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Talking turkey: Thanksgiving tips to make the most out of your meal

Thanksgiving is just days away, and while many families can’t wait to eat their fill, it can be stressful if you’re the one preparing the meal.

However, experts say there are a few tips you should follow to make your Thanksgiving turkey preparations a little less stressful.

When it comes to the turkey, experts suggest getting a fresh turkey so you don’t have to defrost a frozen one for days.

Also, don’t wash the turkey. Experts say that washing a turkey doesn’t get rid of the bacteria, but it does spread it to your sink and countertops where other food is prepared.

Rick Rodgers, the author of ‘Thanksgiving 101,’ says that the USDA has changed its stance on stuffing the turkey. However, he says keep a meat thermometer close since the stuffing needs to reach 165 degrees during cooking.

Before putting the turkey in the oven, make sure it is placed in a sturdy, dark roasting pan. That way, it will handle the weight and will absorb the oven’s heat and make richer drippings for gravy.

If you’re not stuffing the bird, Rodgers suggests filling the cavity with chopped carrots, celery, a Granny Smith apple and an onion. You will throw it all away before serving but it will give the turkey a nice flavor. He also suggests rubbing softened butter mixed with dried thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary and celery seed on the outside.

To ensure the white meat is moist, cover the breast tightly with foil. During the last hour of cooking, remove the foil to brown the skin. Rodgers also suggests basting it a few times.

When the turkey is done, put the thermometer at the thickest part of the turkey and make sure it is 165 degrees. Then, let the turkey stand for 30 to 45 minutes before carving.

Once everyone is done, leftovers should be refrigerated within two hours of serving.