When it comes to summer food, turkey is not the first thing most people think of. After all, it is most commonly associated with Christmas dinner and, if you have any American or Canadian friends, they will also be serving it up a few weeks earlier on Thanksgiving.
All this, of course, lends itself to images of indoor fun in jumpers, party hats and hot food while it is cold outside. It’s all a far cry from the kind of thing you might eat at a barbecue, or sitting on the patio on a warm summer day.
However, that would be to relegate a turkey to the same niche status as a Christmas pudding or an Easter egg. The fact is that by buying a free range turkey, you can enjoy a wonderful meal at any time of year.
Moreover, since the norm on December 25th is to serve up a full, oven-roast bird full of stuffing alongside trimmings like roast potatoes, sprouts and pigs in blankets, the rest of the year offers lots of opportunities to try some different recipes.
As Great British Chefs notes, turkey offers two great attributes that can easily be overlooked. The first of these is the sheer variety of options when you look beyond the option of making something that still looks like Christmas dinner in June. This means you can have it in burgers, steaks, curries, sausages, or even cook and cut into strips to go into a salad.
The second aspect of it is the fact that turkey is actually much healthier than most red meat alternatives. This is especially relevant in summer because this is the time of year when barbecues are in fashion, that classic demonstration of the irrepressible optimism of the British. But when the rain does stay clear and the grill is aflame, most of what is sizzling on it is made of red meat.
For a healthier alternative, turkey burgers and sausages are a great step forward. You might have some equipment at home to produce these, like your own sausage-making machine. But it’s also true that if you have a turkey this summer, the leftovers could be wrapped in tin foil and placed on the barbecue themselves, or of course added to an accompanying salad.
This sort of versatility makes turkey great as summer party food. Moreover, it means there is more white meat being eaten instead of red, while the range of dishes you can produce means less food waste, a crucial issue at a time when everyone’s household budgets are being stretched by inflation.
Summer is a time when people like to reach their fittest state. While a bit of extra timber can be hidden under thick clothes in winter, many will want to look good on a beach, in a summer dress, or simply to help them enjoy a more active lifestyle in summer by playing cricket or taking long hikes in the hills.
There can be few better ways to do that than by eating meat that is lean and healthy, providing lots of great protein to keep you going without adding lots of fat. That’s why turkey really is a meat for all times of year.