Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Nov 20, 2012 02:40 PM

Fresh turkey in the fridge

Hello everybody, my first post here.

I don't know much about cooking and even less about turkey, have been in the US for a couple of years only and this would only be my second thanksgiving.

I went to buy a turkey on Saturday, knowing that it takes 5 days to thaw a 24lbs frozen turkey. I was so happy to find a 24lbs turkey at 99cents/lb (at HEB), that I did not realize that this was not a frozen turkey, but a fresh one. I had assumed all packaged turkeys sold in the supermarket were frozen, and since the fresh ones are kept at near freezing temperature, it also 'feels' as a frozen turkey when I bought it.

I have only realized today that I have indeed a fresh turkey in the fridge.
The label says "Use or freeze by 11/25"
My fridge is at 37 degrees.

I read conflicting info online such as "fresh turkey should be cooked within 1-2 days of buying" or "cooked by use date"

I have read a lot of posts with similar questions from the previous years, but could not find any reports of what finally happened on Thanksgiving day. I would greatly appreciate if somebody with previous experience of keeping a packaged fresh turkey for 5+ days in the fridge could report on the freshness of the turkey when finally opened.

Thanks a lot!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. My one experience years ago recalls that they don't keep well for long. I actually had to return the original, and exchange for a "newer" one. It wasn't rancid but it did smell off. Good luck.

    2 Replies
    1. re: letsindulge

      ouch, do you remember how long you had kept it?

      1. re: turkey2012

        Historically I purchase the bird maybe 3 - 4 days prior to Thanksgiving. Maybe I bought one that was closer to the "use by" date than yours. I hope yours is OK. Your nose should tell you when you open it. Good luck.

    2. 11/25 is Sunday, you should be fine for Thursday. I've had the same thing happen. Ordered a "fres" bird knowing from past experience that it would arrive at around 30 degrees (still parialy forzen) and getting instead a thawed bird. It was about the same time frame you are talking and it came out great.

      1 Reply
        1. Just out of curiosity, you do know that a 24 lb turkey will feed a small army, don't you?

          1 Reply
          1. i believe that birds can be kept in the mid 30's for much longer than you can imagine. i have some reason to think that supermarket chain birds ( i am actually here thinking of chickens) do not do not go"on sale" ( that is reduced price) until after 10 days in the store, and there can be at least 5 days from processing to store receipt. i bought my fresh bird this year on sunday. i called on friday and they were just receiiving. i asked should i wait till wednesday to get my bird and they said ---"same bird--your fridge or ours" in chicago 99 cents would be a wonderfully low price for fresh.

            1 Reply
            1. re: joeljcj2

              Understood. My worries came from the fact that the supermarket keeps those at 26 degrees, which might make a difference, I don't know...