If you have stored frozen ground turkey to have it another day, you will need to defrost it first before you begin to cook it.
So, how do you begin to defrost it? According to the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), three safe ways for thawing food include thawing it in the refrigerator, in the microwave and in cold water.
During all of these processes, however, it is important to keep it at a certain temperature that prevents bacteria from growing. This is why you must never keep it out at room temperature to thaw.
Let us now look into each of these three ways of defrosting ground turkey in further detail.
In the Refrigerator
One way to defrost ground turkey is by keeping it in the refrigerator. To do this, you must follow the following steps:
- Place the frozen turkey in a tightly sealed container. This can be its original packaging or a separate dish or container that you can tightly screw shut. This is to ensure that it does not leak out once it starts to thaw.
- Put the container with the ground turkey on a relatively empty shelf of your fridge and away from any other open food such as vegetables. You must do this to protect the other food from any potential leaks.
- Make sure you leave the ground turkey in there for at least an entire day as it will take a while to thaw. This also depends on how much turkey there is and the temperature that your fridge is set at. Essentially, less than five pounds of ground turkey will take about 24 hours to thaw.
- Once it thaws completely, you must cook it within a day or two as it will only remain in a good condition for that long in the refrigerator. If you can’t cook it within that time period, you must put it back in the freezer. However, this might lead to some loss of quality.
- If the turkey has not thawed completely, you can still begin to cook it. It will just take longer for you to cook it completely.
You can also change or continue the process in the microwave or in cold water if you don’t want to wait for an entire day.
In the Microwave
Microwaving frozen ground turkey is another way to defrost it. Let us go through each of the steps involved in this process.
- First, you must transfer the ground turkey to a microwave-compatible container such as glass or ceramic. This is because its original packaging is not suitable for the microwave and can end up melting or catching fire. The chemicals may also seep into the food.
- Ensure that the container is big enough so that there is some space that will allow it to catch the dripping juice within itself without leaking out into the microwave.
- For each pound of ground turkey, defrost it for a couple of minutes at medium power. You can also simply press the ‘defrost’ button on the microwave. Keep doing this in one-minute increments if you need to thaw it for longer.
- Make sure the container rotates properly inside the microwave so that the radiation spreads evenly throughout the ground turkey.
- Once you have defrosted it inside the microwave, you must cook it almost immediately to prevent the growth of bacteria. This is because the microwave will increase the temperature of the food, making it more favorable for bacteria to grow.
- If there are leftovers of the uncooked ground turkey, you must place them back inside the freezer to prevent them from spoiling.
- If you had previously used some other method to defrost the turkey and then shifted to the microwave, make sure you keep it in the microwave for a shorter time, such as a minute per pound.
In Cold Water
The final method to defrost ground turkey is by placing it in cold water. Go through the steps listed below and follow them for successful results.
- First, you must transfer the ground turkey in a sealed plastic bag to ensure that the juices do not leak out and that the turkey does not absorb any water. This is also important to prevent any bacteria from getting in.
- Place this plastic-wrapped ground turkey in a container filled with cold tap water.
- This container needs to be big enough to hold the turkey while also leaving a large enough gap inside. Make sure you completely submerge the bag inside the water.
- For each pound, rest the turkey in the cold water for approximately 30 minutes to an hour.
- If you have a larger amount of turkey, keep changing the cold water every 30 minutes to maintain the temperature. If it becomes too warm, bacteria may start to grow.
- Keep checking on the turkey and water so that you remember to replace the water.
- If you had previously used some other method to partially defrost the turkey, then you might not need to keep it in the cold water for too long.
- Once you have finished defrosting the turkey, you must cook it immediately to prevent the growth of bacteria. If there are leftovers, put them back in the freezer in a suitable container.
This technique is a lot quicker than keeping it in the refrigerator and also ensures more even defrosting as compared to the microwave.
These were three of the best ways to defrost ground turkey. To sum up, we went through the steps involved in defrosting ground turkey in the refrigerator, in the microwave and in cold water.
Based on the defrosting time, using the microwave will take you the shortest amount of time while the refrigerator will take the longest. In terms of evenness, the cold water method will give you the best results.
Make sure you cook the ground turkey immediately if you defrosted it in the microwave or in cold water, and within two days if it was in the refrigerator. You must also follow safe storage measures for each of them.
Now that you know what to do, pick a method or two and start defrosting!