Understanding Thanksgiving turkey labeling

Today's consumers are more discerning than ever, especially when it comes to food products. Even those families that normally do not shop for premium-quality foods often splurge on the holidays. However, choosing the perfect bird for your family's table may not be as simple as it once was.

Many high-end grocery stores can stock several different types of turkeys in a range of different qualities. To help your family get the perfect turkey this holiday season, we at Durafast would like to help our customers better understand the labeling claims:

  • Free-range: These turkeys have been raised with access to the outdoors, which helps promote healthy muscle growth and manage fat content. Free-range does not necessarily mean grass or grain-fed, which is a common misconception. 
  • Natural: Natural turkeys have no added ingredients or flavoring, meaning you will likely have to brine the bird yourself to prevent it from drying out in the oven.
  • Heritage: A popular choice for "foodies," this label signifies that it is any breed other than Broad-Breasted White, which has long been the traditional breed. Heritage turkeys are generally leaner and their meat has a gamier flavor. They are also smaller, and need careful attention while cooking to avoid drying out. 
  • Frozen: Frozen turkeys have been chilled to 0 degrees, which does not necessarily entail any negative consequences for flavor. Properly thawed, frozen turkeys can taste just as good as or better than non-frozen birds. 
  • Hen: Hens are the female bird, and are normally smaller than their male counterparts. generally weighing under 16 pounds. 
  • Tom: Toms are male turkeys, and can weigh more than 18 pounds. 
  • Kosher: These turkeys have been slaughtered and cleaned following kosher law. Koshering requires salting for one hour to draw out any remaining blood, but this is often confused with brining, which needs several days to be done properly. 
  • Organic: An increasingly popular option, an organic label signifies that the turkey was not subject to the hormones and steroids normally used in conventional production to help plump up birds. Organic turkeys have also had outdoor access, helping to support healthy muscle growth, and have been fed an organic diet. 
  • Pastured: Often confused with free-range, pastured means the bird has been able to access a grassy field for both feed and exercise. 
  • Self-basting: These turkeys have been injected with brine or different flavoring solution to help prevent drying during cooking. 

We at Durafast hope this guide will help you and your loved ones pick out the perfect turkey for your holiday gatherings. 

As leading providers of product label printing equipment, we understand the importance of having a label that is easily understood and accurately speaks to the quality of the product. We hope you will consider us for any of your product label printing needs this holiday season. 

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