Whether you buy a frozen turkey or a fresh turkey, it’s important to store it properly. Free range, heritage and organic turkeys are more widely available than ever before. When these cells thaw, moisture can escape. Just prior to the holidays, when turkey is a popular main course, you’ll most likely find plenty of sales of frozen turkey and turkey breasts, but generally not on fresh turkeys. Fresh turkey does, however, have a very short shelf-life and can be more expensive than frozen turkey. Thanksgiving Steals & Deals are here! He lets his turkey brine overnight in a mixture of salt, white onion, black peppercorn and garlic. “Always fresh turkeys,” he said, adding “Fresh turkeys will hold their moisture better than frozen. Along with water, sugar and salt, an array of spices and fresh herbs can go into a brine, including rosemary, thyme, garlic, sage, cinnamon, allspice, star anise and black pepper, Robbins said. Click here to get the latest news and information delivered to your inbox. What Tastes Better: A Fresh Or A Frozen Turkey. Please use a meat thermometer when cooking. Turkeys chilled at 0°F must be labeled “frozen.” If a turkey is stored between the 25°F – 1°F, it may or may not be labeled “previously frozen.”. Save up to 85% on gifts from small businesses. Never defrost a turkey at room temperature. Once fully thawed, frozen turkeys will still take longer to cook than fresh ones. Frozen turkeys are also more readily available. Just remember to double check your guest list before deciding on the type of bird to buy and make sure you leave enough time between the grocery store run and the cooking time to let your bird totally thaw out since that process can actually take a few days. From here you should consider how many adults versus children, whether they’re light or heavy eaters, and whether or not you want leftovers. Fresh turkeys are best if held in the refrigerator for 24 hours before final preparation. It is the hygiene standards of the processor. The rule of thumb is 1 pound of turkey per person, which factors in bones and a little extra meat for leftovers — because Turkey Day just wouldn't be the same without those awesome next-day sandwiches. Our turkey expert Charla has some great pointers for how to pick a turkey. “I do like to brine sometimes,” said Ian Robbins, executive chef for Williamsburg Winery. Natural turkeys, unlike organic ones, can contain antibiotics. In this case, our friends include experts at the National Turkey Federation, the United States Department of Agriculture and even Consumer Reports. They are also a lot pricier, costing up to $10 per pound, like this $160 for a 16-pound turkey from Heritage Foods. Whether fresh or frozen, the USDA recommends buying 1 pound of turkey for every person at dinner (includes a moderate amount for leftovers). Frozen turkeys can be purchased weeks in advance, but need several days to thaw and require adequate space in your freezer and refrigerator. You're not alone. Frozen birds, on the other hand, are generally raised in a barn with lots of other turkeys, given antibiotics to increase their weight, and, upon being killed, are flash-frozen to a temperature of about 30 degrees (F) below zero. Firstly, how many people are you serving? Not a dry slice in the whole bird. He prefers fresh, not frozen, to avoid the extra headache of finding room in the refrigerator while the turkey defrosts. This study done a few years ago was on ground turkey, but you can hopefully get the idea: https://www.consumerreports.org/media-room/press-releases/2013/04/my-entry-6/. Make Al Roker family sweet potatoes and more for Thanksgiving. Choosing a fresh or frozen turkey depends largely on preference, but also on how soon you plan on cooking your turkey. So if you're buying a conventionally raised turkey from an iconic brand like Butterball, it's likely to have been frozen at some point. But if your turkey time is going be a rather intimate occasion, buying pre-portioned pieces might be a better idea. There is a BIG difference between fresh and store bought. Brining is a prolonged soak – from 24 to 48 hours – of a thawed turkey in salty water, often with herbs and spices added. But even "fresh" birds are actually very, very chilly. If a frozen turkey melts and refreezes, formation of ice crystals in the muscles can occur, making for tough meat. These labels can be confusing and occasionally misleading. A frozen turkey can safely last up to a year, if kept in the freezer. Organic turkeys: Our feast favorite! Many different types of turkeys, including heritage and organic, can be found in this smaller size range. Counter with a light gravy. So, if you're having 10 people over, you're safe with a bird that's 10 to 12 pounds, for example. Fresh turkeys will hold their moisture better than frozen turkeys, bringing out a meaty texture with deeper natural flavors. I've tried fresh, organic turkeys; one year, I reserved a free-range bird directly from a local farm, and, of course, I've enjoyed plenty of frozen turkeys. Some types of turkeys simply aren't large enough to serve a massive crowd. 640 W Ridge Road Properly cooked, a frozen turkey isn't dry. Allow 1 day of thawing for every 4 pounds of turkey. Try it once and you’ll see. Breeding told TODAY that most companies flash freeze turkeys as soon as they're processed to ensure that the meat stays as fresh as possible. The flavour will be the same but the frozen bird will be drier. To compensate for this, many poultry producers will inject turkeys with a solution of salt, water and spices. We get a large bird (40+ lbs) for Thanksgiving. This is because freezing creates water crystals that rupture the cell membranes in the muscle tissue of the turkey. Frozen turkeys are also more readily available. Before long, the pleasant smell of roast turkey would fill the kitchen and, indeed, the entire house. The perishability of the turkey and the special handling necessary also comes into play when cost is determined. He orders his free-range turkey from Beaver Creek Farms in King George County. “That’ll give you that classic Thanksgiving flavor,” he said. Brining adds flavor to the bird and prevents drying out during cooking, but it takes advanced planning and room in the refrigerator, which can be hard to come by around Thanksgiving. The average sized turkey purchased on Thanksgiving, according to Breeding, is 15 to 16 pounds. For Ramos, what matters is whether the turkey has been given a diet with additives, such as antibiotics or steroids. This prevents bacteria from getting in and keeps your meat fresher. The first is taste. Fresh turkeys are ready to prepare. “You pay a little bit more for it,” said Ramos. A fresh turkey cooks a lot differently than a frozen one does. Ads are what helps us bring you premium content! As long as they are kept frozen, they can be stored in your home freezer indefinitely, though the longer they’re kept, the dryer they may be. Buying organic turkeys, according to a recent study conducted by Consumer Reports, may actually help prevent the spread antibiotic-resistant bacteria, largely considered to be a major food health crisis today. Call 1-800-BUTTERBALL for all your turkey tips & tricks! The difference between frozen and fresh turkeys extends to the cooking methods as well. It can be stored in your freezer and defrosted gradually in the refrigerator (about 1 day per every 5 pounds). Fresh turkeys tend to roast much more quickly than frozen, thawed ones do. The research showed that 80% of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used for livestock to keep them from getting sick. Steven Ford, owner of Butcher’s Best Market in Newtown, Connecticut, echoed Myers’ thoughts. FRESH vs. Use a meat thermometer on the thigh before the estimated time is up. "[Grocery store fridges] can be kept quite cold, as cold as 26 degrees," Magoulas said. These days, however, most people don’t kill their own turkey. With the recent emphasis on healthy foods, many people have switched to fresh. There is no quality or taste difference between Grade A or Utility grade turkeys. options that will satisfy vegetarian and vegan diners. Let us know! Some, specifically the organic type, were fed only on organically-grown foods and are most likely antibiotic-free, which is usually indicated on the package.
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