With Thanksgiving coming up in just a couple of days, grocery stores are stocked up right now. The number of choices we have when it comes to turkeys can be a bit daunting, and so can the variety of methods for cooking them. So we at Glocally went in search of answers to a common questions. Which taste better Frozen or Fresh Turkey? The culinary institute assisted us conduct a small taste test by cooking up a section of a frozen turkey and a fresh one, so that we could offer shoppers a sample of each and see if they could taste the difference.
First off, turkeys come in lots of different sizes, and with many different labels. And there’s a huge price range. A fresh bird, for instance, can cost you almost twice as much as a frozen one. “For some people it’s like, Is the turkey organic? Or is it antibiotic free? Some people just want to know if the turkey is local, or whether or not it is humanely raised. “The good thing is there is something for everyone.” The choice for fresh or frozen often comes down to how far in advance you want to buy your turkey. Frozen has its advantages. “The advantage is that you can buy it early, so avoid the crowds, “But the advantage of the fresh turkey is that you don’t have to thaw it, because thawing a turkey takes a lot longer than most people think.” How long you ask? Twenty-four hours for each 5 pounds of weight. And many people, are able to detect a difference in taste between a fresh and a frozen turkey.
For me its just the same as choosing to go to a local farmers market and purchase fresh produce, you touch and feel the product before purchase. Other consideration in selecting a bird, could be where it was raised. Was it raised in barns but, before they wound up in your supermarket’s refrigerator, they were allowed to roam free in an area where they could take advantage of a variety of natural foods like grass and flowers, not just feed corn. Some, specifically the organic type, were fed only on organically-grown foods and are most likely antibiotic-free, which is usually indicated on the package. (Antibiotics are used to make the animals plump.) These turkeys are killed, processed, chilled to around 26 degrees F, and then sold quickly to ensure freshness. Frozen birds, on the other hand, are generally raised in a barn with lots of other turkeys, given antibiotics to increase their weight, and, upon being killed, are flash-frozen to a temperature of about 30 degrees (F) below zero. As long as they are kept frozen, they can be stored in your home freezer indefinitely, though the longer they’re kept, the dryer they may be. Taste – Fresh vs. Frozen Turkeys Most chefs and cooking experts will tell you that neither type of bird is better than the other, though environmentalists will usually opt in favor of the fresh turkey. The choice usually comes down to a few important issues. The first is taste. These days, especially if you’re under 40-50 years old, you’re probably accustomed to the sweet taste of a frozen turkey.
Chances are that when you sink your teeth into your first fresh bird, you’ll notice a definite difference, usually caused by the fresh turkey’s natural diet. Most describe the taste as more “gamey” than that of the frozen turkey. The texture tends to be a bit different as well. Cost Fresh turkeys, especially organically-fed birds, cost more than frozen turkeys. Organic food is expensive so the price is passed on to the consumer. The perishability of the turkey and the special handling necessary also comes into play when cost is determined. Just prior to the holidays, when turkey is a popular main course, you’ll most likely find plenty of sales of frozen turkey and turkey breasts, but generally not on fresh turkeys.“The bigger difference for me is that a lot of frozen turkeys come processed in such a way that they retain a lot more of the salt solution that is used to process them. “So they may have 9 to 15 percent of this salt solution in the turkey still.”
Some have reported that frozen is a little tougher, whole fresh is a little moister, but they are both good. As for thawing out that frozen turkey, if you have a big one, it’s going take some time and planning. A frozen 20-pound turkey would need to thaw four days in your refrigerator before you could cook it. As for the size of turkey to buy for your dinner, there’s a formula to figure that out, as well. For each person you are serving, you should have one and a half pounds of meat. So if you are feeding 8 people, you’d want a 12 pound turkey. That way, you can have some leftovers. We’ve always found that fresh turkeys are more moist and juicy than frozen birds. If it’s a local bird that was raised free range, the difference is huge — the meat has more texture, and the flavor is fantastic.
These days, however, most people don’t kill their own turkey. They simply head to the supermarket to make their selection. And while frozen turkeys were the bird of choice for many decades, more and more consumers are turning to fresh when its time to choose. Decisions, Decisions Recent surveys show that the competition between fresh and frozen is currently running neck and neck…or gizzard to gizzard, so to speak. With the recent emphasis on healthy foods, many people have switched to fresh. So what do fresh turkeys have that frozen ones don’t? Why do consumers think that eating a fresh turkey is healthier than eating a frozen bird? Typically, especially nowadays, turkeys that are dubbed “fresh” tend to also be free-range or organic turkeys. My mom said when she was little they would go to the local butcher and select there turkey.
Okay you saying now, well where would I get a fresh bird? Since we are always looking for opportunities in Newark. We were driving on Bloomfield Avenue in North Newark, traditional old Italian neighborhood we found Sha-Live Poultry and Meat Market.
In driving by you see a vinyl sign advertising fresh turkeys.
Who ever thoughts there was still a live meat market in Newark, but there is. When I first drove by a saw these beautiful colored hens, I first thought it was a pet shop. The place is clean, and you can pick whatever you want and the animal is slaughtered and clean on the location.
Many of the customer seem to be immigrants most likely use to fresh meats from their place of origin.
The other animals they sell are as follows:
So if a fresh turkey is something you like to try this season or next year, Newark might haver the option for you.
Tell us your thought and recipes. Happy Thanksgiving!!!