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General Info

As a general rule, you can keep Shady Brook Farms® Whole Turkey Breast frozen in your home fridge for up to 1 year. Turkeys kept in commercial or home deep freezers can be kept even longer and still maintain good quality. Per the USDA frozen turkey meat is safe to eat indefinitely. Cargill uses a Julian or lot code system to determine the manufacturer’s information.

Example:
MFG INFO – 719081252
1st Digit – Plant information
2nd-4th Digit – Julian Month & Date (in above example 190th day of the year, and in 2018, the 190th day was July 9th)
5th Digit – Last Digit of the Year of Production Date (in above example 2018)
6th-9th Digit – Time of Production in Military Time

On the hang tag, there is “MFG Use Only”
(1137) (36) 00071 – The numbers in the first set of parenthesis determine the weight.

The turkey in the example above would weigh 11.37 lbs.

Turkey parts and water only.

No.

Shady Brook Farms® does not currently produce any Halal or Kosher turkey products.

No. Hormones and steroids are not allowed in raising poultry. Federal regulations prohibit the use of added growth hormones and steroids.
Source: USDA

We believe in the humane treatment of turkeys. In order to promote bird welfare and produce the highest-quality turkeys, we have adopted a comprehensive set of Animal Welfare and Handling Guidelines which meet and exceed USDA requirements as distributed by the National Turkey Federation. Additionally, as part of its focus on animal well-being, we formed an Animal Welfare Advisory Group comprised of industry and academic animal welfare experts that meets annually to make improvements or modifications to our Animal Welfare Program.

Turkeys are fed a diet consisting primarily of corn and soybean meal.

Our turkeys come from Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Learn more about our family farmers.

Not really. In fact, age, not gender, will determine tenderness and therefore possibly taste.

Grade A indicates the highest quality. It means that the poultry is virtually free from defects like bruises, discolorations, and feathers. There would be no broken bones, no tears in the skin or exposed flesh. The turkey would have a good covering of fat under the skin, and it would be fully fleshed and meaty.
Source: USDA

The term “no antibiotics added” is used on labels for poultry products if the producer sufficiently documents to Food Safety Inspection Service that the animals were raised without antibiotics. If a turkey does receive antibiotics, it cannot be labeled as “raised without antibiotics”, and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) mandates the discontinuation of all antibiotics prior to processing so there are no residues in the turkey. The USDA routinely tests meat prior to processing to ensure it is free from antibiotic residue.
Source: USDA

Hormones and steroids are not allowed in raising poultry. Federal regulations prohibit the use of added growth hormones and steroids.
Source: USDA

The designation of “hen” or “tom” turkey is optional on the label and is an indication of size rather than gender.
Source: USDA

Nope! But we’re in plenty of retailers – find one near you.

Allergens

The Top 8 allergens are Egg, Fish, Milk, Peanut, Shellfish, Soy, Tree Nut, Wheat. Per USDA guidelines, if a product contains any form of the Top 8 Allergens the manufacturer must list them on the package. All of Cargill’s products contain a complete and accurate statement of ingredients.

Shady Brook Farms® fresh and frozen whole turkeys and bone-in turkey breasts do not contain gluten. If the turkey you purchased has gravy, our gravy does not contain gluten either. Rice flour is used in the preparation of our gravy.

For our whole turkeys and bone-in breasts, the natural flavoring is celery & rosemary extract. For our ground turkey, it is rosemary extract.

Yes, and there is no chance of cross-contamination, as our turkey facilities only process turkey.

Storage

No. At room temperature, hazardous bacterial growth may have occurred after that length of time. You should dispose of the turkey.

Eating Within 2 hours?
Keep the food hot. Keeping food warm is not enough. Harmful bacteria multiply fastest between 40 and 140°F.
Set oven temperature high enough to keep the turkey at 140°F or above. Use a food thermometer to check. Stuffing and side dishes must also stay hot (at 140°F or above). Covering with foil will help keep the food moist.

Eating Much Later?
It’s not a good idea to keep food hot for longer than two hours. It is better if you:
Remove all stuffing from the turkey cavity immediately and refrigerate it.
Cut turkey into smaller pieces and refrigerate. Slice breast meat; legs and wings may be left whole.
Refrigerate potatoes, gravy, and vegetables in shallow containers.

For best quality, please use the turkey within 12 months of purchasing and storing in your home freezer.

According to the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the USDA, all leftovers should be stored in shallow containers and refrigerated or frozen within two hours of cooking. Bacteria grow rapidly between the temperatures of 40°F and 140°F. After food is safely cooked, hot food must be kept hot at 140°F or warmer to prevent bacterial growth. Within two hours of cooking food or after it is removed from an appliance keeping it warm, leftovers must be refrigerated. Throw away all perishable foods that have been left at room temperature for more than two hours (one hour if the temperature is over 90°F, such as at an outdoor picnic during summer).

