Question: I took your advice and bought a couple of sale turkeys before Thanksgiving. How long can a frozen turkey be stored without going bad?
Answer: We stock up on a large number of turkeys at Thanksgiving, too. It provides us with the least expensive poultry price of the year. About once each month (except during the hotter summer months), we cook a turkey. We eat some of the meat that night and save the rest to be used in recipes made on our once-a-month cooking day.
We regularly store frozen turkeys for up to one year and notice no difference in taste or quality from the birds that are eaten right away. We talked to a former Navy chef, now working as a butcher, who said that while in the military, they would routinely ship out for 18 months. Sometimes they stowed two years’ worth of Thanksgiving turkeys onboard in deep freezers. Turkey that is vacuum-sealed in heavy plastic and then frozen can be stored indefinitely. This same rule applies to other vacuum-sealed meats. Meat frozen in Styrofoam trays with thin plastic wrap should either be repackaged or eaten much sooner.