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You may not have noticed, but turkeys traditionally being sold in supermarkets today are made of white meat primarily. Over the years, these birds have been bred (and injected with antibiotics) the main reason to develop them faster, and have more of the lighter meat a lot of people have come to enjoy.
Heritage turkeys are greatly becoming a chosen alternative to the chemically bred turkeys filling up store shelves. The term heritage incorporates many different turkey breeds, including Black, Bourbon Red, Royal Palm, Slate and many more. These breeds can trace their roots back hundreds of years, and are raised as closely to wild turkeys as possible.
Clear of chemicals and antibiotics, these birds look and taste in a different way from modern store-bought turkeys, and more often have a white to dark meat ratio closer to 50/50, a significant increase to common, predominately white options. With the reduction in chemicals and increase in dark meat also brings you a surge in price. While you may typically find a supermarket turkey costing about $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 individual, this may result a very costly dinner. If you can afford the price jump, then consider heritage turkey cause it can be ideal for you.
If you like dark meat, and enjoy the taste of other wild, game-y tasting birds, the heritage turkey is perfect 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 it doesn’t mean it was never frozen at all. Turkeys can be branded as fresh if they’ve never been chilled below 26 degrees Farrenheit.
To note, because fresh turkeys can still be retained at very low temperature ranges, they may have just been kept at farms or markets for weeks, at times months, before being sold. Usually ask when your turkey was butchered to ensure the freshest possible bird.
Frozen Turkeys: A turkey will be marked as frozen if it has been kept below zero degrees F. Frozen turkeys are mostly the least difficult, most economical option found at many supermarkets, though they often lose some of the bird’s natural juices, and can be tougher to chew.
Not Previously Frozen Turkeys: This term may easily cause confusion, and means that the turkey was kept below 26 degrees F, so it won’t be called “fresh”, but above 0 degrees F, so it does indeed not need 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 then prepared according to kosher regulations, with a salt brine soak. This kind of soak gives kosher turkeys a distinctive flavor, and increases the bird’s overall weight, which might increase price.
Natural Turkeys: Surprisingly, this label doesn’t refer on how the turkey grew up. Natural turkeys are merely left unseasoned, basted or coloured before they are sold. Be sure to remember that before paying extra for a turkey with this kind of label.
Organic Turkeys: These birds are raised with specifically designated feed, and without the added chemicals. While many consumers prefer the idea of an organic turkey, this label will not necessarily affect the taste or texture of the turkey.
Free Range Turkeys: This kind is often a deceptive term, as free range does not always suggest the turkey was raised outdoors or even allowed most of its time outdoors. A farmer may label its turkeys ‘free range’ as long as the birds were allowed several minutes per day of outdoor time – a standard that barely affects taste or quality.