How to picking out the perfect turkey for Thanksgiving

MOSCOW, ID - The meal that many of us have been waiting for all year is just a couple of days away.

And if you're cooking at home, it's time to do some serious planning.

If you haven't picked up your bird yet, there are a few things you'll need to consider. First, do a head count.

"Well, we have to ask them how many people they're going to feed, and we also ask them what sort of mix," said Moscow Co-Op Meat Manager Brennus Moody. "If they have teenagers in the mix, we suggest a larger turkey."

Generally, you need about a pound and a half per person. You will also need to decide if you want a fresh or frozen turkey. With the big meal quickly approaching, it's recommended that you buy a fresh turkey to avoid the hassle of defrosting. Also, know that frozen turkeys are injected with more additives to preserve their juiciness.

"I steer clear of those," said Moody. "Sometimes they're injected with saline, salt, MSG, I just steer clear of those."

Fresh turkeys have less additives. And if you're willing to spend a couple extra bucks, you can get a natural or organic bird that has none.

"They're just wrapped in plastic and sealed," said Moody.

And if you're feeling daring, you could skip the meat all together.

"I mean I don't want to eat the turkey," said Moscow Co-Op Grocery Manager Joan McDougall. "I think about the poor little birds running around."

Joan McDougall hasn't eaten meat in decades. But she says that trying to imitate the turkey taste isn't the way to go.

"I think if you're expecting turkey, it's not going to be the same, cause it's tofu," said McDougall.

There are plenty of vegetarian "tofurkey" recipes online and pre-made options in the supermarket. But if you're vegging out this Thanksgiving, you may want to try an entirely different main course.

"I make a loaf with nuts in it, it doesn't taste at all like turkey," said McDougall. "But it's really nice, and it's special and it's kind of festive. And it's just as good to me."

Whether you choose meat, or go cruelty free, everyone can reunite over dessert.

"And I'm making a pumpkin pie," said McDougall.

If you have already purchased a frozen turkey, keep in mind that it will take two to three days to thaw it in your refrigerator, depending on its size. You should never thaw the bird on your counter, but you can thaw it in a sink filled with cold water, and never re-freeze a turkey after its thawed.