How Long Can You Keep The Raw Turkey In The Fridge
You can keep a raw turkey in the fridge for up to two days before it starts going bad, after that, it should be cooked or frozen. Cooked Turkey can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days whereas raw turkey can be frozen for up to six months.
If you have had your turkey in the fridge longer than two days, you might decide that eating it is safer. You should never leave a turkey that has been thawed in the fridge longer than two days, or it could begin to develop harmful bacteria. Do not worry about starting too soon; fully thawed turkey can be stored safely in the fridge for an additional one to two days after being completely thawed.
Once thawed, the turkey can be stored in the refrigerator for an additional 1 to 2 days before cooking, depending on the birds size. A fresh whole turkey, or parts of a fresh turkey, can be stored at 33degF to 40degF in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 days before cooking.
If a frozen raw turkey is defrosted in the refrigerator, a defrosted turkey may be kept in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days before cooking or re-freezing. In the freezer, each 4- to 5-pound piece of whole turkey that is frozen needs about 24 hours to fully defrost.
A frozen pre-stuffed turkey should not be defrosted prior to cooking, as germs may quickly grow in the stuffing as the turkey is defrosting. Always prepare a defrosted turkey using cool water or a microwave oven right away; do not put it in the refrigerator.
In the refrigerator, it will take longer to cook compared to when defrosting the turkey using a microwave or using cold water. The size of the turkey does not have an impact on how long you will be able to keep it after fully thawing. Yes, you can freeze a cooked turkey – but you want to thaw it out and use it in a couple months, not years.
|Cooked Turkey||3-4 days|
|Cooked Ground Turkey||1-2 days|
Everyone will make their own judgements about what is or is not safe to eat, but the standard for storing turkey in a refrigerator is for up to two days after the meat has completely thawed, and if you keep it longer than that, you are risking bacteria consumption. It is generally agreed that it is best to keep raw turkey meat in the refrigerator no longer than 1-2 days. Cooked turkey and other cooked meats should not be kept in the refrigerator for more than 3 to 4 days, unless they are otherwise preserved or vacuum sealed.
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Raw turkey meats will keep fresh up to 2 days when stored in a refrigerator, and one year when stored in a freezer (4 months when ground). Cooked turkey can be stored in covered containers, plastic bags, or foil up to 4 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.
Whole fresh turkeys should be left in their original wrappings and may last for up to 6 months in a freezer compartment when temperatures are at or below 0degF. The turkey should be kept in the refrigerator through that date, provided that the package is not opened and that the freezer temperature is below 40degF.
Any turkey that is marked previously frozen should keep in the refrigerator and cook within 48 hours after it is purchased. A fresh turkey stored in the freezer must be cooked within 2 days after purchase; therefore, regardless of whether your turkey is frozen or if you wish to freeze it, avoid taking it home until the 23rd of December, unless it is already frozen.
We would suggest cooking your fresh turkey ASAP after you get it home, ideally within one day. Once the turkey has been cut, or if purchased at a deli that has just cut them, they need to be used within 5 days. Whole Fresh Turkeys may also be placed on trays or pans in the freezer, just in case the original package has pockmarks or tears.
When you are ready to thaw, leave the frozen turkey in its plastic wrap and put it on a sheet tray with the edges and on the pan for roasting, so that any juices do not get all over the place in your cooler. Put your frozen turkey in the cooler part of the refrigerator to defrost, or even better, keep it in an extra cooler that is not open frequently. If you are not expecting to make the dehydrated turkey jerky in that timeframe, then you should put your turkey in the freezer.
The turkey can thaw in the fridge, and if your plans change during these two days, you can actually safely refreeze it. Personally, I would not worry about a turkey I kept in the fridge, planning on serving it 2 days before its sold-by date (which still allows plenty of time for you to get your birds ready), but that is just me. Some cooks get the wrong idea that they can save time by partly cooking the turkey and placing it back in the fridge, so less cooking time is needed the day of meal service. A turkey that has been frozen quickly by a processor can be stored in a home freezer and prepared safely up to 3 years after its initial freezing date, however, keeping it longer than one year can lead to decreased quality when cooking the bird, however, it will still be safe to eat.
Processors cooling and refrigeration methods can vary and prolong the shelf life of certain turkeys, so you should check product package best-by dates to determine how long you can safely store a whole, fresh turkey in your freezer. Fully cooked oven-roasted and smoked turkeys should be thawed in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Any meat that is not cooked (including turkey) in its raw form must be cooked within two days, according to The Kitchn, in order to maximize freshness. A twenty-four-pound turkey can take five to six days to fully thaw, and again, you will have two days once thawed to use your turkey.
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If your turkey is twenty pounds, you will have to transfer it to a cooler approximately five days before Thanksgiving. If you are ordering a turkey, you can have the butcher keep it for you — they will be able to properly store it, and you will be able to pick it up closer to Christmas. If you do not have several days to defrost the turkey – or cannot spare room in your fridge – a cold-water approach is another simple option.
Can I keep an uncooked turkey in the fridge for a week?
Preserve the turkey in its original packaging. Put it on a tray so that any juices that may spill may be caught. A thawed turkey can be stored in the fridge for one to two days. A turkey that has been thoroughly defrosted in the fridge can be frozen again if required.
How long does it take to thaw a 15 pound turkey in the refrigerator?
For every four to five pounds of the bird, you’ll need to defrost it for roughly a day in the refrigerator. Therefore, allow for a minimum of three to four days for defrosting. Give the turkey at least four days if it weighs close to 16 pounds to be safe.
How long does raw turkey last?
Keep turkey meat in the refrigerator in airtight containers or securely wrapped in plastic wrap or aluminum foil after opening to extend shelf life as much as possible. A turkey meat package that has been opened can be kept in the fridge for 5 to 7 days if it is properly preserved.