Should You Eat Turkey That Was Left Out? Here’s How to Know

In this article we will answer the question ‘Should You Eat Turkey that was Left Out?’. We will also take a look at related queries like how to know if the turkey has gone bad and how to properly store turkey.

Should You Eat Turkey That Was Left Out?

No, it is not recommended to eat turkey that was left out for a long period of time. The rule of thumb is that if it has been longer than three to four hours, it is best if you don’t consume it. However there are many factors that play a role leading to spoilage. 

There are also chances that turkey is not showing the obvious signs of spoilage but has gone bad. Thus it is best if you don’t consume turkey that has been left out or has not been refrigerated for a long period of time. 

What happens if you leave the turkey out? 

Turkey is spoiled when left out as a result of bacterial activity. Leaving the turkey out at room temperature provides the optimal conditions for the contamination and growth of bacteria. Most microorganisms replicate at an exponential rate at room temperature.

Moreover, turkey meat serves as an excellent source of nutrition for bacteria to divide rapidly. As a result of this multiplication, Turkey goes bad. 

How to know if the turkey has gone bad?

The main markers to check if the turkey has gone bad or not are texture and smell. Freshly made turkey will have a mouth watering and meaty aroma. On the contrary, spoiled turkey will have a bad, ammonia or sulfur like odor, which is not nice at all. You will easily be able to tell if the turkey has gone bad or not just by smelling it. 

Another important characteristic to take into account is the texture of turkey. Unlike fresh turkey that is soft and crispy to touch, spoiled turkey feels slimy and slippery to touch. There will also be significant discoloration due to bacterial growth and action. If your turkey is slimy to touch and not crispy at all then it has definitely gone bad. 

What happens if you eat turkey that has gone bad? 

Spoiled turkey harbors a variety of bacteria. This assortment can include E. Coli, salmonella, clostridium, listeria etc. Many of these organisms can cause food poisoning. Hence, if you eat turkey that has gone bad there are chances you will get food poisoning from it. 

Some of the symptoms of food poisoning include diarrhea, vomiting, stomach ache, nausea, fever, and chills. 

How to deal with food poisoning? 

If food poisoning occurs, avoid drinking and eating for a few hours. Rehydrate with ORS to make up for the loss of water. Consume a BRAT diet that is known to relieve the symptoms of diarrhea and are not harsh on the stomach. Get IV fluids if necessary. Clear broths and soups are also helpful in regaining strength and energy levels while recovering. 

How to properly store turkey? 

In order to properly refrigerate, freezing is recommended. For both methods, make sure it is placed in a coverable dish or container. If that is not available use cling film and aluminum foil. This reduces the exposure to the outside air that can be contaminated with bacteria. 

You can easily store turkey using this method for up to four to five days in the fridge. In case of freezing, turkey will last up to three to four months. 

Can you freeze cooked turkey? 

Yes, you can freeze cooked turkey. It is recommended that you don’t freeze it as a whole. Divide all the leftovers into individual servings and freeze them separately. In that case you will only have to defrost the consumable amount and extra turkey will not go into waste. 

Moreover, it will also take very less time to freeze individual servings. This method also works the best for a smaller freezer or if there is not enough storage space. 

How to freeze cooked turkey? 

Here is how you can freeze   the cooked turkey in an effective way. 

  • Cut turkey into bite size bits and pieces or single servings
  • Take a tray and cover it with parchment paper
  • Spread the pieces on tray evenly and make sure they are not over each other
  • Pop the tray into the freezer
  • Wait a day and take the tray out 
  • Transfer the piece into a food grade plastic bags or freezer friendly containers
  • Put them back into the freezer 

Conclusion 

In this article we answered the question ‘Should You Eat Turkey that was Left Out?’. We will also take a look at related queries like how to know if the turkey has gone bad and how to properly store turkey.

References 

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.