How Long Can I Keep Raw Pasture Raised Turkey In My Refrigerator?

If you are like me, you want to defrost your Thanksgiving turkey with plenty of time to ensure that when you start the cooking on Thursday, everything will be ready to go. But a question I’ve heard repeatedly is: how early is too early? Will my turkey spoil in the refrigerator?

The simple and reassuring answer is you probably don’t need to worry about it. As long as your refrigerator is able to hold a temperature below 40 degrees, everything will be fine. The standard reference document for cold storage by Bruce Tomkin, PhD shows the following relationship between storage temperature and days before bacteria counts begin to proliferate:

MeatTemperature (F)Days to Spoilage

This data set doesn’t include turkey, but if it works for chicken it will apply for all poultry.

At a temperature below 40 degrees you will have a comfortable week of refrigerated storage with no risk of spoilage. So if you want to get a jump on defrosting your turkey starting the Saturday before Thanksgiving, you have nothing to worry about.

This is one of the advantages of buying a frozen turkey. Unlike fresh turkeys (which

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For further reading about our Certified Organic, pasture raised turkeys, here are some other posts that might be of interest:

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