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You may not have noticed, but turkeys traditionally sold in stores these days are made of primarily white meat. Over the years, turkeys have been bred (and injected with antibiotics) specifically to develop them faster, and contain more of the lighter meat many individuals have come to love.
Heritage turkeys are greatly becoming a popular alternative to the chemically altered turkeys filling store shelves. The term heritage incorporates various turkey breeds, including Black, Bourbon Red, Royal Palm, Slate and more. These breeds can trace their ancestral roots back 100+ of years, and are raised as closely to wild turkeys as possible.
Clear of chemicals and antibiotics, these animals appear and taste in a different way when compared to modern store-bought turkeys, and more often have a white to dark meat with ratio closer to 50/50, a substantial increase to common, predominately white options. With the decrease in chemicals and increase in dark meat also comes a climb in price. While you may get a supermarket turkey for around $1 per pound, heritage turkeys may cost you up to $7 per single pound.
Considering you should buy one to one and a half pounds of turkey per person, this can make a very costly dinner. If you can afford the price leap, then get heritage turkey cause it can be right for you.
In the event that you like dark meat, and like the taste of other wild, game-y tasting birds, the heritage turkey is exquisite for you.
The Various Kinds Of Turkeys You Should Know Of
Fresh Turkeys: By definition, a fresh turkey has not been frozen below a specific temperature, but that does not mean it was never frozen at all. Turkeys can be labeled as fresh if they’ve never been cooled below 26 degrees Farrenheit.
Note, because fresh turkeys may still be stored at very low temps, they may have recently been stored at farms or storages for weeks, at times months, before being sold. Usually ask when your turkey was butchered to ensure the freshest possible turkey.
Frozen Turkeys: A turkey will be labelled as frozen if it has been kept below zero degrees F. Frozen turkeys are mostly the easiest, most economical option got at many supermarkets, though they may lose some of the bird’s natural juices, and can be harder to chew.
Not Previously Frozen Turkeys: This term can certainly cause confusion, and means that the turkey was chilled below 26 degrees F, so it won’t be referred to as “fresh”, but above 0 degrees F, so it does not have to be labelled “frozen”.
Kosher Turkeys: Kosher turkeys are raised on grain, and are not given chemical stimulants. Allowed to graze freely, these turkeys are kept, killed and prepared according to kosher principals, with a salt brine soak. This kind of soak gives kosher turkeys a distinctive flavor, and increases the bird’s overall weight, that might increase price.
Natural Turkeys: Surprisingly, this label doesn’t refer on how the turkey grew up. Natural turkeys are merely kept unseasoned, basted or coloured before they are sold. Make sure to remember that before paying extra for a turkey with this kind of label.
Organic Turkeys: These birds are kept with specifically designated feed, and without the added chemicals. Whilst many consumers prefer the idea of an organic and natural turkey, this label does not necessarily affect the flavor or texture of the bird.
Free Range Turkeys: This kind is often a deceptive term, as free range does not always imply the turkey was kept outdoors or even allowed most of its time outdoors. A farmer can label its turkeys ‘free range’ so long as the birds were allowed a few minutes per day of outdoor time – a standard that barely affects taste or quality.