Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Knowing Your Turkey

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What do those terms on the turkey label really mean? Here's a glossary of the most common classifications.
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Free-range A turkey with access to the outside. But don't be fooled—the fact that it has access doesn't mean a bird will take advantage of it.
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Fresh Technically, a turkey that's never been kept below 26°F. Many Thanksgiving birds are processed in September and October but are still labeled fresh in November, which means they've been kept just above 26 degrees for months.
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Frozen A bird that's stored at or below 0°F.
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Hard-Chilled, or Not Previously Frozen A turkey that's been held between 26°F and 0°F. Hen/Tom A hen is a female turkey, and a tom is a male. You'd be hard-pressed to detect a difference in the taste of a turkey based on its gender. Where the bird's gender does matter, though, is in determining what size turkey you should buy. With hens, which run in size from about 8 to 16 pounds, buy a pound of turkey per person. But for toms, which start at 17 pounds, calculate about 3/4 pound per person, as there's a greater meat-to-bone ratio.
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Organic A turkey that has been certified by a USDA-accredited agency. The term organic ensures that the bird was raised on organic feed, was free-range, and wasn't treated with any antibiotics. We are lucky that Willie Bird Turkey Farm is just a few miles from up the road, and we have already placed an order for our turkey. If you get a chance check out the above video link (Willie Bird Turkey Farm) then go to youtube, and look at a standard "turkey farm". You might think twice about what kind you buy this year.
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Kosher A bird that's been processed by hand, following kosher laws, under rabbinical supervision. The turkey is soaked in water for half an hour, then packed in kosher salt and placed on an incline for about an hour to allow the blood to drain. After that, the bird is rinsed three times. A kosher bird is an acquired taste. It can seem salty.
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Natural A bird that contains no artificial ingredients or added color and is minimally processed. This doesn't mean it hasn't been treated with antibiotics.
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Pasture-Raised A turkey reared in the pasture full-time and allowed to forage for its own food. There's no USDA standard or certification for pasture-raised meat.
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2 comments:

Stacey said...

great tips... the girls and I just ordered our organic turkey. I love Thanksgiving...

Love

Sta

m e g said...

Good grief Sabina - how do you know all that! I'm opting out of any fowl this year - still getting over the boiled chicken trauma (you'd have to read about that on my blog)................ LOL :)

Meg :)

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