How old is too old for frozen turkey?

I have a turkey in my freezer that is a year old -- can I still use it?

Large frozen meats, such as a turkey, can be safely kept in a home freezer for up to one year before thawing and cooking. The quality of the meat, however, depends upon several factors. First, was the turkey well wrapped with no tears in the plastic covering?

Proper packaging helps maintain quality and prevent "freezer burn." Next, does your freezer maintain 0 degrees Fahrenheit? Most refrigerator freezing compartments cannot maintain 0 degrees Fahrenheit, and should only be used for short term freezer storage of up to one month. Finally, since meats have better quality when frozen rapidly, a purchased frozen turkey would endure long term storage better than a fresh turkey frozen at home.

Plan to thaw and cook your turkey properly to keep it safe and delicious. Allow 24 hours of thawing time in the refrigerator for each five pounds of turkey. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your turkey; it should register 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

Q. I thawed some meat and did not cook it -- is it OK to refreeze?

Once raw meat has thawed in the refrigerator, it can be safely refrozen within one to two days. Refrigerator temperature should be 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. There may be a loss of quality due to moisture loss through defrosting. Most thawed meats can also be safely refrozen, although there may be a loss of quality. Most cooked meats are best refrozen within 1-2 days.

Source: Daytona Beach
calendar icon 23 December 2005
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