Preparation

After Crozier’s Free Range Turkeys have done everything to ensure the food safety of your turkey, it's your job to make sure that you thaw, prepare, cook and serve it in a safe manner.

Thawing (defrosting) frozen turkey

Frozen turkey must be completely thawed before cooking. The safest method is thawing in the refrigerator. To do this you need to plan ahead.

Thawing methods

Strongly recommended: Thawing in the refrigerator

Leave the turkey in its original wrapping and place it in a deep tray at the bottom of the refrigerator. A deep tray will help preventing raw turkey juices escaping and dripping onto other foods. Allow 10 hours per kilogram, so a 4.5 kg turkey takes approximately 45 hours (nearly 2 days) to thaw in a standard refrigerator at a temperature of 4°C.

Use only if time is short: Thawing in cold water (rapid thaw)

Place turkey in its original wrapping in the sink and cover with cold water. Never use hot water because it creates enough warmth in the turkey to encourage bacterial growth. Change the cold water every half-hour to maintain the cold temperature. Allow 1 hour per kilogram to defrost the turkey. A 4.5 kg turkey will take approximately 5 hours to thaw.

Not recommended: Thawing in the microwave

Microwave ovens do not heat evenly, creating warm patches that may encourage bacterial growth in large items such as turkeys.

Once your turkey has thawed, remove the giblets from inside the cavity. Set them aside for use in stuffing or gravy. Then rinse out the cavity with cold water.

Handling

Wash thoroughly and dry hands before and after handling raw turkey. After preparation, wash with hot soapy water and dry all food preparation equipment, such as bench surfaces, chopping board, and knives that have been in contact with the raw food to avoid contamination.

Cooking tips

How to roast

We recommend an average cooking time of 35 minutes per kilo in a preheated conventional oven at 160 °C on bake.

Place the bird in a roasting dish, after putting the stuffing in the front and rear cavities. There are many different stuffing recipes available, we suggest you consult your favourite recipe book for one to suit your tastes. Or browse through our recipe library.

Important: We advise keeping water in the dish throughout cooking as free range turkeys have little fat, especially the smaller sizes.

Please be aware that several factors can influence cooking times, such as oven performance, if the turkey is stuffed or unstuffed, covered or uncovered etc. The best way to check if your turkey is cooked is to cut into the thigh meat, between the breast and the leg to check that the juices run clear.

Always rest the cooked turkey for 15 minutes before carving. It allows time for the flesh to relax and for juices to be reabsorbed into the meat before carving.

Cooking timers

Small to medium size Crozier’s Free Range Turkeys (up to 6.5kg) have a cooking timer inserted. Your turkey should be cooked when the red section of the timer ‘pops’ up. These timers are a guide only. Do not exceed the recommended cooking time.