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A Guide to Thanksgiving Turkey Labeling

Thanksgiving is fast approaching! Sure a lot of you are already preparing your recipe ingredients as early as now to avoid the rush! It has been a tradition in every household to put a Turkey on the table on Thanksgiving day. The feast won’t be complete without having the famous Turkey dish, but some of you are still unsure how to identify or how to choose the best Turkey! Some are confused with the Turkey labeling such as Fresh, Frozen, Organic, or Natural. Well, we’re here to help make your Turkey shopping a breeze. Here’s a handy guide to some of the definitions you ought to get familiar with when purchasing your next Turkey.

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FRESH – It means that a turkey has not been chilled below 26 degrees.

FROZEN – This means that the turkey has been chilled to 0 degrees.

FREE-RANGE – This is a legal definition that requires that the birds be raised having access to the outdoors. They don’t necessarily need to have access to pasture or grass, just the outdoors, which can mean dirt or gravel.

Other types of Turkey are the following:

HARD- OR DEEP- CHILLED – An intermediate step that means the turkey has been chilled to between 0 to 26 degrees.

HEN – This is a female bird and they usually come in at less than 16 pounds.

HERITAGE – This means anything but the standard turkey breed which is the Broad-Breasted White. Heritage birds tend to be leaner, with less meat which means they won’t feed as many people and will dry out if not cooked carefully.

KOSHER – These are the turkeys that have been slaughtered and cleaned in accordance with the kosher law. It requires salting for only one hour before rinsing. This is different from brining which requires salting for several days.

NATURAL – Basically no added ingredients and only minimal processing – no injecting flavors or brining.

ORGANIC – Raised without hormones and steroids and have been processed without preservatives. Have been fed only organic feed and have ready access to outdoors.

PASTURED – This is a new, nonregulated definition that is kind of like free-range-plus, as the birds have had access to grass.

SELF-BASTING – The familiar supermarket turkeys that have been injected with flavor solution or brine to keep them from drying out.

TOM – This is a male turkey, which usually means it weighs more than 18 pounds.

And that’s how Turkeys are being labeled! Now you can properly differentiate the types of turkey with their corresponding labels. I hope this will clear things out for you. Don’t forget to share this with friends so they can learn a thing or 2 this Thanksgiving.

We are thankful for the friendship we’ve built in our community, cheers for more years! We are that thankful, how about you? What are you thankful for?

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