If you’re having turkey this Thanksgiving, it’s likely one of your most important purchases. Usually, the turkey is the center of attention on a Thanksgiving dinner table, so getting the right one is important. Here are eight tips to help you.
- Buy Early Rather Than Later
This is mostly true if you are going to avoid the big box stores and instead shoot for buying a turkey locally from a farmer. You should call them as soon as you can to find out the process, as they may need to know in advance that you will be making the purchase. You may even be able to pay in advance. Also, if you buy frozen, it needs a day for every five pounds to thaw out.
- Read the Label
When you shop, always read labels to find out if they put any additives in the turkey. The words “all natural” don’t really mean much other than if they did put any additives, they consider them natural.
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- Check Out the Company
If you’re buying from a well-known company, be sure to check them out so that you know what their real farming practices are. Some people will simply lie, so you want to find out from others what’s true or not true. If you can go there to see for yourself, do that.
- Avoid Factory Farms
The problem with factory farms is that they go as close as they can to breaking the rules in order to be able to label their turkeys organic or free range, when they really aren’t at all other than in the “legal” sense.
- Get Organic
According to consumer reports, people should always buy organic turkeys that carry the USDA organic seal because these turkeys are not given prophylactic antibiotics. This drug is causing issues with antibiotic resistance in humans, which is very bad with the growth of the flesh-eating MRSA virus.
- Find Free Range
A real free-range turkey is kept in mostly natural conditions and can move about freely at least part of the day. Keep in mind that factory farms may say they are free range when they are just scraping by. Find a local farm through Localharvest.org where you can buy your own organic free-range turkey.
- Buy Direct When You Can
Not everyone has the option to find a local farm, but if you do, this is your very best option. The main reason is that these people are part of your community and if they have a small working farm, your purchase keeps them right where they are. Plus, it’s going to taste better and have a smaller environmental impact.
- Get the Right Size
Check your oven size first, but you’ll want to buy enough turkey so that everyone can have at least one serving. The guide is to buy a turkey that is the size and weight that accounts for 1.5 lbs. per person. So, if you are having six guests, you need a nine-pound turkey.
If you need a lot more than that, you’ll want to consider buying two smaller ones to ensure better flavor as the bigger the turkey, the drier it will be. Always avoid the huge “mega” turkeys as they were likely given a lot of hormones to grow like that.
Buying the turkey with lots of thought and consideration for how it’s grown, how it’s cared for, and what it’s going to taste like when it’s on your table, are all very important considerations for having a sustainable holiday.