Turkey Trouble Top Tips:
  • Remember, changes in temperature whilst storing your turkey can affect the quality of the meat. Once you have purchased your turkey, do not allow it to start to defrost unless cooking right away. Even a light defrosting and refreezing of the surface of the product can damage the fibres and cause the meat to be tough and dry when cooked.
  • In order to ensure your turkey stays fresh and safe to eat, you need to ensure you store and defrost it correctly! Please ensure you defrost it thoroughly in the bottom of the refrigerator, or in a cool room before cooking. Once defrosted a turkey should be treated as fresh meat and cooked as soon as possible.
  • Tough or dry turkey is usually caused by overcooking or partial defrosting during storage (see above). Bear in mind, the opening and closing of the oven door whilst cooking on Christmas day can affect the temperature of your oven, as well as what else you have in the oven at the time, both of which could affect the cooking time of your turkey. To make sure your turkey is thoroughly cooked follow our ‘how to prep’ video, which explains how you can tell your turkey is ready. Check your turkey regularly towards the end of the cooking time and remove it from the oven as soon as it is thoroughly cooked, even if this is sooner than the recommended cooking time. All ovens are unique and cook at different rates, especially at Christmas when lots of different foods may also be being cooked in the oven, cooking times on pack are for guidance only.

Turkey not thawing in time

Although the best ways to thaw a frozen turkey is either in a refrigerator or a cool room, not subject to temperature fluctuations, it can be thawed more quickly in cold water – a useful method if you have run out of time. 

A turkey thawed by cold water method should be cooked immediately afterwards.

Allow about 1 hour per kilogram weight.

First, be sure that the turkey is in a leak-proof plastic bag to prevent cross-contamination and to prevent the turkey absorbing water.

Submerge the turkey in cold tap water – a large bucket will probably serve the purpose.

Change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is thawed.

The turkey is thawed when there are no longer any ice crystals inside the body cavity and the legs are flexible about the hip joint.

Cook the turkey immediately when thawed.

There does not appear to be much meat on the turkey

If your  knife almost immediately strikes bone, as you begin to carve what you believe is the breast of your turkey, it is worth checking that the turkey is the correct way up. 

There is the possibility that you are trying to carve the meat from the backbone. 

A small section of the inner breast meat is greenish

The green discolouration to a small part of the breast muscle is, unfortunately, a natural occurrence and sometimes found, especially in larger birds. This usually occurs in the area deep into the breast, shown in the picture.

Occasionally as the inner breast muscle develops during life it can do so in such a way that it interferes with its own blood supply.

The lack of blood to the part can then cause the characteristic green discolouration that you have found.

Although unsightly and quite perturbing the meat has no harmful effects and would not cause any problems if eaten.

Unfortunately the condition is not easy to detect until the breast meat is carved.

There are black or blue spots on the skin of my turkey

With dark feathered birds, after the removal of the feathers, dark ink-like spots can remain on the skin.

They can appear anywhere on the turkey but mainly on the breast or the thigh.

This is quite natural and the spots tend to fade during cooking.

Need more help?

Contact our helpline on the run up to Christmas on 01603 872611