Turkey meat, commonly referred to as just turkey, is the meat from turkeys, typically domesticated turkeys. It is a popular poultry product, especially in North America where it is traditionally consumed as part of culturally significant events such as Thanksgiving and Christmas as well as in standard cuisine.
Turkeys are sold sliced and ground, as well as "whole" in a manner similar to chicken with the head, feet, and feathers removed. Frozen whole turkeys remain popular. Sliced turkey is frequently used as a sandwich meat or served as cold cuts; in some cases where recipes call for chicken it can be used as a substitute. Ground turkey is sold just as ground beef, and is frequently marketed as a healthy alternative to beef. Without careful preparation, cooked turkey is usually considered to end up less moist than other poultry meats such as chicken or duck.
Wild turkeys, while technically the same species as domesticated turkeys, have a very different taste from farm-raised turkeys. Almost all of the meat is "dark" (even the breast) with a more intense flavor. The flavor can also vary seasonally with changes in available forage, often leaving wild turkey meat with a gamier flavor in late summer due to the greater number of insects in its diet over the preceding months. Wild turkey that has fed predominantly on grass and grain has a milder flavor. Older heritage breeds also differ in flavor.
A large amount of turkey meat is processed. It can be smoked and as such is sometimes sold as turkey ham or turkey bacon, which is widely considered to be far healthier than pork-based bacon. Twisted helices of deep fried turkey meat, sold as "turkey twizzlers", came to prominence in the UK in 2004 when chef Jamie Oliver campaigned to have them and similar foods removed from school dinners.
Unlike chicken eggs, turkey eggs are not commonly sold as food due to the high demand for whole turkeys and lower output of eggs as compared with other fowl (not only chickens, but even ducks or quail). The value of a single turkey egg is estimated to be about $3.50 on the open market, substantially more than an entire carton of one dozen chicken eggs.
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