Buying A Turkey For The Holidays? Turkey Lingo

Other / Canada

Turkeys are popping up in grocery store flyers for the holidays, but there are some differences in the types of turkey that may make paying more worthwhile.

According to the Turkey Farmers of BC:

Turkeys are graded according to quality of appearance. Canada A turkeys are well shaped, meaty with even fat covering.

Canada Utility turkeys are birds with minor skin tears or one or more parts missing which in no way affects the quality. Use these turkeys for cutting up or when carving before serving.  There is no quality or taste difference between a Canada A grade turkey or Utility grade turkey.

All turkeys processed in a federally inspected plant bear a “Canada Approved” or “Canada” health inspection stamp. This stamp tells you that the product is safe to eat.

So do check for that Canada stamp, as the recent beef recall has shown, meat is shipped across the border.  The USDA have imposed different rulings, so US turkeys may not have the same standards based on rating.  There will be some difference in the quality and taste of meat between even Grade A turkeys depending on the age when they are slaughtered, what they are fed and how they are kept (free range vs factory etc).

As far as frozen vs fresh, for me it is always fresh because they take so long to thaw, but they say there is no difference in quality once thawed.

Frozen turkeys are flash-frozen immediately after they are packaged to 0 degrees F or less, and are kept frozen until they are purchased. Once thawed, the meat of a frozen turkey is virtually as fresh as the day it was packaged.

Fresh turkeys are chilled after packaging, rather than frozen. Because they require special handling and have a shorter shelf-life than frozen birds, fresh turkeys are often more expensive than their frozen counterparts.

Happy turkey hunting!

*Bumped from Thanksgiving*

6 responses to “Buying A Turkey For The Holidays? Turkey Lingo”

  1. Mia001 says:

    i just can’t wait for turkey being on sale……they are cheap meat and allows to make lots of different meals IMO

  2. mojo says:

    I just bought my grade a turkey from Safeway yesterday. Thay are on sale for 99 cents a pound. They are 5-7 kg. Just the right size for my family dinner of 4-5 people. It cost me just $9.66! It is way cheaper than buying a chicken and it stretches farther.

  3. purplebunny89 says:

    Thanks for this bit of education.

    I’ll still stick to my Walmart Turkey in a box for $16-$18. Yes, I realise more expensive but I’m willing to do that as opposed to playing with Turkey organs and shoving my hand in its hole to “stuff” it. Stuffing either comes from a box in my house or from Mom or Grandma who did the “dirty” work for me 😀

    Plus DH doesn’t care one way or the other. And those Turkeys still take a long time to cook so it still gives the effect of a regular thanksgiving.

  4. gobble gobble says:

    i’m pleased to hear utility turkeys are basically the same. i had been wondering about that.

  5. Amy says:

    We all Love a good sale, but please remember to support your local farmer for your fresh turkey. Buy a pastured turkey vs a factory farmed turkey.
    Your health is not worth skimping $ on. More costly in the long run!
    Happy turkey day!!!

  6. Rhonda says:

    Thank you for the post! I was wondering the difference between utility & regular turkeys 🙂 Bring on the turkey dinners!


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