Do's and Don'ts - Food Hints, Tips, Caution, Advice, Care
Natural and Organic
Try to incorporate more natural and organic foods. For one, you will be lessening the amount of pesticides, chemicals, hormones and additives in your diet. For another, you will be supporting sustainable and renewable farming methods. Support your local organic farmers by buying directly at your local farmer's market. Online, you may like Amazon's natural and organic selection.
Tricks of the Trade for Tender, Moist, Juicy and Flavorful Turkey
SUMMARY OF TURKEY TO DO'S
Good quality fresh turkey wiped with butter
Unbleached Cheesecloth with Unsalted Butter
Or: Cook In Oven Bag with Mixed Vegetables
Minimal or No Salt for Cooking
Instant Meat thermometer - 165 Degrees
Let Turkey Site 10-20 minutes before serving
Partially Roast Upside Down
Salt and Sugar Soak only if absolutely necessary
One of the techniques often used to keep turkey moist and juicy is called "brining." Brining a turkey requires that it be submerged completely in a solution of salt, usually one cup for a turkey.
Some advise adding an equal amount of sugar to disguise the saltiness. Although the taste may seem less salty, the sodium content still remains very high.
Additionally, much of the turkey's natural juices are leached into the salt solution which is discarded.
Sugar and salt are flavor enhancers, and "trick" the palate into interpreting the food as having more "body," "richness," and "taste." High sugar and salt "overwhelm" the taste buds.
True gourmets and natural growers deplore this method. Not only is it possibly covering up an inferior bird, but has health ramifications with the extremely high level of salt.
What to do?
It is recommended that one purchase as fresh a bird as possible that has been raised in an open, free environment, allowed to roam and graze at will and fed organic food. There's William Sonoma, Lobel's, Local Harvest, Cocofeed Turkeys and Heritage Turkeys and Meat for Starters.
Such birds will be more delectable and delicious that factory raised birds. Using such a bird precludes brining as a necessary step.
Using the below methods in addition, will only enhance the quality of the meat.
Not all can afford this type of quality. In this case, there are additional methods that may be quite effective for moist and juicy turkey without health repurcussions.
Drench Cheesecloth in unsalted butter or a good quality organic vegetable oil that's fresh, covering all exposed areas of the turkey with cloth, while roasting. (You can use a cheesecloth inside the bird to hold stuffing. Then, pulling out the last bits of stuffing are a breeze.)
Cook as usual. Low heat works better than high heat.
Remove cloth when you take bird from the oven. Your bird should be golden brown, moist and delicious. If you wish, you can roast bird for a minute or two without the cloth.
Using as little salt as possible, if any, in the marinade will help prevent the excessive "drawing" out of juices from the bird while cooking. Salt can be sprinkled later.
Use an oven roasting bag. Enclose turkey surrounded by cut vegetables inside the bag and fold over. Bake according to bag instructions. If properly done, meat will be moist and juicy.
As far as using a wine, Worcestershire or fruit juice marinade, oftentimes making a delicious gravy or sauce with left over juices and marinade reduction is especially delicious.
The meat will be sweet, tender and naturally flavorful, while the sauce or gravy will add just the right amount of sweet and salty seasoning.
Reduce your marinade to 50% while the turkey is cooking. Be sure not to use too much salt. Then, add natural turkey juices before serving.
We recommend against using brining if at all possible. Even though the meat may be tasty, it is a "fool-the-taste-buds" method. Additionally, the extremely high level of sodium in not to anyone's benefit.