(Alexandra Wee / MJ)
(Alexandra Wee / MJ)

By ALEXANDRA WEE, Staff Columnist

This Thursday, many of us will gather with family and friends to celebrate a foodie’s favorite holiday, Thanksgiving!

Whether you’re basting the bird in the oven, filling pies or gobbling up to fuel for Black Friday shopping, snap out of your food coma and with these fun Turkey day facts. Have a safe and happy holiday!

254 million: the number of turkeys expected to be raised in the U.S in 2012 (up 2% from 2011)

$12.1 million: the value of U.S imports of live turkeys from January through July 2012 (99.8% of these gobblers come in from Canada!)

Minnesota is the country’s top turkey-producing state (North Carolina coming in second.)

The saying about getting sleepy after too much turkey is a myth. If drowsiness starts kicking in post-dinner, blame increased alcohol consumption and generally higher-calorie intake.

Thirty years ago, the folks at Butterball Turkeys opened up a Turkey Talk-Line (1-800-BUTTERBALL) to help at-home cooks get their turkeys on the table in one piece. Today, more than 50 home economists are available to answer turkey prep questions from tens of thousands of home cooks between November and December.

The most commonly asked question is how to properly thaw a turkey.

88% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving; they consume around 690 million pounds of turkey (that’s about the weight of Singapore’s entire population!)

If you’re prepping cranberry sauce at home and want to know if the cranberries are ripe yet, drop one on the ground: if it bounces back 4 inches or more, it’s just right.

Illinois: the country’s leading state for pumpkin production—they produced around 520 million pounds of pumpkin in 2011.

One in five Americans admits to having eaten an entire pie by themselves. On average, that’s about 2,000 calories for an 8-inch pumpkin pie and up to 4,000 calories for a pecan pie!

Thanksgiving leftovers inspired the invention of the first TV dinner. In 1953, Gerry Thomas of Swanson recruited an assembly line to begin packing all the leftover frozen turkeys from the big day, along with scoops of potatoes, peas and corn, into little aluminum trays.

Sources: census.gov, sacbee.com, everydayhealth.com, kentucky.com