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Trader Joe's Fresh Turkey- Should I trust the store signs?

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  • ygvo Nov 26, 2013 04:56 PM
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I bought a Trader Joes Fresh Turkey this past Saturday. It will have been sitting in the fridge for 5 days until I will roast it this Friday. I only bought it so far in advance because I don't have time and the sign at the store claimed it would be good until Thanksgiving.

Anybody think the turkey is suspect and I should just toss it and buy a new one?

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  1. Why on earth would you buy a fresh turkey if you weren't confident it would remain safe until you planned to cook it? You could have gotten a frozen one. Friday is NOT Thanksgiving.

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious

      I'm inexperienced.

      Lucky me I get 2 thanksgivings, both Thursday AND FRIDAY with both sides of my family. : )

    2. Yes, just chuck it out. The entire human species has survived to this point because we are THAT delicate.

      1. There should be a "use by date" on the turkey somewhere. If not there should be an 800 to call, Good luck.

        1 Reply
        1. re: wienermobile

          Yes, look for the use by date on the package- should be on the sticker that also has the weight, price per pound and total price on it.

        2. I'd just unwrap and smell it. If poultry is off, it really stinks. But it's not generally a good idea to buy a fresh turkey that early.

          1. You can freeze it tonight.....then take it out and thaw it in the morning.....

            2 Replies
            1. re: fourunder

              The turkey won't be anywhere near frozen by then, and if it is it still takes about 4 days to *thaw* a frozen turkey safely.

              1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                Whether it freezes solid or not is not the point. It will freeze partially, which effectively buys you more time.....and if it's not completely frozen...then it won't need four days and it's close to what a fresh labeled turkey is from the store...which is, r was, partially frozen

            2. Oh, stop, everybody. If it's been properly stored it'll be fine Friday and even well beyond. The Use By date is meaningless because it doesn't know how it's been stored or transported and is only a rough guideline, and a very conservative one at that.

              You should unwrap it tonight and dry-rub it with your seasoning mix and let it air dry for the next couple of days in your fridge anyway. If it's not the pre-brined version, you should brine tonight and season tomorrow.

              1 Reply
              1. re: acgold7

                i'm with acgold7.

              2. Update:
                Turkey use or freeze by date is 12/02. It is prebrined.
                It went straight to the fridge after a 15 minute car ride when I brought it.
                I kept it in the wrapper and stored it in a 18 liter plastic container with ice in it and a secure lid. Just opened a small hole by the feet/ rear of the bird and it did not smell foul or feel slimy. If it smells Weds night I'll be making a trip. Either way, I will have learned a lesson. I'll update on how it turns out. Thanks for all the replies!

                2 Replies
                1. re: ygvo

                  Just an aside... The butcher I sometimes work for suggests fresh meat be used by day 3 or frozen. However, we will "cryovac" the meat (the machine that sucks all the air out :) to make it last longer if people ask. My guess is that your turkey was well & properly sealed. Salt is also a preservative. Finally, even fresh meat can have a strong smell when it first comes out of a bag. Not gag-inducing, though!

                  1. re: Ama658

                    I've purchase after Thanksgiving Day turkey cut in half and simply re-wrapped on a foam tray.....it still smells days after.

                2. i would think a brined turkey in the fridge is just fine for five days. the brine acts somewhat as a preservative, too.

                  1. Look on the bright side, if you decide to replace it, turkeys will be cheaper on Friday :0)

                    1. I'm going to assume that many of the turkeys people bought today came into the store last week.

                      1. I bought the same type of turkey with the same use-by date. I just unwrapped it and it smells really off! My husband is telling me to throw it out, but I rinsed and dried it hoping... I don't know what I'm hoping. It's sitting out on my counter. I am not confident at all...

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: juanita_chihuahua

                          Poultry that is wrapped in that kind of plastic often has a strong smell when first opened but it should be gone by now.

                          1. re: juanita_chihuahua

                            This is not to offer you any advice for this turkey specific....but any poultry you purchase in the future. Any poultry after 3 days of your purchase will start to have this problem. I find the cause for it is the liquid build up inside the bag. That's why removing it from the packaging and letting the poultry air dry is beneficial.

                          2. Thanks for the advice escondido123 and fourunder. I couldn't take the smell, and I didn't want to risk Thanksgiving dinner so I threw it out and got a cooked turkey from Safeway. That was the only thing not frozen... :(

                            Last year I ordered a turkey from the awesome local butcher. I'll be doing that again next year.

                            1. UPDATE:
                              Thank you for all your comments! The turkey turned out just fine! No one got sick! Details below:
                              I took it out of the wrapper Wednesday night and rinsed and dried it. I put it back in the plastic container and into the fridge. Friday morning I added the butter/herb marinade and roasted in the afternoon.
                              It tasted on the dry side (my fault on the cooking part) and wasn't the freshest turkey but it was totally fine.
                              Next year I'm totally buying an unbrined frozen turkey on Weds night and doing the Alton Brown recipe. I'll probably separate the turkey parts, too.