Turkey Myths Busted
Here in the Turkey Zone we like to smash myths and misconceptions. We've done it before with our kitchen myth-busting article. But today we’re going to be focusing our critical gaze on the foodstuff that’s closest to our hearts - Turkey. Yes, we all love turkey, but how well do we really know it? Here are a few things you might erroneously believe:
Turkey Makes You Sleepy
This is a popular turkey myth. After all, after downing a Christmas dinner, most of us feel a little on the sluggish side, so it completely makes sense, right? The myth goes that turkey contains Tryptophan, which is a substance used in some sleeping aids. So that’s why after eating a roast turkey you always feel a bit drowsy.

Except that’s not how it works. Firstly, turkey doesn’t contain any more Tryptophan than you’d find in chicken, beef or pork. But more than that, for Tryptophan to be any good as a sleeping aid, it has to be taken on an empty stomach. One thing you may have noticed about eating turkey – it tends not to leave you with an empty stomach.

So if you feel sleepy after eating a roast dinner it’s probably just down to the combination fatty foods taking time to digest as blood is diverted from your brain and muscles to help break down the meal.
Baste Your Turkey to Keep the Meat Moist
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, and many cooks will swear by it. After all, you don’t want dry meat do you?

However, the fact is the moisture you're basting the turkey with doesn't get any deeper than a quarter of an inch beneath the skin, with most of it running off the skin and into the pan below. What’s more, remember what you actually have to do to baste the turkey. You have to open the oven door, letting heat out. That’s not going to do good things for your bird’s cooking time.

Instead a lightly applied layer of spray vegetable oil at the start of the roasting will do the trick.

You Must Wash Your Turkey
We've mentioned this before when talking about kitchen hygiene, but it’s such a commonly held belief that it is worth restating.

There is NO NEED to wash your turkey before cooking it. The turkey is about to be heated thoroughly outside and in, and heat kills bacteria. All that washing the turkey does is splash water over the raw meat. That raw meat then picks up the bacteria, which is then splashed all over your kitchen sink.

You are making your kitchen less hygienic, not making the turkey more hygienic.
You Can't Roast Stuffing Inside the Bird
This is a tip that's become popular lately, and there is some truth in it. Filling the bird makes it harder for the heat to permeate all the way through, and some bacteria from the turkey may survive inside the stuffing.

However, you can get around this simply by giving the stuffing a quick spin in the microwave, getting it to about 54 degrees Celsius before you cram it into the bird. That way it will start out too hot for any bacteria, and turkey and stuffing will both be safe when it's time to serve.


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Turkey Myths Busted