The turkey is the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving table, but the path to cooking and serving the perfect bird starts at the grocery store. Consider these five tips when buying your turkey.
1. Decide if you want fresh or frozen. There is no quality difference.
2. Purchase fresh turkey no more than two days before you plan to cook it. This will ensure maximum quality and safety. Some stores will allow you to order in advance and pick up later -- helpful if you are tight on refrigerator space.
3. Frozen turkey can be purchased anytime as long as you have enough freezer space to store it. Depending on size, it can take up to six days to thaw. Be sure to buy far enough in advance to allow for thawing. A thawed turkey should be stored no more than two days in the refrigerator.
4. Plan for one pound per person if you are serving the whole bird and less if you are serving breast or prestuffed frozen turkey.
5. Prestuffed turkey should only be purchased frozen. The risk of foodborne illness is just too great when serving fresh prestuffed turkey.
For more holiday meal advice visit foodsafety.gov and search for “Thanksgiving”