitchens of celebrations-past. The busy cook hosting this years' gathering, however, doesn't always get to enjoy thoughts of gingerbread cookies and buche de noel. Instead, he or she worries about turkey... "How long should I cook it? Which method should I use? What's right temperature for cooking it?"
The answers to six of most-asked turkey-roasting questions are right here.
1. What size turkey do I need to buy? Plan for at least one pound of uncooked turkey per person when purchasing a whole turkey. You'll have enough for feast and for leftovers, too.
2. How should I defrost turkey? Turkey can be thawed in refrigerator, in cold water or in microwave.
Whole turkey takes about 24 hours per four to five pounds to thaw in refrigerator. In cold water, changed every 30 minutes, turkey takes about 30 minutes per pound to thaw. When using a microwave to thaw a turkey, follow manufacturer's instructions for size turkey that will fit in your oven, minutes per pound and power level to use.
Never defrost turkey on counter.
Once thawed, keep turkey refrigerated at 40 degrees F. or below until it is ready to be cooked. Turkey thawed in microwave should be cooked immediately.
3. How should I stuff turkey? Stuffing should be prepared and stuffed into turkey immediately before it's placed in oven for cooking. If preparing stuffing ahead-of-time, wet and dry ingredients should be refrigerated separately and combined right before stuffing turkey.
Stuff turkey loosely, about 3/4 cup stuffing per pound of turkey.
Test suffing for doneness. Place a meat thermometer in center of stuffing. Once stuffing has reached 160 to 165 degrees F., stuffing is done.
Do not remove turkey from oven until stuffing has reached required temperature.
For over 100 stuffing recipes, visit http://www/allrecipes.com/.
4. Do I have to stuff turkey? No. If you do not stuff your turkey, add about 2 cups of coarsely chopped celery and onion, with a few sprigs of fresh sage, to cavity to enhance fragrance and add to flavor of pan juices.