Turkey, in case you are not familiar, is a large bird which is native to the Americas. It belongs to the Genus Meleagris species. Contrary to popular misconceptions, turkey is more than just a huge chickens, in fact they are separated by 45 million years of evolution.
There are 6 subspecies of wild turkey, all of which are native to North America. Probably the most famous consumers of turkey are the Pilgrims which specifically hunted and ate the M. gallopavo silvestris specie of turkey or forest turkey as they were more popularly known.
Male turkeys are called “gobblers” not because they ate too much but because of their courting calls to female turkeys which are called “hens”. Male turkeys weigh more, averaging at about 16-22 pounds while the female hens are smaller with weighs ranging from 8 -12 pounds.
Turkey meat are sold ground, sliced, in pieces, or whole. You may be wondering, why turkey eggs are not sold commercially? Well, turkey hens have low egg production which needs to cope with the high demand for turkey meat. So every egg is valuable, approximately $3.50 each, which is equivalent to about 1 dozen chicken eggs.
Sliced turkey, like turkey hams or turkey bacons, are used for sandwiches and salads. Sausages made of turkey meat is also being sold in some supermarkets. Whole turkey is also sold and are especially popular during Thanksgiving.
Turkey and Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving began way back in the 1500’s and is marked as a day of giving thanks and sacrifice for the blessing of the represented by the current year’s harvest and also of the bountiful harvest the previous year. This is a national holiday, lasting for various days, in the United States, Canada, some Caribbean islands, and Liberia. Some parts of Germany and Japan also have similarly named holidays.
For people not residing in these countries, we recognize this holiday for the really good deals on Amazon. For which, thanks is also given by online shoppers.
Turkey and You: A Match made in Health-ven
Turkey meat is high in protein and very nutritious. According to HealthLine.com, here’s a rundown of the good stuff we get from gobbling up turkey:
Rich in protein
Protein promotes muscle growth and maintenance which our body needs for all types of physical activities. They also support the structure of cells in our body and aids in the distribution of nutrients in our body. It also supports weight loss because it makes you feel full longer.
Good source of vitamins
Turkey meat is high in all the important B vitamins: B3, B6, and B12. Every 84 grams of pure turkey meat gives our body a big chunk of the daily recommended value of these B vitamins. It also has small amounts of B1 (thiamine) and B2 (riboflavin). This means that turkey meat:
- Promotes the efficient production of energy and communication among our body’s cells.
- Supports formation of amino acids and in the production of neurotransmitters.
- Facilitates formation of red blood cells and production of DNA.
Loaded with minerals
It is also a good source selenium, zinc, and phosphorous. It also has small amounts of potassium and magnesium. These help you:
- Regulate metabolism and growth rate. It also facilitates the production of thyroid hormones.
- Facilitate gene expression, protein synthesis, and enzyme reactions our body needs.
- Promote bone health.
To get these benefits, we suggest you consume more fresh turkey meat rather than processed ones which have high sodium content.
Roast Turkey: Cook and Gobble it up
Knowing how healthy turkey is as a meat source, let’s see how we can prepare them at home so we get to enjoy the savory and healthy benefits it offers.
The most special and grandest turkey dish is probably Roast Turkey. Although it is primarily served for Thanksgiving, it can also be prepared for special occasions or family gatherings. It makes for a very nice centerpiece to your dinner spread too!
There are 4 steps for in roasting a turkey: Defrost, Dress Up, Stuff It, Bake it and prepare the sauce.
Defrosting your Turkey Buddy
The first thing you need to do before anything else is prepare your turkey to be dressed and stuffed.
Do not thaw your turkey at room temperature. Since it takes time for it to completely defrost, it’ll also give bacteria enough time to form.
Dress It Up With Flavor
Now that your bird is thawed, you can focus on adding the flavor. Try this Roast Turkey recipe from CafeDelites.com. Remember to save the turkey drippings, you’re going to need it for the gravy.
Stuff It with love
Thanksgiving turkey will not be complete without the yummy stuffing. Try any of these stuffing recipes on the side of your bird, on stuffed inside it. The choice is all yours!
- Simple Turkey Stuffing from Epicurious.com
- Classic Turkey Stuffing from Averiecooks.com.
- Sausage and Herb Stuffing from CafeDelites.com
Bake it and Prepare the Sauce
Bake your turkey according to the recipe from AverieCooks.com. As with any roasted meat dish, a staple on the table is gravy. Here are some recipes you can try:
Classic Turkey Gravy Recipe from FoodNetwork.com
Best Turkey Gravy from DamnDelicious.Net
Reinventing Left-over Turkey
Turkeys are huge and it’s inevitable that you’ll have left-overs after your lunch or dinner. You can turn them into salads, a sandwich, meat for your stir fry or fried rice, and maybe a good substitute for the beef in your chili.
Here are some ways you can reinvent your left-over turkey from BBCGoodFood.com and TheGirlonBloor.com
Turkey: No ordinary bird
The turkey was so revered that Benjamin Franklin called it a more respectable bird that the bald eagle. I think he was probably referring to what turkey symbolizes -thanksgiving and gratitude for blessings given. So, that coupled with its health benefits and taste, it truly is no ordinary bird.