This time of year means copious amounts of delicious food and drink. World of Spice, seasoning online love nothing more than satisfying our customers with making their festive food even more delicious throughout December. However, there is one tradition that stands out when seasoned correctly… that’s right, we’re talking about the Turkey!
So, how do you season and cook your turkey at Christmas? Whether you’re hosting Christmas, feeding the masses between Christmas and New Year at your restaurant, or looking for something festive to serve at your annual party, our turkey tips will have your guests polishing off the lot!
Why Do We Eat Turkey at Christmas?
Turkeys have been eaten around the festive period for hundreds of years. Although not native to the UK, they are a tradition that the British firmly associate with Christmas celebrations.
Arriving in 1524, British merchants bought them from Spanish conquistadors who brought the birds back from Mexico. In 16th Century, turkey was expensive; King Henry VIII and his advisors enjoyed this bird over the festive period, and thus, popularity spread within the wealthier communities. As turkey farms spread across the country, popularity continued to increase. However, it took almost 4 centuries for the price of turkey to go down, turning it from a luxury item to something that the masses could afford each year. From the 19th century onwards, turkey has been a standard on the Christmas dinner table for families all around the UK.
Do You Season Turkey Before or After Cooking?
We would always recommend seasoning your turkey before cooking. In fact, as early as the night before is best. Of course, you can garnish and sprinkle a little extra seasoning on top upon removing from the oven, but your herbs, seasoning and spices should be added before cooking. This is to enable the seasoning to penetrate the meat. When heated, the volatile oils in your seasoning escape and infuse with the meat and juices as the turkey cooks.
Should I Stuff the Turkey?
You don’t have to, but we would highly recommend doing so, by filling with aromatics. To get the best aromatic infusion, adding herbs, spices and seasoning online can make all the difference from the inside out. Dried or fresh seasoning can work here, as well as halved fresh fruit and vegetables such as onions, garlic, apple and lemon.
How to Season Turkey
The question on everyone’s lips is how do I season the turkey? What herbs and spices work? Well, from our experience, we would suggest:
For the outside and under the skin:
Buy your seasoning online and sprinkle on top of the turkey. Massage in with a dash of oil or melted butter. To get even more flavour, you can season under the skin. This puts your herbs and spices in direct content with the white meat for the richest flavours. Should you not be a fan of the skin, you can easily peel it off without sacrificing any of the delicious flavours infused beneath!
For the inside:
As we said above, you don’t have to include this step, but we think it makes all the difference! Filling your turkey with aromatics, like herbs and spices, fruit and vegetables will only enhance its festive flavour. Be sure your seasoning blend is liberally sprinkled inside the turkey, amongst the sweet and citrussy halved fruit and veg. This will keep the flavour bright and encourage the texture of the meat to be perfectly moist!
Brine and baste:
An important part of the seasoning process is to brine and baste your turkey! This will add flavour and tenderness. Before cooking, soak your turkey in a basic brine for around four hours. This saltwater and herb mixture helps to tenderise the meat and add a hit of fragrant saltiness to the whole bird.
Don’t forget to baste the turkey with its own juices halfway through. Again, this helps to keep the meat moist and infuse more delicious flavour!
How to Cook
With a scrumptious turkey can come a great deal of stress! They’re notoriously difficult to cook because of their size. This is why many prefer to cook turkey crown. They’re more expensive than a whole turkey but are smaller and easier to cook, reducing the risk of the meat drying out.
There are a couple of ways you can cook a turkey, but simple oven cooking is the preferred method. We would recommend to:
- Heat the oven to 170C. Season and stuff the turkey. Weigh the turkey and calculate the cooking time at 20 minutes per kilo, plus 90 minutes.
- Put a large sheet of strong foil in a large roasting tin and put the turkey on top. At this stage you can tie the turkey with string, depending on how big it is and how much stuffing is in it! Encompass the turkey in the foil and seal well at the top, to make a parcel!
- Roast in the oven. 90 minutes before the end of cooking, open the foil, baste the turkey in its own juice with a ladle. Leave the foil open and leave the turkey to brown. 30 minutes before the end of cooking, baste again, pour away the excess fat and return to the oven.
- When the timer goes off, push a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh – the juices should run clear if the meat is cooked! If pink, cook for 15 minutes more and test again. Transfer the turkey and rest for 20 minutes before carving. This gives the juices and seasoning time to settle back into the meat.
Get in Touch
At World of Spice, we can help you achieve amazing flavour and traditional cuisine through our seasoning online. From bespoke blends to a choice of packaging, complete with custom labelling, our comprehensive service can help you achieve your culinary goals. For more information about our bespoke services for trade and retail, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or feel free to call our team on 01277 633303. We look forward to hearing from you.