Christmas recipes: How to pick the best turkey

Mark Greenway. Picture: Paul Johnston/Copper Mango
Mark Greenway. Picture: Paul Johnston/Copper Mango
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CHEF Mark Greenway shares his tips on how to ensure you get the best turkey this Christmas

1. Get to know your local butcher. They are a font of knowledge and will be able to advise you and offer you the best deal. They will be able to tell you the most about the turkey - where it came from and how it was reared. Traceability like that will give you assurance that the turkey has been humanely treated while alive; the higher the standard of welfare by which a turkey was reared, the better the quality of the meat.

2. A good turkey may not look perfect. One that is perfectly symmetrical probably didn’t have an active life. So focus on the origin of the bird rather than a perfect appearance.

3. Buy a fresh turkey. Frozen birds may have been stored for months or even from last year!

4. The best fresh turkeys have a drier appearance. A dry bird will have been hung and dry-plucked which tends to result in better quality meat.

• Mark Greenway writes a weekly column for the Edinburgh Evening News and is guest chef columnist for Scotland Now in September 2014.

Mark Greenaway is taking part in the Big Dinner (www.bigdinner.co.uk) event which encourages people to host a dinner party in their own home.

Anyone anywhere in the world can take part in as long as a £25 registration fee is paid and they have access to broadband.

Celebrities such as comics Fred MacAulay, Elaine C Smith and Hardeep Singh Kohli, will join participants in being linked up by social media, while two short films about the work of 500 Miles will be broadcast to show how the charity is changing lives.

Big Dinner founder and Edinburgh-based lawyer Olivia Giles became a quadruple amputee 12 years ago when she caught meningococcal septicaemia which forced surgeons to amputate her hands and lower legs in order to save her life.

She has since become a high -profile advocate for amputees, in particular those living in some of the poorest parts of Africa who are forced to crawl on the ground or limp around on home-made wooden legs.

The 48-year-old’s charity 500 Miles now runs two clinics in Malawi with plans to open a third in Zambia, and she now wants to raise £500,000 to help African amputees walk again by getting Scots to sit down for a global dinner party on 7 March.

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