I just ordered my Thanksgiving turkey, which I like to get done early, as it truly is the star of Thanksgiving dinner. When planning your holiday menu purchasing a turkey is the first thing to consider. Should you buy fresh or frozen? Below is a breakdown of turkey buying options.
Purchasing a fresh turkey is my first choice by far. Fresh turkeys often need to be ordered in advance because not all markets carry them. They tend to be more expensive than frozen turkeys because they have a short shelf life. Because they should only be kept in your refrigerator for about 2 days before roasting, you will need to plan carefully.
Many chefs and home cooks like buying kosher turkeys. Making a turkey kosher involves soaking it in a salt brine. Kosher turkeys give you the flavor, tenderness, and juiciness of brining without requiring the time it takes to brine in your own kitchen. If you use a kosher turkey, be sure to omit any salt that may be in the recipe or it will taste way too salty.
Free range means that the turkey has been raised in a facility that allows the birds to have access to the outdoors and a yard to walk around in. Free-Range turkeys can be either fresh or frozen. This does not, however, imply organic.
For poultry to be labeled organic, it must be fed organic grains its entire life, never receive antibiotics or hormones (no poultry is allowed to receive hormones in the United States) and must have access to the outdoors. Like free-range turkeys, they can be purchased either fresh or frozen.
Prebasting is a process that adds moisture to a turkey in the form of broth and flavorings under the skin. Turkey experts agree that there is no need to baste a turkey, whether it is prebasted or not. The liquid you pour over a cooking turkey doesn’t actually make the turkey juicier, and opening the oven door to baste just means that the turkey will take longer to cook due to losing heat every time the oven door is opened.
"Work With What You Got!"
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen