Fresh farm turkeys generally roast more quickly than the water-filled agribusiness turkeys. We proudly purchase and prep Tivoli’s Northwind Farm birds during the holiday season. Our customers can purchase them fresh, brined, or cooked to perfect juicy doneness – Gigi Market is open until noon on Thanksgiving Day for customers to pick up turkeys and all the trimmings.
A farm fresh turkey can be stored in a very cold environment – 28° to 34° F – up a week in advance. Have thermometers on hand for refrigeration and for testing the final doneness of the Thanksgiving centerpiece.
To cook your farm fresh turkey, first be sure your bird is completely thawed. A frozen turkey should be thawed in a refrigerator at a temperature of 40° F or lower; this can take a couple of days. Rinse the bird and the giblets under cold running water. Preheat the oven to 325° F (a hotter oven can dry out your turkey; a lower temperature risks prolonged time in the “danger zone,” or the temperature range in which bacteria multiply most quickly). Truss the legs together and tuck the wing tips back under the shoulders of the bird. If you plan to stuff the turkey, do so now, immediately before putting the turkey into the oven. Generously season the turkey and place breast-side up on a flat wire rack in a 2 ½ to 3-inch-deep roasting pan. Add ½ cup water to the bottom of the pan.
For turkeys up to 20 pounds, roast for 15 minutes a pound — an 18-pound bird should roast for about 4 ½ hours. Roast larger birds for 12 minutes a pound. A stuffed turkey may require an extra buffer of 30 minutes.
Take the temperature of both the bird and the stuffing. Oven temperatures vary, as do farm fresh turkeys, so begin checking for doneness about 30 minutes before the turkey is expected to be done. If your bird has reached the desired golden brown but is not yet done, a tent of foil may be placed over the turkey. This prevents over-browning and drying.
Testing for doneness
• Temperature: Deep in the breast should be 160 to 165° F. The thigh temperature should register at 180 to 185° F.
• Knife test: Insert a paring knife into the breast and thigh. When the juices run clear – not at all pink – the turkey is cooked.
• Leg separation: When the turkey is adequately cooked, the leg will easily separate from the bird with a light tug.
When the turkey is done, cool it at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes before carving. This makes for juicier meat and easier and more attractive carving. Farm-fresh turkeys may be lightly pink toward the bone – this is totally normal.
Refrigerate leftovers no more than 2 hours after removing the turkey from the oven. Wrapped tightly in aluminum foil or freezer grade plastic, the roasted meat can be frozen.
How many will your turkey feed?
6 pounds: 4 to 6 people
8 pounds: 6 to 8 people
12 pounds: 8 to10 people
15 pounds: 10 to 15 people
18 pounds: 12 to 15 people
22 pounds: 15+ people
For next day leftover sandwiches, smear 2 tablespoons of reduced-fat cream cheese (it’s easier if it’s softened) on one slice of toasted whole-grain or Pepperidge Farm white bread. Spread 2 tablespoons cranberry chutney, sauce, or relish on another toasted bread slice. Fill the sandwich with thinly sliced leftover turkey (about 2 ounces), a couple of slices of cheddar cheese (about 1 ounce), apple slices, and a handful of trimmed watercress or baby spinach.