Fun Facts You Didn't Know About Turkey
October 7, 2014
Bring some turkey trivia to the Thanksgiving table
Fun Facts You Didn't Know About Turkey (Slideshow)
Turkey at Thanksgiving is one of the most iconic holiday meals in America. But how much do you know actually about this large fowl?
Turkey Feathers, Not Meat
Wild turkeys, which can have a wing span of almost five feet, were first domesticated in Mexico as early as 800 B.C., but were bred for their feathers, not their meat. They didn't become a significant food source for Native Americans until around 1100 A.D.
When Turkeys Fly
Wild turkeys can fly (that’s how they get into trees to sleep at night), but modern-day domesticated ones bred for consumption are too top-heavy to get off the ground.
First Thanksgiving Debate
Although it’s still up for debate, wild turkey, along with goose, duck, crane, and swan, among other fowl, was probably served at the first Thanksgiving.
Ben Franklin’s Favorite Fowl
The turkey was a favorite of Ben Franklin’s; though many think that he proposed it as the national bird of the U.S. instead of the bald eagle, he only suggested that it was a “much more respectable bird” than the eagle.
Starting in 1947 with President Harry Truman, each president has given a “presidential pardon” to a turkey brought to the White House during the holiday season. After a public vote via social media in 2013, the most recent pardon recipient, Popcorn, was saved from his doom and now lives at a farm in rural Virginia.
Turkey contains fewer calories that its smaller fowl counterpart, chicken, but remains significantly less popular. For example, a 3-ounce serving of roasted chicken wing has about 240 calories compared to 190 calories in a 3-ounce serving of roasted turkey wing.
Store-Bought Versus Fresh Turkey
Store-bought turkeys are injected with a salt solution for flavor, and contrary to popular belief can be cooked from frozen if needed. Fresh turkeys take about 20 minutes less to cook than a thawed turkey. And remember, thawing a turkey in the refrigerator requires a lot of time; allow for 24 hours to thaw for every 4 pounds of turkey.