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Ultimate Guide To Christmas Turkey 2021, From How To Pick The Best Quality Bird To Cooking Tips Wine News

For many of us, Christmas dinner is a classic affair, featuring a much-anticipated turkey as the centerpiece of the table. But there is so much preparation that goes into the main event of many of our meals.

So we know there will be a turkey – but with so many different varieties, which party bird will you choose for your dinner?

Interestingly enough, turkey isn’t a lot of people’s first choice of meat – a standard bog bird, probably a broad-breasted white, the kind preferred only by large-scale turkey farmers and supermarkets. Extremely fast growing, it offers great value and a smooth (some say bland) flavor with a very high ratio of popular breast meat to the leg.

However, while turkey isn’t our everyday meat choice, shoppers haven’t stopped trashing shelves and stocking their freezers this year – so they don’t get caught off guard at Christmas dinner. .

If you haven’t bought your turkey yet, read everything you need to know when picking your bird for the big day, plus tips on how to cook it, below.

How to choose your breed of turkey

The Rare Breeds Survival Trust, in collaboration with Professor Philippe Wilson and Professor Emily Burton, from the Poultry Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University, conducted a research project in 2020, to compare the quality of meat and the leg health of rare breeds of turkey, starting with Norfolk Black. , against commercial white turkeys.

The aim was to encourage more farmers to stockpile rare breeds, and not just because they are delicious, although the team continued to study flavor with tastings and protein studies until 2021. Making these breeds commercially viable means they will be more widely cultivated, protecting dwindling stocks.

This is important for genetic makeup and the future of agriculture, says Professor Wilson, who sits on Defra’s farm animal genetic resources committee. “The genetic makeup of these native breeds is unique and allows them to adapt.”

Commercial breeds, says the professor, are bred to “get the best productivity out of them, but that always comes at a cost, namely the animal’s resilience to change.”

Wait, what’s all the talk about the natives? Turkey is not from us, it is from the Americas. Indeed, there is an oft-told story that the turkey almost became the national symbol of the United States, as Benjamin Franklin considered them “more respectable” than the eagle, which the president considered “of bad character.” .

But, explains Wilson, “Defra defines ‘native’ as a population that has been high in this country for over 40 years, and many turkeys were imported in the 1700s and 1800s, and ended up producing the breeds we now call native. , such as like Norfolk Black.

According to Hannah Moss, a turkey farmer from Berkshire, the term ‘native’ is preferable, ‘because’ heritage ‘and’ tradition ‘have been overused. A key difference between native breeds – as I’ll call them now – and commercial white turkeys is the time they take to grow, she explains. “My turkeys hatch in April and are slaughtered in December, at 28 weeks. Most supermarket birds are between 16 and 18 weeks old – some may even be 14 weeks old. “

It has an impact on the way they cook, says Moss. “The time they have is spent gaining meat weight rather than developing their bones. You end up with a smaller frame turkey massively covered in meat and a smaller cavity.

When you buy a native breed bird, it has a huge cavity, with a less heavy meat cover, although it should still be plentiful. Once in the oven, the space allows hot air to enter and cook poultry faster, both inside and out.

It depends on whether the bird is cooked empty – not so much that a lemon should fit inside, Moss says. “The rule is never to stuff.” Never film either, as the wrapping will prevent the skin from getting crisp. Less is more – which sounds like a great plan this Christmas.

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This notice was published: 2021-12-13 12:22:28

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