Fresh or Frozen?
Have you thought about spending a little more this year and getting a fresh turkey instead of shopping for the best deal you can and getting a frozen turkey. If you are like me, you shop the bargains, and read every flier and get on google and search every supermarket ad until you find the best price and then go to that store. It is like a challenge for my self! This year I will find a turkey for free!
But, I was thinking, maybe it would be worth the extra money to have a fresh turkey? After all, Thanksgiving is only once a year. I cook everything from scratch and save a lot of money, so maybe I should think about going the extra mile and cost for a fresh bird. I started to do a little research and this is what I discovered.
It is complicated! First, I discovered that virtually every frozen turkey has some kind of liquid injected into the meat around the breast to keep the breast meet moist. This liquid is broth, butter, stock or water, spices or a combination or these ingredients. Maybe I have been naive, but I really didn’t know this.
I have been buying a frozen turkey for years and happily cooking it with no clue that it had been altered for flavor to plump up the tissues. The FDA does restrict this practice up to 8% of the weight of the bird, but still, I was surprised.
Fresh Turkeys… Free Range, Heritage, Pastured, Organic, Kosher, Antibiotic free?
If you are looking for a fresh bird, you will need to choose between a fresh bird, a free range bird, a heritage bird or a pastured bird or an organic bird. Who knew? Most importantly however, is that the price for the bird will go up based on the decisions you make. For example, at my local Dallas Whole Foods where you can order a fresh turkey, the basic fresh turkeys start at $2.69 per lb. If you would like a Heritage Bird you will pay $4.99 per lb.
This is compared to the frozen turkey prices at my local stored right now of $.99 per lb. This is a significant difference. I am only feeding a small group this year and will buy a 14-16 lb turkey. So for a basic fresh turkey, I am looking at around $35.00 in comparison to a frozen bird at $15.00.
If you want one of these special turkey’s you have to order them in advance from your local grocer or specialty store and then pick them up on Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
The question is, will the flavor of the bird be worth the extra $20? I have been assured that the flavor of a fresh bird is richer and better than a frozen turkey. Heritage birds have larger legs and thighs but smaller breasts and a stronger gamier flavor. You control, with a brine or flavored butters under the skin, how the bird will be seasoned, rather than the distributor controlling the flavor with additives.
Hope this helps you make a decision about buying your Thanksgiving Turkey.