Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Heritage Turkeys

More turkeys in the news. We've gone from terrorist turkeys in Massachusetts to a NY Times piece on an effort in Kansas to preserve traditional breeds of domesticated turkeys. Here's a little something from the article about what most of us will be putting on our table in a couple of weeks:

"Virtually all of turkeys raised in the United States come from one basic line, a broad-breasted White that George Nicholas developed in California in the 1950s. By the 1960s, he had perfected a breed that produced meat so efficiently that it became the industry standard.

The problem is, the birds can’t fly or reproduce without the help of artificial insemination, and their bland meat has produced a nation of diners for whom dry, overcooked Thanksgiving turkey is an annual disappointment."


margory said...

Wild turkeys abound in my part of the world and where my hounds run, a flock has been growing for the last few weeks - wild ones. (Hounds have no interest whatsoever!)

A Heritage bird will be on my table this year.

Aaron said...

I raised a bunch of heritage turkeys for the freezer last year. They are indeed much more flavorful than the industrial birds, but (since they are much leaner), it's hard to keep them from drying out too much. It's worth the effort, though--they are MUCH better than a butterball.

Peregrina said...

Re: how to avoid dry and overcooked - when leaving the turkey out of the refrigerator to rest for an hour before putting it in the oven, turn the turkey upside down on the roasting rack so that the breast rests on sandwich bags filled with ice cubes. The breast, now colder than the drumsticks, will then cook more slowly and still be moist when the dark meat is done.