Both fresh and frozen turkeys are used for cooking; as with most foods, fresh turkeys are generally preferred, although they cost more. Around holiday seasons, high demand for fresh turkeys often makes them difficult to purchase without ordering in advance.
For the frozen variety, the large size of the turkeys typically used for consumption makes defrosting them a major endeavor: a typically-sized turkey will take several days to properly defrost.
Turkeys are usually baked or roasted in an oven for several hours, often while the cook prepares the remainder of the meal. Sometimes, a turkey is brined before roasting to enhance flavor and moisture content. This is necessary because the dark meat requires a higher temperature to denature all of the myoglobin pigment than the white meat(very low in myoglobin), so that fully cooking the dark meat tends to dry out the breast.
Brining makes it possible to fully cook the dark meat without drying the breast meat. Turkeys are sometimes decorated with turkey frills prior to serving.
In some areas, particularly the American South, they may also be deep fried in hot oil (often peanut oil) for 30 to 45 minutes by using a turkey fryer. Deep frying turkey has become something of a fad, with hazardous consequences for those unprepared to safely handle the large quantities of hot oil required.
The white meat of turkey is generally considered healthier than dark meat because of its lower fat content, but the nutritional differences are small.
And although turkey is reputed to cause sleepiness, holiday dinners are commonly large meals served with carbohydrates, fats, and alcohol in a relaxed a
tmosphere, all of which are bigger contributors to post-meal sleepiness than the tryptophan in turkey.
When eaten at Christmas, turkey is traditionally served with winter vegetables including roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts and parsnips.
Especially during holiday seasons, stuffing, also known as dressing, is traditionally served with turkey. There are many varieties: oatmeal, chestnut, sage and onion (flavored bread), cornbread, and sausage are the most traditional. Stuffing may either be used to stuff the turkey (as the name implies), or may be cooked separately and served as a side dish.
For Thanksgiving in the United States and Canada, turkey is typically served stuffed or with dressing (on the side), with cranberry sauce and gravy. Common complementary dishes include mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, squash, and sweet potatoes. Pie is the usual dessert, pumpkin being most traditional, apple or pecan also being popular.
Turkey is sometimes used as a substitute for other meats for foods like turkey bacon and turkey hot dogs.
Turkeys are traditionally eaten as a main course of Christmas in much of the world (turkey), and Thanksgiving in the U.S. and Canada, but this tradition has its origins in modern times rather than colonial, as is often assumed.
Before the 20th century, pork ribs were the most common food on vacation, the animals were usually slaughtered in November. Turkeys were once so abundant in nature that they have eaten all year, the food considered commonplace, whereas pork ribs are rarely available outside the season of the year through New.
It has also displaced, to some extent, the traditional Christmas roast goose or beef from the United Kingdom and Europe. While Turkey was once limited primarily to eat on special occasions like these, Turkey is now consumed throughout the year and form an integral part of many diets.
Turkeys are sold sliced and ground, and “everything” in a similar way with the chicken heads, feet, and feathers removed. Frozen whole turkeys remain popular. sliced turkey is often used as a sandwich or the meat was cooked meats and in some cases where chicken recipes call for it can be used as a substitute. Ground turkey is sold as ground beef, and it is often marketed as a substitute for beef in good health.
Without careful preparation, cooked turkey is generally considered to find less humid than poultry, other meats like chicken or duck. The remains of roast turkey are generally served deli the day after Christmas.
Wild turkeys, while technically the same species as domesticated turkeys, have a very different taste from farm-raised turkeys. Almost all of the meat is “dark” (even the breast) with a more intense flavor.