The importance of free range
When selecting your Christmas turkey, it’s important to ensure you choose a bird from a top quality, free range turkey farm.
Norfolk has several award winning turkey farms offering a range of bronze and black turkeys. Free range farms begin the rearing process with the best quality chicks taken from slow growing strains. They are then fed special food which contains a large amount of cereal with no growth promoters or additives. Unlike non-free range farms which keep their turkeys in small, confined spaces for long periods of time, free range turkey farms house their birds in clean, mobile sheds that are always bedded with fresh straw.
Many farms try to rear as many turkeys as they can to ensure they gain a large profit. However, free range farms only take on a small, manageable amount, so that each turkey is well looked after. All birds are also dry plucked on the farm for minimum stress.
Most free range farms have a special cold store area where each turkey is left to mature for around 10 days. This ensures all turkeys have a delicious, traditional taste, making your Christmas extra special.
Before purchasing your turkey, it’s important to ensure the farm has been inspected by Environmental Health. Free range farms should also be members of the Traditional Farmfresh Turkey Association, which carries out regular inspections.
Norfolk Black or Bronze Turkeys?
Years ago, it was always the Norfolk black turkey that was regarded as the tastiest bird. However, the Norfolk bronze is becoming more and more popular for its tender, strong and juicy flavours.
Once you have chosen you turkey it’s important to order at least 4 – 6 weeks before Christmas to ensure you get the exact size and type of bird you’re after.
Cooking your fresh free range turkeys
Those who want to stuff their fresh Christmas turkey should put stuffing in the neck cavity only. To add extra flavour you can also put apple and onion in the body cavity, then simply sprinkle with salt and pepper and place it on your roasting tin breast side down.
Timings will depend on the size of your turkey. Smaller 4kg birds will take around 2 hours 35 minutes to cook, where as larger 10 kg turkeys take approximately 4 hours 45 minutes.
Turkey sizes – know your numbers
• 4kg turkeys are ideal for around 4 – 6 people.
• 7 and 8 kg turkeys will feed around 10 people.
• 10kg turkeys are perfect for those with larger parties as they will easily feed around 15 – 20 people. 10 and 11kg birds are also ideal for those wanting plenty of leftovers for preparing those delicious turkey sandwiches, salads and curries!
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Morton’s Traditional Taste is a free range turkey farm located in Skeyton, Norfolk. The family company have been rearing turkeys for the past 10 years.
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