Preparing the Perfect Turkey
We are happy to again offer healthy delicious Pasture-Raised Turkey from Ferndale Farms. The family has been raising turkeys on their 3rd generation farm since 1939. Ferndale turkeys are grown in harmony with the seasons, –they are pasture-raised during the summer months and grown in a free-range environment during the winter months. Because of this artful approach, Ferndale produces slow-growing turkeys with robust immune systems that don’t need any antibiotics or other unnatural additives or interventions. You will absolutely be able to taste the difference!
The best way to thaw your bird is in the refrigerator. The turkey will thaw about 4 lbs per day. If you are pressed for time, you can thaw your bird in cold water: submerge the unopened turkey in cold water and change the water every 30 minutes. This method thaws at a rate of 2 lbs per hour. Once it is fully thawed, remove any giblets and pat the turkey dry.
Now for the fun part, deciding how to season and cook your turkey! While there are more recipes than you can shake a drumstick at, we’ve sketched out a few of the basic methods here. Feel free to improvise with your favorite herbs and seasonings, or order a brine kit or seasoning mix to keep it simple.
Brining a turkey adds moisture, tenderness and flavor, preventing it from drying out during roasting and allowing for more flexibility in cooking time. A basic brine is made by mixing 1 cup of kosher or sea salt per gallon of water (plus any of your favorite herbs and spices) and fully submerging the turkey in a bag or non-corrosive container that you can fit into your refrigerator. Let it soak for 8-12 hours, then remove the turkey and rinse it under cold water. Pat it dry inside and out and let it rest for 30-40 minutes before cooking.
For roasting, rub butter or olive oil on the outside of the bird, covering the whole surface and, if desired, sprinkle it with salt and pepper or other herbs and seasonings. Place the turkey on a roasting rack, breast side up, with a piece of foil tented over it. Bake at 325 degrees F for about 14 minutes per pound. This creates a crispy skinned bird that looks beautiful on the table, but keep an eye on the breast temperature so it does not dry out. You can also baste the bird with the pan juices every 30 minutes or so. Near the end of the cooking time, begin checking the temperature of the breast and thigh. The center of the breast should reach 165 degrees F and the thigh 170-175 degrees F. After you remove the turkey from the oven, let it rest for 30-40 minutes so the bird absorbs the juices released during cooking.
Another way to successfully roast your turkey or turkey breast is to use a parchment bag. The unbleached, chlorine-free, grease-proof paper seals in the juices to create delicious, tender, and moist meat, plus there is no need to baste during cooking. See package for instructions.
If you’re feeling adventurous you can grill or deep fry your turkey with amazing results. To grill, make sure you have enough briquettes or gas to last for 3-4 hours. If feasible, place an aluminum drip pan underneath the grill rack and lay the turkey breast side up on the rack. Insert a meat thermometer into the breast meat and let it cook for about 3 hours. At this point check the temperature regularly to make sure it reaches the indicated temperatures, above. Let it rest for 20+ minutes and then carve.
You’ll want to use a deep fryer that can hold enough oil to completely cover the turkey. Be sure to fully thaw and pat the turkey dry so that no water enters the hot oil. Check that any innards and plastic ties are removed and slowly lower the turkey into 350 degree F oil. Cook the bird for 3-4 minutes per pound until the breast reaches 165 degrees F and the thigh 170-175 degrees F. Slowly remove the turkey from the fryer and let it drain. After about 20 minutes’ rest, it’s ready to carve!
As always, we have myriad options for rounding out your holiday meal with recipes for your fresh organic produce, drinks, dessert and flowers for the table. From our family to yours, have a safe and joyful celebration!
How To Add Farm Stand products to Your Delivery:
Full Circle members – head on over to our online Farm Stand Market to customize your upcoming delivery. Market is open from noon on Thursday until 6pm on your cutoff date. After you confirm your produce items, click the orange button “Confirm and Continue To Other Farm Products” to add farm products to your delivery.
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