How Long Does Turkey Last In The Fridge

How Long Does Turkey Last In The Fridge

Turkey is a popular meat that people consume mainly around the holidays. However, you can eat turkey year-round with cuts such as turkey legs, turkey breast, and ground turkey.

Whether you purchased your whole turkey early or bought ground turkey, you need to know how long your turkey lasts in the fridge.

How To Store Fresh Turkey?

Storage can play an integral role in how long your turkey lasts in the fridge. To store your turkey in the refrigerator, you can leave it in its original packaging.

Place the turkey onto a large platter. Store the turkey in the fridge away from other meats like fish, shrimp, or beef, ready-to-eat foods, or leftover food like cornbread.

Make sure you store the turkey in the coldest section of the fridge. Make sure your fridge is at a temperature at or below 40°F.

Remember storing the turkey in the fridge will not inhibit bacterial growth. Wash your hands and any surfaces the turkey came into contact with to prevent cross-contamination.

For long-term storage, you can freeze the turkey. Tightly wrap the turkey with plastic wrap and put it into a freezer-safe ziplock bag. When you are ready to cook the turkey, defrost the bird in the fridge overnight or thaw it in cold water.

How To Store Cooked Turkey

If you’ve got more cooked turkey than you can eat in one sitting, you can store it in the fridge or freezer.

Cover the turkey loosely with foil. This will prevent airborne bacteria from coming into contact with the bird. Allow the turkey to cool completely.

At this point, you either can tightly wrap the entire bird with plastic wrap or cut it into smaller portions and place it into an airtight container or ziplock bag. You can also use a vacuum sealer for packaging the turkey meat.

Place the turkey into the fridge on a lower shelf by itself. Do not place the turkey next to or below raw meat like Denver steaks. The condensation from the steak can drip onto the cooked turkey and contaminate the meat.

Do not reheat all the turkey at once. Remove only as much turkey as you need and rewrap the turkey. Do not let the turkey sit out of the fridge for too long.

How Long Can Raw Turkey Sit Out Of The Refrigerator

Whether raw or cooked, turkey cannot be left at room temperature indefinitely. Bacteria multiply at temperatures between 40°F–140°F. If the room’s temperature is at or above 90°F, bacteria will multiply even faster.

This is why a turkey cannot be left to sit outside the refrigerator for more than 1-2 hours. So much bacteria will develop that the turkey will be unsafe to consume.

How Long Does Turkey Last In The Fridge

How long a turkey lasts in the fridge depends on how it is stored and the expiration date. When stored properly, raw turkey has a life span of 1-2 days. 

If you purchase a frozen raw turkey, it will remain safe until it thaws in the fridge. Once it is defrosted, it will last for 1-2 days.

How Long Does Ground Turkey Last In The Fridge

The shelf life of ground turkey depends on whether it is cooked or raw. Ground turkey can last for up to 2-3 days. Nevertheless, the ground turkey will only last as long as it is stored correctly in an airtight container.

How Long Does Cooked Ground Turkey Last In The Fridge

Cooked ground turkey can last up to 3-4 days stored in the refrigerator. But you must make sure you keep it in an airtight container before placing it in the fridge. Furthermore, do not allow the cooked turkey to sit out at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

How Long Does Turkey Deli Meat Last In The Fridge

If you love using turkey deli meat for sandwiches, then you know it must be stored in the refrigerator whether it is opened or unopened. Eventually, the deli meat will spoil. So be sure to use your turkey deli meat within 5 days.

How To Tell If Turkey Is Bad?

Just like knowing when shrimp is bad is important, it’s essential to know when your turkey is bad. No one wants to eat rotten turkey, so pay attention to these signs.

The most obvious sign is a pungent rancid smell. Raw turkey has a mild scent, while cooked turkey will often smell like seasonings used to flavor the turkey.

Raw spoiled turkey has a slimy texture. If your turkey has a slimy texture, discard it immediately. Additionally, wash your hands as well as kitchen surfaces the turkey touched with hot soapy water to prevent cross-contamination. 

The last way to tell if the turkey is bad is by looking at it. If there are any signs of discoloration, discard the turkey.

Some people believe the only accurate way to know if a turkey is spoiled is by performing the smell test. However, I recommend performing all 3 tests before deciding if the turkey is spoiled.

What Happens If I Eat Bad Turkey

Nothing is worse than finding out your turkey is spoiled than around the holiday time. It will be nearly impossible to get your hands on another turkey. But trust me when I say cooking a spoiled turkey is not worth it.

If you serve spoiled turkey, you and your loved ones could end up with a case of food poisoning. While most symptoms are from food poisoning are mild, they can become severe and life-threatening. If you or anyone you know is experiencing severe symptoms of food poisoning, contact a physician immediately.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are gearing up for thanksgiving or cooking a weeknight dinner, it’s essential to know how long turkey lasts in the fridge. This will help you plan accordingly and prevent food poisoning. In addition to this, it will help you save money since you won’t have to throw your spoiled turkey in the trash.

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