Food Facts

Cook With Turkey: Nutrition, Tips & Silly Food Facts

Get ready for a vocabulary quiz: what is the name for a male turkey? a baby turkey? a group of turkeys? a nest of turkey eggs? Answers: a tom, a poult, a rafter, and a clutch. If you didn’t do so well, I bet you absolutely know the holiday when 90 percent of us eat turkey. Every year in the U.S., 45 million turkeys are eaten on Thanksgiving Day.

Turkey is a great source of low-fat protein, which keep our body’s cells healthy. A serving of turkey also supplies nearly half of our daily requirement of selenium, a compound that helps the thyroid gland function properly and can also aid the immune system. To keep the calories and fat content of turkey low, eat white meat without skin. Skinless turkey breast has just 30% of the fat of thigh meat with skin.

Is a fresh turkey better than a frozen one? Despite what you hear, no significant quality difference exists between fresh and frozen. The choice is really based on timing. If you plan ahead, a frozen turkey is remarkably inexpensive but requires one day of thawing for each 5 pounds of turkey. If you are rushing to the store on Thanksgiving eve, pick a fresh turkey. Besides fresh or frozen, you may encounter labels marked organic, natural, or kosher.

Slightly confused at what those turkey labels mean?  Learn how to Read Turkey Labels

Does eating turkey make you sleepy? Turkey does contain tryptophan, an amino acid that may increase sleepiness, but the amount in a serving of turkey is small (cheddar cheese has more).  Instead, it’s all those calories and carbs from a Thanksgiving meal that prompt a nap. When carving a turkey, you may wonder about the pinkish meat near the bone—is it safe? Meat can turn rosy due to the turkey’s feed supply; also, smoking or grilling a turkey can cause pigments to leach out of the bones. In either case, as long as the meat is cooked (165°), it is safe to eat.

Learn how to carve a turkey by watching this Turkey Carving 101 video

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