Turkey is one of the most iconic holiday meals in America. It is a popular poultry dish, especially in North America, where it is traditionally consumed as part of culturally significant events such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as in standard cuisine.
There are two types of Turkeys, the domesticated turkeys, and wild turkeys. The wild turkeys are native to wooded areas of North America, and they are not the same as the domestic turkey that we serve during holidays. Domestic turkeys weigh twice what a wild turkey does, and they are raised on farms for profit. Most of them are so heavy and are unable to fly.
- Turkeys can run at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour and fly as fast as 55 miles per hour.
- Their gender can be determined from its droppings–males produce spiral-shaped poop, and females’ poop is shaped like the letter J.Nearly 95% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving. That translates to 45 million birds!
- Turkey has more protein, ounce per ounce, than chicken or beef.
- White meat and dark meat turkey have almost the same number of calories per serving.
- A group of related male turkeys will band together to court females, though only one member of the group gets to mate.
- A 15-pound turkey has 70% white meat and 30% dark meat.
- Eating turkey does not put you to sleep.
- Benjamin Franklin originally proposed the turkey as the official bird of the United States instead of the bald eagle.
Gobbler / Tom – a male turkey
Hen – a female turkey
Poult – a chick or baby turkey
Jake – a young male turkey is called jake
Jenny – a young female turkey
Flock – a group of wild turkeys
Rafter – a group of domesticated turkeys
Turkey Buying Guide
Turkey can be purchased fresh or frozen as the whole bird, or in parts such as wings, breasts, thighs, or legs. When buying a turkey, look for the one with a well-rounded breast because it is juicier. Beware of flat spots, which can indicate thawing and refreezing. This raises the risk of food-borne illness. Also, keep in mind that frozen turkeys take a long time to thaw — one day for every five pounds. Avoid any turkeys with punctured or leaky packaging.
If most or all of the people you’re feeding prefer white meat, consider buying an extra bone-in turkey breast in addition to a regular turkey. The same goes for lovers of dark meat: Get a smaller turkey and an extra drumstick or two. Smaller turkeys tend to be more tender. Consider cooking two little birds instead of one larger one.
If you see “free-range,” “free-roaming,” or “cage-free” on the label, this means that the turkeys had access to the outdoors and could move around in a yard. They tend to be more muscular, and therefore have more flavorful and often leaner meat.
Turkey Production & Farming in Texas
Turkey farming is a profitable business idea because they grow faster like other poultries, and they are suitable for slaughter purposes within a short time. There are over 100 million turkeys that live on farms across the U.S. They are provided shelter that protects them from inclement weather, predators, and disease. Turkey farms offer clean, fresh water at all times. They are fed nutritious feed, which usually consists of corn and soybean meal mixed with vitamins and supplements.
After mating, the female turkey prepares a nest under a bush in the woods and lays her eggs. She will lay one egg each day until she has a complete clutch of about 8 to 16 eggs. The eggs are tan and speckled brown eggs. It takes about 28 days for the chicks to hatch. After hatching, the babies will flock with their mother all year. In the first two weeks, they won’t be able to fly, and the mother will roost with them on the ground.
Meat production from turkey is more viral than egg production, although some people keep a or several adult male turkey as a pet. Once the turkey has reached the target market weight — on average, 99 days for female and 136 days for males, they are thrust into crates and transported to slaughter.
The earliest turkeys evolved in North America over 20 million years ago, and they share a recent common ancestor with grouse, pheasants, and other fowl. In the 1500s, Spanish traders brought some that had been domesticated by indigenous Americans to Europe and Asia. The bird reportedly got its common name because it reached European tables through shipping routes that passed through Turkey. Later on, when English settlers came to America, they were amazed to find the same birds running wild and free, and tasting good. That is probably one of the reasons Ben Franklin wanted the turkey to serve as our national emblem—it’s a beautiful, genuinely American bird that tastes wonderful and had enormous economic value for the colonists.
The meat of turkey can be compared to chicken, but with a deeper and more distinctive flavor. One of the reasons why many people love it is because of the sheer quantity of meat that you can get from one roasting session. Leftovers can be reused in all sorts of ways like sandwiches, soups, casseroles, etc.
A fresh turkey may be stored in the refrigerator at 33°F to 40°F for 1 or 2 days before cooking. Keep the turkey in its original, and it must be leak-proof. Manufacturers usually choose packaging that keeps bacteria out, maintaining the meat’s freshness. As soon as you remove the original packaging, you expose the meat to bacteria, increasing the potential for spoilage. It is best to place turkey products in the coldest part of the refrigerator, which is usually the meat drawer or the bottom shelf.
Whole turkeys can be kept frozen for one year, parts for six months. Once the bird is thawed, treat like a fresh turkey and do not refreeze until cooked.
Cooked turkey products may be stored in a covered container, plastic bag, or aluminum foil for up to 4 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.
A turkey should be roasted at a temperature ranging from 325°F to 350°F. Higher temperatures may cause the meat to dry out, but this is preferable to temperatures that are too low, which may not allow the interior of the turkey to cook to the proper temperature. Roasting a turkey for long periods at a temperature of less than 300°F is dangerous and may cause food poisoning.
A meat thermometer should be used to determine the correct doneness. When the interior of the breast meat reaches 170°F, and the interior of the thigh reaches 180°F, the turkey is cooked correctly. When the meat is pierced with a fork, the juices will run clear. Some whole turkeys are sold with pop-up timers that indicate when the turkey is fully cooked, but a meat thermometer is still the most reliable tool for determining the proper doneness. If the turkey is done cooking before you are ready to serve it, it is safe to keep it in a 200°F oven for a short period. It is best to cover the turkey with aluminum foil during the holding period to keep it from drying out.
The meat of turkey is highly nutritious, and it is a popular protein source consumed around the world. It is also an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals, especially B vitamins. The dark meat of a turkey tends to contain more vitamins and minerals but also has more fat and calories. It may support various aspects of health, including muscle growth and maintenance, due to its rich supply of nutrients. However, it’s best to avoid processed varieties, as these are high in salt.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin B3: This vitamin is important for efficient energy production and cell communication.
Vitamin B6: This vitamin supports amino acid formation and helps produce neurotransmitters.
Vitamin B12: It is vital for DNA production and the formation of red blood cells.
Calcium: Helps in building and maintaining strong bones.
Magnesium: Its important jobs is to regulate muscle function throughout the body—and that includes the heart muscle.
Iron: It helps to preserve many vital functions in the body, including general energy and focus, gastrointestinal processes, the immune system, and the regulation of body temperature.
Selenium: It helps your body produce thyroid hormones, which regulate your metabolism and growth rate.
Zinc: It is an essential mineral needed for many different bodily processes, such as gene expression, protein synthesis, and enzyme reactions
Phosphorus: It is essential for body growth and maintenance.