November 23rd, 2009 - Laura Klein
I hope you are buying a heritage or a truly naturally raised, free range turkey for your holiday celebration! Heritage turkeys are the traditional “standard” breeds of turkeys which have not been “industrialized” for efficient factory production at the expense of flavor and the well-being of the turkeys.
When you buy heritage turkeys, you are making a difference because you are voting with your dollar! You are supporting small family farms, humane treatment of birds and preserving endangered lines of turkey breeds that would otherwise be on their way to extinction. Heritage and truly free range birds are absolutely delicious and have a lot more flavor than traditional store bought birds. If you brine your turkeys for flavor, you can skip this step with a heritage turkey if you wish. When you buy heritage, free range or truly natural or organically raised birds (they way mother nature intended), you won’t find any antibiotics, hormones, preservatives or additives. What you get is high quality, pure delicious, organic foods that’s much healthier for you and your family!
Here are a few recommended sources for your holiday needs. Heritage Foods, USA, the sales and marketing arm for Slow Food USA (one of my favorite non-profit food movements) will ship you your bird. You can get 15% off your first order if you buy through their website. They also sell through a number of retail outlets across the country (but I have not been able to locate a list). Heritage Foods launched the Heritage Turkey Project, which helped double the population of heritage turkeys in the United States and upgraded the Bourbon Red turkey from “rare” to “watch” status on conservation lists. Heritage Foods is dedicated to saving rare Native American foods like pigs, sheep, bison, cows, reef-net salmon, goats and all breeds of food livestock, so it is critical to support and buy from them.
To find a local purveyor of heritage and organic turkeys check out LocalHarvest.org. You can also check out Mary’s Turkeys, who predominantly sells on the West Coast, California, Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. Mary has a list of stores carrying her Heritage turkeys at MarysTurkeys.com.
If you want to know more about how to turkey this holiday season check out our new recipes and videos on OrganicAuthority.com TV.
Read More:How To Turkey This Holiday Season
November 21st, 2007 - Barbara Feiner
Click here to read Part 1 of this story, which covers traditional oven cooking.
Grilling a Turkey
Grilling a big bird for the holiday meal has become a popular cooking method. During grilling, a turkey cooks by indirect heat in an outdoor covered gas or charcoal grill, and a pan of water is placed beneath the grilling surface to catch the fat and juices that drip from the turkey as it cooks. The hot, smoky, steamy air cooks the bird.
Turkeys 16 pounds or smaller are the recommended size for safe grilling. A larger turkey remains in the “danger zone”—between 40°F and 140°F— for too long. Do not stuff the turkey. Because cooking occurs at a low temperature, it can take too long for the stuffing to reach 165°F. Also, smoked stuffing has an undesirable flavor.
Electric Roaster Oven
Generally, the cooking time and oven temperature setting are the same as for conventional cooking. Preheat the oven to at least 325°F. Place the turkey on the roaster oven rack or other meat rack so the turkey is raised out of the juices that collect in the bottom of the oven liner. Leave the lid on throughout cooking, removing it as little as possible to avoid slowing the cooking process. Always check the roaster oven’s use and care manual for the manufacturer’s recommended temperature setting and time.
More Ways to Cook a Turkey
Deep-fat frying, smoking, using an oven cooking bag, roasting in aluminum foil, microwaving, using a pressure cooker and cooking a frozen turkey without thawing it are other ways to get the big bird done.
For information about these methods, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at (888) 674-6854, or click here to read Turkey: Alternate Routes to the Table.
Information and photo courtesy of the USDA
Read More:Organic Turkey: Cook It Your Way! (Part 2)
November 20th, 2007 - Barbara Feiner
No matter how you cook your organic turkey, use a food thermometer to ensure the bird and stuffing reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. For reasons of personal preference, you may choose to cook turkey to higher temperatures.
These times are approximate and should always be used in conjunction with a properly placed thermometer.
Approximate Whole-Turkey Cooking Times (Fresh or Thawed in a Preheated 325°F Oven)
- 8 to 12 pounds: 2¾ to 3 hours (unstuffed), 3 to 3½ hours (stuffed)
- 12 to 14 pounds: 3 to 3¾ hours (unstuffed), 3½ to 4 hours (stuffed)
- 14 to 18 pounds: 3¾ to 4¼ hours (unstuffed), 4 to 4¼ hours (stuffed)
- 18 to 20 pounds: 4¼ to 4½ hours (unstuffed), 4¼ to 4¾ hours (stuffed)
- 20 to 24 pounds: 4½ to 5 hours (unstuffed), 4¾ to 5¼ hours (stuffed)
Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 of this story, which covers cooking your organic turkey in the electric roaster oven and outdoor grill, among other methods.
Information courtesy of the USDA
Read More:Organic Turkey: Cook It Your Way! (Part 1)
November 19th, 2007 - Barbara Feiner
It’s unsafe to thaw a frozen turkey at room temperature. Two safe ways to do so are in the refrigerator or in cold water. See the chart below for estimated thawing times.
Whether you have a frozen or fresh turkey, cook it within 1 or 2 days of purchase, or after thawing.
In the Refrigerator (40°F or Below)
Allow approximately 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds.
- 4 to 12 pounds: 1 to 3 days
- 12 to 16 pounds: 3 to 4 days
- 16 to 20 pounds: 4 to 5 days
- 20 to 24 pounds: 5 to 6 days
Keep the turkey in its original wrapper. Place it on a tray or pan to catch any juices that may leak. A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. If necessary, a turkey that has been properly thawed in the refrigerator may be refrozen.
In Cold Water
Allow approximately 30 minutes per pound.
- 4 to 12 pounds: 2 to 6 hours
- 12 to 16 pounds: 6 to 8 hours
- 16 to 20 pounds: 8 to 10 hours
- 20 to 24 pounds: 10 to 12 hours
Wrap your turkey securely, making sure the water is not able to leak through the wrapping. Submerge your wrapped turkey in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed. Do not refreeze.
Tune in tomorrow for information on cooking times.
Information and photo courtesy of the USDA
Read More:Thawing Your Organic Turkey
November 22nd, 2005 - Barbara Feiner
Ted Allen’s Leftover Turkey Sandwich
After you wash your Thanksgiving dishes and head to bed with a full stomach, something wonderful awaits the next day: leftovers.
“Thanksgiving is just one day, but we’re definitely going to be enjoying turkey for several days after that,” says Ted Allen, food and wine expert on “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and author of “The Food You Want to Eat: 100 Smart, Simple Recipes.”
“It’s one of the great pleasures of the holiday,” he continues, “and, of course, we’re going to do that primarily by making turkey sandwiches. So, when you’re shopping for your Thanksgiving dinner, remember to put some sliced bread in the cart.”
Allen has created a special leftover turkey sandwich recipe for the occasion. Note: Because you follow an organic lifestyle, Organic Authority recommends using certified organic ingredients, when available, in all recipes to minimize your risk of exposure to pesticides, chemicals and preservatives.
Ted Allen’s Leftover Turkey Sandwich
2 thick slices of bread, toasted
2 thick slices of leftover roasted turkey
2 tablespoons leftover cranberry sauce
2 tablespoons leftover mashed sweet potato
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
- Lay the two slices of toast side by side.
- Spread the cranberries on one slice and the mashed sweet potato on the other slice.
- Sprinkle with fresh sage, and place turkey on the cranberry side.
- Top with the sweet potato side and cut diagonally.
Read More:Organic Turkey Sandwiches