Turkey  Little Known Facts About Turkey

Little Known Facts About Turkey
Baked Turkey! Yum!

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Williams-Sonoma Thanksgiving: Entertaining; by Lou Pappas; Published: September 2005

Turkey is a mouth-watering and delicious source of lean protein and is available in a variety of cuts and products to fit busy lifestyles.

It adapts to all cooking methods from oven to stovetop to grill, and its delicate flavor is easily seasoned.

Therefore, turkey complements the flavor profiles of many cuisines from Chinese American to Thai.

If you're not familiar with turkey and how it should be handled, please read turkey basics. Preparation can be fast and fun.

  1. Ben Franklin, in a letter to his daughter, proposed the turkey as the official United States bird.

  2. In 2005, the average American ate 16.7 pounds of turkey.

  3. In 2005, Turkey was the # 4 protein choice for American consumers behind chicken, beef and pork

  4. The heaviest turkey ever raised was 86 pounds, about the size of a large dog.

  5. A 15 pound turkey usually has about 70 percent white meat and 30 percent dark meat.

  6. The wild turkey is native to Northern Mexico and the Eastern United States.

  7. The male turkey is called a tom.

  8. The female turkey is called a hen.

  9. The turkey was domesticated in Mexico and brought to Europe in the 16th century.

  10. Wild turkeys can fly for short distances up to 55 miles per hour.

  11. Wild turkeys can run 20 miles per hour.

  12. Tom turkeys have beards. This is black, hairlike feathers on their breast. Hens sometimes have beards, too.

  13. Turkeys’ heads change colors when they become excited.

  14. Canadians consumed 138.6 million kg (Mkg) of turkey in the year 2005.

  15. Six hundred seventy-five million pounds of turkey are eaten each Thanksgiving in the United States.

  16. Turkeys can see movement almost a hundred yards away.

  17. Turkeys lived almost ten million years ago.

  18. Turkey feathers were used by Native Americans to stabilize arrows.

  19. Baby turkeys are called poults and are tan and brown.

  20. Most of the turkeys raised for commercial production are White Hollands.

  21. Turkey eggs are tan with brown specks and are larger than chicken eggs.

  22. It takes 75-80 pounds of feed to raise a 30 pound tom turkey.

  23. United States turkey growers raised 256, 270,000 turkeys in 2005

  24. The turkeys produced in 2005 together weighed 7.2 billion pounds and were valued at $3.2 billion.

  25. United States turkey growers will produce an estimated 266,500,000 turkeys in 2006.

  26. Forty-five million turkeys are eaten each Thanksgiving.

  27. Twenty-two million turkeys are eaten each Christmas.

  28. Nineteen million turkeys are eaten each Easter.

  29. Male turkeys gobble. Hens do not. They make a clicking noise.

  30. Gobbling turkeys can be heard a mile away on a quiet day.

  31. Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Virginia, Missouri and California are the leading producers of turkey in 2005. These states produced 166 million of the 256 million turkeys raised in 2005.

  32. Illinois produced 2.9 million turkeys in 2005 and ranked 15th in turkey production in the United States.

  33. A 16 week old turkey is called a fryer. A five to seven month old turkey is called a young roaster and a yearling is a year old. Any turkey 15 months or older is called mature.

  34. The ballroom dance the "turkey trot" was named for the short, jerky steps that turkeys take.

  35. Turkeys don’t really have ears like ours, but they have very good hearing.

  36. Turkeys can see in color.

  37. A large group of turkeys is called a flock.

  38. Turkeys do not see well at night.

  39. 2.74 billion pounds of turkey were processed in the United States in 1994.

  40. A domesticated male turkey can reach a weight of 30 pounds within 18 weeks after hatching.

  41. Turkeys are related to pheasants.

  42. Commercially raised turkeys cannot fly.

  43. Turkeys have heart attacks. The United States Air Force was doing test runs and breaking the sound barrier. Nearby turkeys dropped dead with heart attacks.

  44. Wild turkeys spend the night in trees. They especially like oak trees.

  45. Wild turkeys were almost wiped out in the early 1900's. Today there are wild turkeys in every state except Alaska.

  46. Turkeys are believed to have been brought to Britain in 1526 by Yorkshireman William Strickland. He acquired six turkeys from American Indian traders and sold them for tuppence in Bristol.

  47. Henry VIII was the first English King to enjoy turkey and Edward VII made turkey eating fashionable at Christmas.

  48. In England, 200 years ago, turkeys were walked to market in herds. They wore booties to protect their feet. Turkeys were also walked to market in the United States.

  49. For 87% of people in the UK, Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a traditional roast turkey.

  50. Turkey breeding has caused turkey breasts to grow so large that the turkeys fall over.

  51. June is National Turkey Lover’s Month.

  52. Since 1947, the National Turkey Federation has presented a live turkey and two dressed turkeys to the President. The President does not eat the live turkey. He "pardons" it and allows it to live out its days on a historical farm.

  53. The five most popular ways to serve leftover turkey is as a sandwich, in stew, chili or soup, casseroles and as a burger.

  54. Eating turkey does not cause you to feel sleepy after your Thanksgiving dinner. Carbohydrates in your Thanksgiving dinner are the likely cause of your sleepiness.

  55. 50 percent of U.S. consumers eat turkey at least once per week.

  56. According to the 2002 census, there were 8,436 turkey farms in the United States.

  57. Turkey is low in fat and high in protein.

  58. White meat has fewer calories and less fat than dark meat.

  59. For their first meal on the moon, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin ate roast turkey in foil packets.

  60. Turkeys will have 3,500 feathers at maturity.

  61. Turkeys have been bred to have white feathers. White feathers have no spots under the skin when plucked.

  62. Most turkey feathers are composted.

  63. Turkey skins are tanned and used to make cowboy boots and belts.

  64. The costume that "Big Bird" wears on Sesame Street is rumored to be made of turkey feathers.

  65. Israelis eat the most turkeys.....28 pounds per person.

  66. The caruncle is a red-pink fleshy growth on the head and upper neck of the turkey.

  67. Turkeys have a long, red, fleshy area called a snood that grows from the forehead over the bill.

  68. The fleshy growth under a turkey’s throat is called a wattle.

  69. Turkey eggs hatch in 28 days.

  70. The Native Americans hunted wild turkey for its sweet, juicy meat as early as 1000 A.D. Turkey feathers were used to stabilize arrows and adorn ceremonial dress, and the spurs on the legs of wild tom turkeys were used as projectiles on arrowheads.

  71. Number of places in the United States named after the holiday’s traditional main course. Turkey, Texas, was the most populous in 2005, with 492 residents; followed by Turkey Creek, La. (357); and Turkey, N.C. (269). There also are nine townships around the country named “Turkey,” three in Kansas.

Sources: United States Census Bureau, National Turkey Federation, British Turkey Federation, United States Department of Agriculture, Canadian Turkey Marketing Association


Related Topics:
· Turkey Information
· Little Known Facts About Turkey
· Turkey Basics: Turkey Purchasing Pointers
· Turkey Basics: Turkey Storage Advice
· Turkey Basics: Product Dating Codes
· Turkey Basics: Turkey Thawing Hints
· Turkey Basics: Boning Raw Turkey
· Turkey Cooking Techniques
· Giblets

· More Turkey Recipes and Information

· Cookbooks at Jessica's Biscuit®
· Cookbooks at


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