Every great recipes start with great ingredients. Selecting for a perfect turkey for Christmas dinner usually sounds a bit daunting when you are facing a rack full of wide range of turkeys. Versions of how to select turkey are all around for example one should think about what kind of turkey you actually want (Frozen or fresh)? What is your budget? How many people you will be serving? Are there children included? How big your guest’s stomach? Plan on having leftovers? With which should go first remains your choice but I can assure you all of them play a big part in determining a successful Christmas dinner. For the size, Jamie Oliver suggested: “In my books, the perfect bird is 6.5kg-8kg in weight because that’s a good size to handle, feeds about 10 to 14 people and has better flavour than bigger birds.”
After deciding the size and the portion, you are about to face the biggest dilemma – Fresh or Frozen? Fresh turkeys need no thawing and are ready to cook whereas frozen turkeys can be purchased weeks in advance but require several days of thawing before roasting. Most people may have assumed that frozen meat equivalent to stale, but here is a surprising fact – the freshest turkey is the frozen one. According to American butcher John Smith, in old days the birds were harvest three weeks earlier with them ended up in a fine shape. All the frozen turkeys are quick frozen right after butchering. Also there is no noticeable effect upon the quality of the bird in the freezing process. You may see ice scattered on the birds because the turkey processors chill them below 30°F before sending them off to the store up to two weeks before to keep them fresh, but they aren’t frozen, you should find out the meat inside the iced is still soft when you press the turkey much firmly. In this way, frozen turkey should be a good staple for your Christmas dinner regarding the length they last as well as the quality, letting alone the price is lower than fresh turkey. Whether you want an frozen one or fresh one is a personal preference but if you prefer fresh turkey, a piece of advice is to try picking it up as closed to Christmas as possible. Storing a fresh turkey in your freezer may cause rapid deterioration since domestic freezers don’t have the same cooling system.
Besides, please be advised to choose the turkey with labels with words like Free-Range/Organic/ heritage on it. Generally speaking, free Range birds are ones that have the option of accessing outdoors to take some stretches instead of spending its entire life in a cage. Organic turkeys are reared by organic feed and without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides, and have never been injected with hormones or antibiotics in their whole life. They are raised in a natural way at its best. The abandoned use of chemical that create resistant “superbugs” in human body, guarantees the eaters health relatively. Additionally the access to outdoors encouraged exercise with encouraging muscle growth and fat reducing, it is beneficial to the eater’s heart, registered dietician Nancy Goodwin of the American Dietetic Association says.
With the entire Christmas commodity in the market, which one is the best among them? British Turkey Awards gave us an answer on 27th September. Sticking out with the delicate package and high food quality, Jamie Oliver’s “My tastiest turkey box” won the Best Christmas Convenience Product praise whilst ASDA swept the Best Christmas Traditional Product praise away with its basted whole turkey. Jimmy’s farm Turkey has the honor for the Best Christmas Premium Product.
Everybody would drool over pictures of a brown roast turkey with a peel of grease glinting on, but the crucial part to make it real start from the choice of raw material. Take a wander at ASDA then you may get some inspiration for your Christmas dinner!
By Jennifer Chan