Cold perishable food, such as chicken salad or a platter of deli meats should be kept at 40°F or below. When serving food at a buffet, keep food hot in chafing dishes, slow cookers, or warming trays. Keep food cold by nesting dishes in bowls of ice or use small serving trays and replace them often. Discard any cold leftovers that have been left out for more than 2 hours at room temperature (1 hour when the temperature is above 90°F).

Discard any turkey, stuffing, and gravy left out at room temperature longer than 2 hours; 1 hour if the temperature is over 90°F. Be sure to remove the meat from the carcass before refrigerating, otherwise, it will take too long to get cold. Divide leftovers into smaller portions. Refrigerate or freeze in covered shallow containers for quicker cooling. If you plan to save the carcass for stock, pick the bones clean and refrigerate the carcass separately.

In the refrigerator:

  • Cooked turkey – 3-4 days
  • Other cooked dishes and gravy – 3-4 days

In the freezer*:

  • Turkey slices or pieces (plain) – About 4 months
  • Turkey slices in broth or gravy – 6 months
  • Other cooked poultry dishes, stuffing and gravy – 4-6 months

*Freezer storage times are for quality only. Frozen foods remain safe indefinitely. Source: FSIS/USDA

Yes, it is safe to freeze meat or poultry directly in its original packaging, however, this type of wrap is permeable to air and quality may diminish over time. For prolonged storage, overwrap these packages as you would any food for long-term storage.

For best quality, please use the turkey within 12 months of purchasing and storing in your home freezer.

When a fresh turkey or turkey breast is purchased and frozen by the consumer in a home freezer, it should be used within one year for best quality (Source: FSIS/USDA). When freezing fresh poultry, do note that without the aid of a blast freezer (used commercially to freeze at a very rapid rate), you may experience a slight loss in quality. Slow freezing increases ice-crystal formation, which can negatively affect the quality of your fresh turkey.

It is safe to refreeze properly thawed turkey, although there could be a loss of quality due to moisture loss during the thawing process. Do not refreeze or use a product that has been left out for longer than 2 hours or that has been completely thawed longer than two days.

Safety Questions

As long as the internal temperature of your turkey is 160°F (or higher), it is safe to eat. The color of cooked meat and poultry isn’t always a good indicator of doneness. Using a meat thermometer is the only accurate way to determine that meat has reached a safe temperature. Turkey, fresh pork, ground beef or veal can remain pink even after cooking to temperatures of 160°F and higher. Smoked turkey meat is always pink.

Chemical changes occur during cooking. Oven gases in a heated gas or electric oven react chemically with hemoglobin in the meat tissues to give it a pink tinge. Often meat of younger birds shows the pinkest because their thinner skins permit oven gases to reach the flesh. Older animals have a fat layer under their skin, giving the flesh added protection from the gases. Older poultry may be pink in spots where fat is absent from the skin. Also, nitrates and nitrites, which are often used as preservatives or may occur naturally in the feed or water supply used, can cause a pink color.

The color of cooked meat and poultry isn’t always a good indicator of doneness. Using a meat thermometer is the only accurate way to determine the meat has reached a safe temperature. Turkey can remain pink even after cooking temperatures of 165°F and higher. Smoked turkey meat is always pink.

The skin color of raw turkey ranges from off-white to cream-colored. Under the skin, color can vary from pink to lavender-blue, depending on the amount of subcutaneous fat.
If the turkey has reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F as measured with a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast, it should be safe to eat. When there is a pink color in safely cooked turkey, it is due to the hemoglobin in tissues which can form a heat-stable color. This can also happen when smoking, grilling or oven cooking a turkey.

When refrigerated at temperatures between 36 – 40 degrees (or cooler), fresh turkey should be wholesome through the “sell by” date listed on the tag. However, because home refrigerators are not typically as consistent at maintaining their temperature as commercial-grade refrigerated systems, we suggest you cook or freeze your turkey within 4 – 5 days of purchase (not to exceed use by date) to ensure the highest quality and freshness.

Meat and poultry cooked on the grill often browns very fast on the outside. Use a meat thermometer to be sure the food has reached a safe internal temperature. Whole poultry should reach at least 165°F. Never partially grill meat or poultry and finish cooking later. Cook food completely to destroy harmful bacteria.

A meat thermometer is the most accurate way to gauge whether or not your turkey is done—both from a quality and safety perspective. Insert the thermometer into thickest part of the breast until it touches bone and pull back 1 inch. You can also test temperature in the thigh. This chart gives you done temperatures for turkey.

Breast
165°F

Thigh (in the inner thigh, near breast)
180°F

Ground Turkey
165°F

No, per the USDA washing your turkey meat is not recommended and increases your chances of spreading germs around your kitchen.

Color ranges from off-white to cream-colored. Under the skin, color can vary from pink to lavender-blue, depending on the amount of subcutaneous fat.

Following three simple rules will go a long way toward keeping your family safe. First, raw poultry should always be refrigerated at or below 40°F. Second, it should be cooked properly to internal temperatures of at least 165°F, as determined by a meat thermometer. Third, all counters, utensils and surfaces that come in contact with the raw turkey and its juices should be washed with hot, soapy water.

Cross-contamination can occur when preparing raw poultry for cooking. Raw meat juices containing microorganisms can get on the countertop, on utensils, etc., and if not cleaned, may result in cross-contamination of the next item to come in contact with the counter or utensils (for example, salad materials—tomatoes, lettuce—or other items that may not be cooked).
Per the Food Safety and Inspection Service, use hot, soapy water and paper towels or clean cloths to wipe your kitchen surfaces or spills. Wash cutting boards, dishes and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next.

Per USDA guidelines, once a turkey is completely thawed, it should be kept in the refrigerator no more than 1-2 days prior to cooking. For more information, we suggest visiting www.fsis.usda.gov and click on “Food Safety Education.”

Ground Turkey

There are lots of ways to prepare ground turkey. All of our recipes have specific directions. Here are some general guidelines you may find helpful:

Grilling: ground turkey is great on the grill, but has to be formed & shaped prior to grilling, usually as a burger patty.

Smoked: you can add smoke flavor (liquid or dry) into a ground turkey blend before cooking (like with patties or burgers), or apply during cooking in an oven (Example: dry/semi-dry sausages/formed & shaped jerkeys).

Oven: similar to grilling, ground turkey has to be formed and shaped before cooking in the oven. One example would be a turkey meatloaf.

Other methods: slow cookers and skillets are also popular ways of cooking ground turkey. Just make sure the turkey is cooked through to an internal temperature of 165ºF.

Best practice for leftovers is to store in the refrigerator (Temperature 40ºF) and keep sealed in a container with a lid.

Up to 2 days, but no more than 3 according to best safety practices.

Ground turkey, unopened in a tray, can be stored for 3 months. Ground turkey that has been vacuum-packed can be stored for 6 months.

The best way to thaw turkey at home is to place the frozen turkey in the refrigerator overnight to thaw slowly. The time will vary depending on package size and other factors like refrigerator temperature setting, etc. For best results, place the turkey where air can flow around the package during the thawing process.

Whole Turkey

Giblets are defined as the heart, liver, and gizzard of a poultry carcass. Although often packaged with them, the neck of the bird is not a giblet. Giblets are typically wrapped in plastic or paper and reinserted into the turkey’s body cavity. Traditionally, turkey giblets are cooked by simmering in water for use in flavoring soups, gravies, or poultry stuffing.

Yes, it is necessary to remove the giblet packet and neck from the turkey before cooking. If you do not wish to use these items in stock or gravy, you can dispose of them.

Giblets weigh about 0.7 lbs.

Yes, it is still safe to eat. Our giblets are packaged in oven/food safe paper. In this case, there would be no concern if the giblets are accidentally cooked inside the turkey.

Whole Turkey: Electric Roasting Times at 325°F

6 to 8 pounds – 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 hours
8 to 12 pounds – 2 3/4 to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds – 3 to 3 3/4 hours
14 to 18 pounds – 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds – 4 1/4 – 4 1/2 hours
20 – 24 pounds – 4 1/2 – 5 hours
24 to 28 pounds – 5 to 5 1/2 hours

We strongly discourage using a brown paper bag for cooking. Not only are they not sanitary, but also they may cause a fire and can emit toxic fumes when exposed to heat. Intense heat may cause a bag to ignite, causing a fire in the oven and possibly adulterating the turkey. Instead, use oven cooking bags found at your grocer.

It is not recommended to microwave a turkey.

Turkey will cook faster in a dark roaster since it causes meat to brown at a faster rate. Be sure to start checking your meat thermometer approximately one hour before your turkey is supposed to be done.

For food-safety reasons, it is not recommend to roast a turkey at a temperature lower than 325°F, where harmful bacteria thrive.

For food-safety reasons, it is not recommended to partially roast a whole turkey. Partially cooked meat and stuffing are ideal for bacteria growth.

The color of the juices at the leg joints is sometimes pink even though it is cooked and safe to eat. Those joints may only have been heated to 175°F. A temperature of 165°F is required to be safe to eat, but the red color will not disappear until about 180°F. Our turkey timers in whole turkeys pop up when the breast is 170°F.

A “basted” or “self-basted” turkey is one that has been pre-basted to enhance juiciness or tenderness. The basting could contain such ingredients as turkey broth, salt, sugar, and flavorings.

It is not necessary to baste a self-basting turkey. It is also not necessary to baste a non-basted turkey, but it does add nice color and flavor to the skin. Basting generally does not penetrate below the skin. Most turkeys are pre-basted with broth already deep inside the meat, making it moist and tender. Repeatedly opening the oven door to baste only heats the kitchen and prolongs the cooking time.

Sugar and salt are added for flavor and to help the product retain its moisture. Studies have shown that some people feel products like these are more juicy and flavorful when ingredients are added. We do make a product without additives as well. We recommend checking with your local meat department manager for inventory and ordering.

Basted turkeys say on the front of the package “Basted with approximately X% of turkey broth, salt, sugar, and natural flavoring.”