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Difference Between Fresh Turkey and Frozen Turkey

turkey_cookbookFresh Turkey vs Frozen Turkey

An overbearing mother-in-law will tell you that the difference between fresh turkey and frozen turkey is that the fresh one is the only one that is suitable for the dinner table. However, there are obviously more differences, and the conclusion that a fresh turkey is the only one that can be served for family gatherings, is purely speculative opinion.

Without getting unnecessarily graphic, there is a difference in the way each is packaged and processed for shipping to your local market. Most companies shrink wrap a fresh turkey, and ship it in cooled containers to prevent salmonella development. Frozen turkeys can be flash frozen, or frozen the old fashioned way, and usually have a slightly different type of shrink wrap to help prevent burning during the freezing process.

Some people find that there is a discernable taste difference between fresh turkey and frozen turkey. This seems to be attributed to brand-loyal shoppers. The quality of the turkey meat is often determined by the farm that raised the turkeys. Therefore, a higher quality frozen turkey would still taste better than a low quality fresh turkey.

Consumers can usually find better deals on frozen turkeys versus fresh ones. The normal increase in turkey sales happen right around Thanksgiving and Christmas, as they are part of the traditional celebrations of the respective holidays. However, the market usually orders more turkeys than it actually sells, leaving an opening in the shopper’s opportunity to save money. Since the frozen turkey has a much longer shelf life, it is likely to be at the market for a longer time, which will drop its price even further after the holiday season.

Fresh turkeys usually come with a higher initial price tag as well. In order to maintain the required safety standards, a fresh turkey will be handled differently to a frozen turkey. They must be handled within safety precautions, and therefore, usually require more knowledgeable and well-trained staff members. All of this combined creates an elevated price.

Of course, a fresh turkey doesn’t require two or three days of thawing. It’s ready to get started whenever you are. This makes the last minute stop for a turkey easier. Many believe it is also safer. A thawing frozen turkey is often left on the counter, or in the sink, for several days; often creating a room temperature outer portion, and a frozen inner portion. It’s really best to thaw the frozen turkey in the refrigerator, which can take a full week in some cases. However, a fresh turkey eliminates all of the hassle and the potential dangers that comes with monitoring a turkey’s thawing process, and guessing when it is safe to eat it.

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