Why Do We Eat Turkey on Christmas Day?

The festive period is full of age-old traditions such as eating turkey on Christmas Day. But how did this originate and why should we continue this tradition? It has not always been traditional to eat turkey on Christmas day. Indeed, before the turkey was introduced to Britain, geese, peacocks and even boars’ head were eaten as a Christmas day treat. In 1526 William Strickland imported six turkeys from America and sold them for tuppence each.

The birds were considered to be extremely tasty and a more practical alternative to other livestock such as cows (which were more useful alive to produce milk), or chickens (which were more expensive than they are today). The popularity of turkeys has steadily increased and today in the UK we eat around 10 million turkeys every year.

Henry VIII was reputed to be the first person to eat turkey on Christmas Day, but it was not until the mid twentieth century that the turkey overtook the goose as the most popular Christmas Day meal. Today 87% of British people believe that Christmas would not be Christmas without a traditional roast turkey. Turkeys have the advantage of being affordable, big enough to feed the entire extended family (with guaranteed leftovers!) and fresh – if you know where to buy them from! Naturally they are born in the spring and typically take about seven months to mature to a healthy full-sized turkey.

If they are reared free range they have the space to roam around, ensuring that their muscles and tissues are fully developed. If you want to ensure you have the most succulent and flavorful bird for your Christmas celebrations buy your free range turkeys direct from the farm.

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