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Turkey

Turkey

Savor the Moment

High in protein and low in fat, turkey makes a healthy meal year round — not just on holidays. In fact, turkey is so versatile that there are nearly as many ways to serve it as there are days in the year. It’s also famous for containing tryptophan, which can relax you and elevate your mood. Other health benefits of turkey include lowering LDL cholesterol, boosting your immune system, and even helping men maintain optimal testosterone levels

WHITE MEAT VS. DARK MEAT

While it's true that dark meat does contain more calories and fat than white meat, the difference is very small. Here are the facts: An ounce of roasted, skinless white meat turkey breast contains 44 calories and 1 gram of fat. And an ounce of roasted, skinless dark meat turkey (which is also moister and higher in iron) contains 52 calories and 2 grams of fat. So the difference between the two in a typical six-ounce serving of turkey comes to under 50 calories. Not a big price to pay if you really like dark meat.

BUYING, PREP AND STORAGE

Fresh turkey should be free of any odor and have clean skin with no pinfeathers. Frozen turkey should have a plump breast. Both should be wrapped in airtight packaging. Always buy on or before the "sell by" date as that is the last date it should be offered for sale. Then prepare or freeze it before the "sell by" date, preferably as soon as possible. Turkey is fully cooked when it is no longer pink inside.

COOKING TIPS

  • When choosing a whole turkey, allow for at least 1 pound of meat per person.
  • When roasting turkey, keep in mind that dark roasting pans cook faster than shiny metals.
  • If a turkey or the pan it’s in is too large for the oven, it may block the heat from circulating. This can also happen if the pan is too deep.
  • Placing foil over a roast turkey can slow the cooking time, while an oven cooking bag can speed it up.
  • Stuffing the turkey after it’s cooked will help speed cooking and ensure safe cooking temperatures have been reached.
  • Brush the turkey with melted butter before cooking to add flavor, help with browning, and lock in some of the juices.
  • Baste the turkey only at the beginning to ensure a crispy skin.
  • When short on time, consider spatchcocking (a process of flattening) a whole turkey to roast it in record time.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

We’re all familiar with the side dishes for holiday turkeys: roasted vegetables, potatoes, cranberry sauce and more. But turkey is a great choice all year long. Some refreshing accompaniments include savory risottos dotted with fresh vegetables, sautéed kale with toasted cashews, or even snow peas with pine nuts and mint. Turkey is so versatile that nearly anything can make a nice complement. But the more daring you get, the less it will seem like Thanksgiving, and the more it will feel like a meal impressive in its own right.