Question re: fresh turkey

kimkitchyNovember 13, 2012

I'm afraid I've messed up and I need some advice. I've always used frozen turkeys and this year I could not find the size I needed (about 14.5 lbs), so today I bought a fresh turkey. I asked the meat department fellow at our grocery store if it will keep until Thanksgiving in my refigerator and he said yes. The tag says sell by 11/25. But, I've been reading on the web that you shouldn't buy a fresh turkey more than 2 days out! Is that correct? If so, what should I do now? Can I, or should I freeze it? Help please...

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They can label a turkey as "fresh" if it has not been frozen at temperature below a specified number. The turkey is still hard with ice crystals inside it but it is held at a temp fo, I seem to remember, of 28 to 32, and can be held at that temperature for a specified length of time.
I have found that those birds are not nearly as good as a true frozen turkey. One that has been flash frozen and held at zero degrees. those held at a warmer seem to bleed, lose moisture more and are, in my opinion, dryer.
What you want is a "fresh killed" turkey....which only keeps 2 or 3 days before being cooked.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 5:22PM
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I would probably freeze it now and thaw just before Thanksgiving.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 5:38PM
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As said, the term "fresh" is very misleading. You've bought it now so no sense getting worked up over coulda/woulda/shoulda. Just take a good reliable thermometer and check your frig temperature. Most people keep their refrigerators way warmer than they should. You might need to bump it down a few degrees. Keep it in the back and don't allow "browsers" to stand with the door open for 15 minutes deciding on a snack. Cook it up and enjoy it. Not a big deal. Hope you got a good price on it.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 5:44PM
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LindaC - OK. So, I did screw up. Wish I had not bought it. I understand what you are saying, but what should I do with the thing now?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 5:45PM
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If you're worried about it, why not freeze it now and thaw closer to Thanksgiving?

Oops, I already said that.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 5:55PM
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Did this turkey feel thawed when you bought it? If so - take it back. I don't care what the "sell by" date says. Your turkey will not be good when you put it in the oven 9 days from now.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 6:28PM
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Thank you all for your responses. I just called my store and I am returning this "fresh" turkey. This forum is such a great resource. Thanks again for sharing your expertise!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 6:44PM
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I agree with what Linda said. You didn't screw up. You just didn't know.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 6:46PM
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