What to do if you forgot to thaw the turkey

Frozen turkeys need to start their thawing process multiple days out before the Thanksgiving feast.  But what if you forgot?

According to FoodSafety.gov there are a few options: Cold water thawing, microwave thawing, and cooking from frozen.

Cold Water Thawing:

“For the cold water method, leave the turkey in its original wrapping and submerge it in a sink (or container) full of cold water.  Empty the water and replace it with fresh cold water every 30 minutes.  With this method, allow 30 minutes of defrosting time per pound, so a 16 pound turkey will take 8 hours to thaw using this method.  Once thaw, cook the turkey immediately.”

Microwave Thawing:

“Before you commit to thawing your turkey in the microwave, check your owner’s manual for the size turkey that will fit in your microwave oven, the minutes per pound and the power level to use when thawing a turkey. Remove all outside wrapping and place the turkey on a microwave-safe dish to catch any juices that may leak. Use the defrost function based on weight. As a general rule, allow 6 minutes per pound when thawing a turkey in the microwave. Be sure to rotate it several times, and even flip it, during the thawing process.

“If the turkey starts to actually cook instead of just defrost, let it rest for 5 minutes or so before you resume thawing. Partway through thawing you may wish to cover the tips of the wings and drumsticks with a small piece of foil to shield them from the microwaves and keep them from cooking. Once the turkey has thawed you should cook it immediately.”

Cooking From Frozen:

“If your turkey still is icy on Thanksgiving morning, don’t panic!  It is safe to cook a turkey if it is frozen — it will just take longer to cook.  A solidly frozen turkey will take at least 50 percent longer to cook.  If your turkey is only partially frozen, remember that it will take a bit longer to cook.  Use your food thermometer, and and when your bird measures 165 degrees in the innermost part of the thigh, the innermost part of the wing and the thickest part of the breast, it is ready.”

According to the US Department of Agriculture, the food “danger zone” is between 40-degrees and 140-degrees. That’s the temperatures where bacteria multiply rapidly.