Everything you ever wanted to know about turkey meat

Think you’re a turkey expert? Take the June 2019 Ingredient of the Month quiz for 1 CEH toward ACF Certification at acfchefs.org/CEHquiz.

 

Turkey meat, commonly referred to as turkey, is muscle and can be classified as white or dark. The turkey’s breast meat is white and contains less fat than the dark meat. Turkeys use their legs continuously, which is why the thighs and drumsticks are sources of flavorful, vitamin and mineral-rich dark meat. Turkey meat is a lean protein powerhouse. Just one serving of turkey is worth half the daily recommended value of protein.

Turkey is a popular holiday dish and lunchbox staple in the United States. Approximately 45 million turkeys are consumed at Thanksgiving in the United States as well as 22 million at Christmas and 19 million at Easter. Whether shaved or sliced, turkey is also the most popular deli meat in the U.S.

Pottery Platter with Sliced Turkey White Meat

Turkey is growing increasingly popular in everyday cuisine due to its health attributes, ability to hold bold, vibrant flavors and suitability to popular cooking styles like grilling and smoking. Indigenous peoples from Mexico and Central America have eaten turkey for thousands of years. In the 15th century, Spanish conquistadores took Aztec turkeys back to Europe.

The turkey industry has evolved from a single-product, holiday-oriented business into a fully integrated industry with a diversified product line that competes with other protein products on a year-round basis. America’s turkey farmers raise more than 242 million turkeys each year. Turkeys receive quality veterinary care and are raised in scientifically designed, temperature-regulated houses that provide maximum space, constant access to feed and water and protection from the elements and predators. The top six turkey producing states are Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Indiana, Missouri and Virginia. These six states produce two thirds of America’s turkeys.

Turkey Farm

Healthy Ingredient Contribution

Values from nutritiondata.self.com based on Turkey, young hen, dark meat and skin, cooked, roasted (100 g)

Protein A serving of turkey provides 55% of the daily recommended value of protein per serving. Protein is an important macronutrient for the building blocks of the body. The body uses protein to build and repair tissues, make enzymes and hormones, and build muscle and skin.

Selenium A serving of turkey provides 53% of the daily recommended value of selenium per serving. Selenium is a trace mineral that helps regulate inflammation. It also works as an antioxidant to protect cells from damage.

Zinc A serving of turkey provides 27% of the daily recommended value of zinc per serving. Zinc is important for a healthy immune system, energy metabolism and healing wounds.

Phosphorus A serving of turkey provides 20% of the daily recommended value of phosphorous per serving. Phosphorus is also important in bone formation. It is important in digestion, nerve impulses and proper kidney function.

Niacin A serving of turkey provides 18% of the daily recommended value of niacin per serving. Niacin is important for metabolic energy transfer reactions of glucose, fat and alcohol. It also helps protect against neurological degeneration.

Roast Turkey Dinner

Culinary Uses

Turkey is a lean, versatile protein and can be used interchangeably in recipes that call for other proteins with small adjustments in cooking time. The many turkey cuts and products available today can be incorporated into any meal.

Breakfast Add a side of turkey bacon to any breakfast dish or substitute turkey sausage in your favorite frittata or bake.

Lunch Sliced turkey is a focal point for any sandwich, salad, or wrap. Try turkey in a hot, melty panini with brie cheese and green apple.

Dinner Turkey tenderloins are an easy way to put turkey on your dinner menu. Add your favorite seasoning or marinade and fire up the grill or heat up a skillet on the stovetop for easy favorites like turkey fajitas. Ground turkey adds a lighter twist on traditional recipes, such as stuffed peppers, nachos or Bolognese.

Smoked Turkey Sandwich

Fun Facts

• June is officially recognized as National Turkey Lovers’ Month, which highlights the many contributions of the turkey industry and the countless variations of turkey on menus across the country.

• Federal regulations do not permit the use of added hormones and steroids in poultry.

• Annually, Americans gobble up 16.1 pounds of turkey per person.

• Companies involved in the production and processing of turkey provide 440,739 jobs that pay $24.1 billion in wages to families throughout the U.S.

• Male turkeys, known as toms, gobble. Female turkeys, or hens, make a clicking noise.

• A young turkey is called a poult.


• This content is sponsored by Today’s Turkey/Serve Turkey • 

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Today’s Turkey is a program designed to help educate foodservice professionals on the versatility of turkey and inspire them to include turkey — in its wide variety of cuts and preparations — as a regular part of their menu. Healthy, versatile and delicious, turkey brings unexpected flavor to breakfast, lunch or dinner and makes for healthy and satisfying between-meal snacking, too! Find delicious recipes and cooking tips at serveturkey.org. Today’s Turkey is powered by the National Turkey Federation.


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