Friday, August 29, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Flummoxed by Thanksgiving math? We did it for you

By
From page HH3 | November 14, 2012 |

Federal guidelines state that your turkey is safe to eat when the innermost part of the thigh reaches 165 F. Some people say thigh meat tastes better at 170 F. If the turkey is stuffed, the stuffing must also reach 165 F.  AP photo

FILE- This Oct. 18, 2007 file photo shows a turkey with a thermometer. Federal guidelines state that your turkey is safe to eat when the innermost part of the thigh reaches 165 F. Some people say thigh meat tastes better at 170 F. If the turkey is stuffed, the stuffing must also reach 165 F. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe, File)

By J.M. Hirsch

If you start roasting a 14-pound turkey at 375 F at 7 a.m. and need to feed 15 people — including three vegetarians, a vegan and two gluten intolerants — by 1 p.m., how many pounds of cranberries do you need if the stuffing is baked outside the bird and the pumpkin pie is cut into 11.75 equal wedges?

Or am I the only cook who suffers flashbacks to grade school word problems every time I try to calculate the many mathematical angles of assembling Thanksgiving dinner?

Fear not. I took one for the turkey team and did the math for you, sorting out all the numbers you need, from how many people different size turkeys feed to how many pounds of carrots and cans of cranberry sauce you’ll want for making sure your crowd leaves the table stuffed.

And because this is Thanksgiving, all serving estimates are generous to allow for plenty of seconds and leftovers.
————
How big?
For turkeys less than 16 pounds, estimate 1 pound per serving (this accounts for bone weight). For larger birds, a bit less is fine; they have a higher meat-to-bone ratio. But if your goal is to have very ample leftovers, aim for 1 1/2 pounds per person no matter how big the turkey is.

* For 8 people, buy a 12-pound turkey
* For 10 people, buy a 15-pound turkey
* For 12 people, buy an 18-pound turkey
* For 14 people, buy a 20-pound turkey
___
The big thaw
The safest way to thaw a frozen turkey is in the refrigerator. You’ll need about 24 hours per 4 to 5 pounds of turkey. For speedier thawing, put the turkey in a sink of cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes, and plan for about 30 minutes per pound.
___
The brine
A good brine uses kosher salt and sugar in a 1-to-1 ratio, and usually no more than 1 cup of each. Feel free to add any other seasonings. Brines typically are made by heating the salt, sugar and seasonings with a bit of water until dissolved. This mixture then is diluted with additional cold water (volume will vary depending on the size of your bird). Be certain the brine is completely cooled before adding the turkey.

Turkeys should be brined for at least 8 to 10 hours, but can go as long as 72 hours. A good rule of thumb is, the longer the brine, the weaker the brine. So for a 10-hour soak, use 1 cup each of salt and sugar. For a longer one, consider backing down to 3/4 cup each.

Always keep the bird refrigerated during brining. If the turkey is too big, an ice-filled cooler stored outside works, too.
___
The roast
Roasting temperatures vary widely by recipe. Some go at a slow and steady 325 F. Others crank the heat to 400 F or 425 F for the first hour, then drop it down for the rest of the time.

However you roast, use an instant thermometer inserted at the innermost part of the thigh (without touching bone) to determine when your turkey is done. The meat needs to hit 165 F for safe eating, though some people say thigh meat tastes better at 170 F.

If the outside of the bird gets too dark before the center reaches the proper temperature, cover it with foil.

The following roasting time estimates are based on a stuffed turkey cooked at 325 F. Reduce cooking time by 20 to 40 minutes for turkeys that are not stuffed (estimate total roasting times at 15 minutes per pound for unstuffed birds). And remember, a crowded oven cooks more slowly, so plan ahead if your bird needs to share the space.

* 12-pound turkey: 3 to 4 hours at 325 F
* 15-pound turkey: 4 to 4 1/2 hours at 325 F
* 18-pound turkey: 4 1/2 to 5 hours at 325 F
* 20-pound turkey: 5 to 6 hours at 325 F
___
The baste
Basting the bird with its juices helps crisp the skin and flavor the meat. Do it every 30 minutes, but no more. Opening the oven door too frequently lets heat escape and can significantly slow the cooking.
___
The rest
The turkey never should go directly from the oven to the table. Like most meat, it needs to rest before serving for the juices to redistribute. Cover the turkey with foil and a few bath towels layered over that (to keep it warm), then let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
___
The sides
* Carrots: a 1-pound bag makes 4 to 5 servings
* Cranberry sauce: a 12-ounce package of fresh cranberries makes about 2 1/4 cups of sauce; a 16-ounce can has 6 servings
* Gravy: plan for 1/3 cup of gravy per person
* Green beans: 1 1/2 pounds of beans makes 6 to 8 servings
* Mashed potatoes: a 5-pound bag of potatoes makes 10 to 12 servings
* Stuffing: a 14-ounce bag of stuffing makes about 11 servings
___
The leftovers
For food safety reasons, leftovers should be cleared from the table and refrigerated within two hours of being served. Once refrigerated, they should be consumed within three to four days. Leftovers can be frozen for three to four months. Though safe to consume after four months, they will start to taste off.

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Saving Putah Creek: a quiet concert at sunset

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Mr. Dolcini goes to Washington

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Winton to be feted for her many years of community work

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Davis Innovation Center team fields questions

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Researchers solve mystery of Death Valley’s moving rocks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    California extends review of $25B delta plan

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Assembly approves statewide ban on plastic bags

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Equestrian eventing competition slated

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Dinner, auction benefit Yolo County CASA

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Forum explores local mental health services

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Solar-cooking workshop set at Food Co-op

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Celebrate the Senior Center at Sept. 9 luncheon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Kids can sign up for a library card and get a free book

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Explorit Science Center: Volunteers supercharge summer camp

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Tee off for Davis’ continued prosperity

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

     
    Bodega Marine Laboratory hosts open house

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Local group charts a year’s worth of beauty in flowers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Free blood pressure screenings offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Name Droppers: UCD honors two of its own

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    Books, conversation and poetry at Logos

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Forum

    Let’s sell the MRAP on eBay

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    Seeing both sides of ‘tank’

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    What if we need MRAP?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    How could tank be helpful?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: C2

    Don’t sentence our police to death

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C2, 1 Comment

     
    Will Davis see river water?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    Travel buddy is getting too fat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Sports

    Returning seniors, new faces lead promising DHS links squad

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devil golfers return from Scotland with smiles on their faces

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devils scrimmage with Sac

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD-Stanford: the clock is down to counting the minutes

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Forget the score; focus on the energy brought by Aggies

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Wire briefs: Aces cruise past Cats at Raley

    By Wire and staff reports | From Page: B6

    Sports briefs: DHS girls fall by the slimmest of net margins

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘The November Man’: Who can be trusted?

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    B Street’s ‘The Ladies Foursome’ is aces

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    .

    Business

    Technology makes a great car better

    By Ali Arsham | From Page: C1 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Margarita Elizondo

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Elaine Dracia Greenberg

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics