In order to get a quality bird for your Thanksgiving feast, you want to choose carefully before you purchase. Former poultry specialist at the University of Illinois College of Agriculture, S. F. Ridlen, says you should examine the skin, shape, fleshing and keel bone to determine quality.
Select a turkey with a creamy-colored skin and a good, healthy appearance. Be sure the skin is free from bruises, tears and pinfeathers.
Next, examine the shape and fleshiness of the bird. A wide, long breast that is well fleshed throughout the width and length indicates a fully-fleshed turkey. You can easily pick out the poorly fleshed fowl, because the breast will be narrow, and dark areas will show through on the thighs and back.
Feel the keel bone to see whether it is flexible or solid. A flexible bone indicates a young bird; a solid on is an old turkey. Be sure you choose a well-bled bird, says Ridlen. The skin should be free from darkened areas or red spots.
Source: Homemaking Radio News, 1951
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