3 Tips for Buying the Perfect Turkey

3 guidelines for purchasing the perfect turkey.

By Cynthia Dermody from Reader's Digest | November 2004

Cooking a turkey can be daunting; shopping for one shouldn’t be. Try these tips:

1. Buy frozen. There’s no real quality difference between fresh and frozen, says Norma Farrell, a consumer-education specialist at the National Turkey Federation, since the latter are flash-frozen after processing to preserve them. “Fresh” turkeys can be many days old by the time you buy them — and can cost up to 50% more.

2. Go generic. Store brands are cheaper than well-known ones, and both birds may even have come from the same place. One of the main differences: Some brands use a unique seasoning on theirs.

3. Check the shape. Look for a turkey with a well-rounded breast — it’s juicier. Beware of flat spots, which can indicate thawing and refreezing. This raises the risk of food-borne illness.

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