Thursday, December 18, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Flummoxed by Thanksgiving math? We did it for you

By
From page B7 | November 21, 2012 |

Food-Thanksgiving Math

This Oct. 18, 2007, file photo shows a turkey with a thermometer. Federal guidelines state that your turkey is safe to eat when the innermost part of the thigh reaches 165 F. Some people say thigh meat tastes better at 170 F. If the turkey is stuffed, the stuffing must also reach 165 F. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe, File)

If you start roasting a 14-pound turkey at 375 F at 7 a.m. and need to feed 15 people – including three vegetarians, a vegan and two gluten intolerants – by 1 p.m., how many pounds of cranberries do you need if the stuffing is baked outside the bird and the pumpkin pie is cut into 11.75 equal wedges?

Or am I the only cook who suffers flashbacks to grade school word problems every time I try to calculate the many mathematical angles of assembling Thanksgiving dinner?

Fear not. I took one for the turkey team and did the math for you, sorting out all the numbers you need, from how many people different size turkeys feed to how many pounds of carrots and cans of cranberry sauce you’ll want for making sure your crowd leaves the table stuffed.

And because this is Thanksgiving, all serving estimates are generous to allow for plenty of seconds and leftovers.

How big?

For turkeys less than 16 pounds, estimate 1 pound per serving (this accounts for bone weight). For larger birds, a bit less is fine; they have a higher meat-to-bone ratio. But if your goal is to have very ample leftovers, aim for 1½ pounds per person no matter how big the turkey is.

– For 8 people, buy a 12-pound turkey

– For 10 people, buy a 15-pound turkey

– For 12 people, buy an 18-pound turkey

– For 14 people, buy a 20-pound turkey

The big thaw

The safest way to thaw a frozen turkey is in the refrigerator. You’ll need about 24 hours per 4 to 5 pounds of turkey. For speedier thawing, put the turkey in a sink of cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes, and plan for about 30 minutes per pound.

The brine

A good brine uses kosher salt and sugar in a 1-to-1 ratio, and usually no more than 1 cup of each. Feel free to add any other seasonings. Brines typically are made by heating the salt, sugar and seasonings with a bit of water until dissolved. This mixture then is diluted with additional cold water (volume will vary depending on the size of your bird). Be certain the brine is completely cooled before adding the turkey.

Turkeys should be brined for at least 8 to 10 hours, but can go as long as 72 hours. A good rule of thumb is, the longer the brine, the weaker the brine. So for a 10-hour soak, use 1 cup each of salt and sugar. For a longer one, consider backing down to ¾ cup each.

Always keep the bird refrigerated during brining. If the turkey is too big, an ice-filled cooler stored outside works, too.

The roast

Roasting temperatures vary widely by recipe. Some go at a slow and steady 325 F. Others crank the heat to 400 F or 425 F for the first hour, then drop it down for the rest of the time.

However you roast, use an instant thermometer inserted at the innermost part of the thigh (without touching bone) to determine when your turkey is done. The meat needs to hit 165 F for safe eating, though some people say thigh meat tastes better at 170 F.

If the outside of the bird gets too dark before the center reaches the proper temperature, cover it with foil.

The following roasting time estimates are based on a stuffed turkey cooked at 325 F. Reduce cooking time by 20 to 40 minutes for turkeys that are not stuffed (estimate total roasting times at 15 minutes per pound for unstuffed birds). And remember, a crowded oven cooks more slowly, so plan ahead if your bird needs to share the space.

– 12-pound turkey: 3 to 4 hours at 325 F

– 15-pound turkey: 4 to 4½ hours at 325 F

– 18-pound turkey: 4½ to 5 hours at 325 F

– 20-pound turkey: 5 to 6 hours at 325 F

The baste

Basting the bird with its juices helps crisp the skin and flavor the meat. Do it every 30 minutes, but no more. Opening the oven door too frequently lets heat escape and can significantly slow the cooking.

