Turkey is not just for Thanksgiving anymore. Join us in breaking down our favorite holiday bird.
While it’s the centerpiece of many holiday celebrations, turkey is not just for Thanksgiving anymore. The consumption of turkeys has doubled over the past 25 years, winning their way into our shopping carts — and our stomachs — as people increasingly consume it as a healthy food choice year round. Here are some facts and stats showing what makes this bird different than the rest.
Mature turkeys have around 3,500 feathers. Males spread their tail feathers like a peacock to attract females during mating season.
They have wings, but domestic turkeys are unable to fly. Wild turkeys fly for short distances up to 55 miles per hour.
Wild turkeys can run
up to 20 miles per hour. Including the bone, drumsticks can weigh up to a pound and a half. An adult gobbler (what a male is called) has sharp spurs on his legs for fighting.
White meat vs. Dark meat
White meat is preferred in the United States, while dark meat is preferred in other countries. White meat contains fewer calories and less fat than its dark counterpart.
Only male domestic turkeys gobble. Female domestic turkeys make a clucking sound.
An adult of both genders has a snood, an appendage on its face that dangles. Studies have shown the length of a male’s snood is indicative of its health — and females prefer a mate with a longer snood.
Turkeys can see in color and have a 270-degree field of vision, which makes it hard to sneak up on them. Turkey has been linked to improving human eyesight because it’s high in zinc.
The bare skin on a turkey’s head and neck can change color to red, white or blue when it is distressed.
Fun Turkey Facts
» Ever wonder why you feel sleepy after gorging yourself on Thanksgiving? Rumor has it that tryptophan — found in turkey — causes post-prandial lethargy. However, recent studies have shown turkey is not the culprit for fatigue. Rather, it’s eating a high-carbohydrate meal. In other words, blame all of the bread, potatoes and stuffing in your stomach.
» Benjamin Franklin nominated the turkey for the United States’ official bird. However, the bald eagle was chosen over the turkey as a symbol of strength, freedom and courage.
» When cooking turkey, allow 20 minutes per pound for an 8-12 pound bird and 15 minutes per pound for a 12-16 pound bird.
» Each year, the National Turkey Federation (NTF) presents the President of the United States with a live turkey and two fully dressed turkeys. After the ceremony, the live turkey goes back home to live out the remainder of his life.
» The average turkey contains 70 percent white meat and 30 percent dark meat.