The rest

The turkey never should go directly from the oven to the table. Like most meat, it needs to rest before serving for the juices to redistribute. Cover the turkey with foil and a few bath towels layered over that (to keep it warm), then let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes.

The sides

– Carrots: a 1-pound bag makes 4 to 5 servings

– Cranberry sauce: a 12-ounce package of fresh cranberries makes about 2¼ cups of sauce; a 16-ounce can has 6 servings

– Gravy: plan for 1/3 cup of gravy per person

– Green beans: 1½ pounds of beans makes 6 to 8 servings

– Mashed potatoes: a 5-pound bag of potatoes makes 10 to 12 servings

– Stuffing: a 14-ounce bag of stuffing makes about 11 servings

The leftovers

For food safety reasons, leftovers should be cleared from the table and refrigerated within two hours of being served. Once refrigerated, they should be consumed within three to four days. Leftovers can be frozen for three to four months. Though safe to consume after four months, they will start to taste off.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Solano College trustees move back ‘home’

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Needs of small dog give Solano man life’s mission

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1, 5 Comments | Gallery

 
Christmas comes early for prenatal program participants

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2 | Gallery

Jury convicts teen for role in 2012 DeBartolo’s heist

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Police chief: Suisun crime up 3 percent in 2014

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Council OKs $65,730 pact to advocate for Travis base

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

 
Fairfield pays $42,500 to settle soil suit

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

 
 
Fairfield police log: Dec. 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Fairfield police log: Dec. 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Suisun City police log: Dec. 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Suisun City police log: Dec. 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
.

US / World

US, Cuba patch torn relations in historic accord

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Fears fanned by hackers bring down Sony film

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Like Iran, secret diplomacy leads to US-Cuba thaw

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Pope played crucial role in US-Cuba rapprochement

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
US travel industry carefully eyeing Cuba tourism

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

US-Cuba thaw could benefit farmers, energy and travel firms

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Cubans cheer historic renewal of US relations

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

Freed American endured years of declining health

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Bay Bridge light sculpture to keep on shining

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 4 Comments

Study: Huge wildfire supports need for controlled burns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
A fresh setback for efforts to cure HIV infection

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

14 charged in deadly 2012 meningitis outbreak

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Study: Alcatraz inmates could have survived escape

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Nigerian court sentences 54 soldiers to death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Colombian rebels announce unilateral cease-fire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Russians flock to stores to pre-empt price rises

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Pakistan buries victims of school massacre

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

.

Opinion

 
Crime Witness Protocol 101

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A7, 8 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoons: Dec. 18, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
.

Living

Today in History: Dec. 18, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Dec. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Dec. 18, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
My siblings don’t want to replace abusive mother’s pacemaker

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

25 movies chosen for the National Film Registry

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Saving Private Ryan’ among films being preserved

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
.

Sports

For MLB, changes in Cuba will take time to sort out

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Falcons cruise by crushers in girls basketball

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

49ers release McDonald amid further legal trouble

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Carr faces another tough test in rookie season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Painkillers lawsuit against NFL dismissed; may be appealed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Garcia resigns as FIFA prosecutor

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Chattanooga women stun No. 7 Stanford 54-46

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Track coach Drummond gets 8-year doping suspension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Warriors’ Bogut out with knee injury vs. Thunder

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
AP source: Romo close to $15M, 2-year deal with Giants

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Baseball monitoring White House Cuba decision

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
APNewsBreak: Judge rejects NCAA concussions deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Business

Health care exchange sign-ups exceeding last year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Fed to be ‘patient’ about a rate hike; stocks soar

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

McDonald’s in Japan limits orders of fries

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Amid scrutiny, Uber says it will focus more on safety

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Obituaries

Ernest “Ernie” Moretti

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Jennie Ponce Reyes

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Patricia “Pat” Anne Stringfield-Pierre

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Marian L. “Chicki” Downs

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9