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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Don't Waste that Turkey!

This past Sunday we had our Thanksgiving meal at church.  Ethan volunteered to cook a turkey, and I got ready to can up some turkey and broth.

Although we have yet to raise our own turkeys, I have been canning turkey for at least 7 years according to this blog post.  It almost pains me to see a cooked turkey disposed of without continuing to cook it down to get off the extra meat and to make broth.  There are often so many meals left on a turkey - meat for casseroles and sandwiches and broth for flavoring rice and noodles or for making soup.

When it comes to not wasting our turkey, a bit has changed over the years: We have switched from cooking our turkey in the oven to cooking it in a roaster, from cooking the broth in a pot to just continuing to cook it in that same roaster (You can find my photo tutorial on cooking broth on our CGF recipe blog.), and even my turkey soup recipe has changed from my original recipe.

A few things still remain the same though.  I still get excited when I have stocked my pantry with canned turkey and turkey broth, and Ethan continues to declare his turkey feelings every year.

If you are cooking a turkey this Thanksgiving, I encourage you to not throw out the carcus but instead try making your own turkey broth.  If you don't pressure can (or aren't ready to try out my series of posts on Beginning Pressure Canning), you can always freeze your broth and leftover turkey meat or just go ahead and make a big pot of soup to enjoy. 

CGF Turkey and Vegetable Soup
  • 1 qt turkey broth
  • 1 pt turkey
  • 1/4 cup + 2 T dehydrated carrots (1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup +2 T dehydrated green beans (1 1/2 cup fresh or fozen) or 1 pt green beans with juice
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh chopped onion
  • 2 cup frozen sweet corn
  • 1 qt canned diced potatoes or 4 cups raw
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 1/4 cup lentils
  • 1/4 cup wild rice
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 1 bay leaf (remove before serving)

** This recipe is based on the different ways I have preserved my produce.  Ingredients can be substituted, omitted, or additional ingredients added depending on availability and tastes.

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Tools of My Trade

Although a roaster might be hard to find at a garage sale or from an individual no longer needing one, you might be able to snatch one at an estate auction. I placed a 22 qt roaster (vs the 18 quart) on my Christmas list. I use it for multiple projects, and not just ones where I need to heat with it. I can't remember how I functioned with out it! Here is the link to the roaster I own, and I am very happy with it..

Much of what I preserve is pressure canned due to the foods' low acidity in order to kill all bacteria that would cause dangerous food born illnesses. Foods can be safely canned by using the recommended times and pressures given for your altitude. I have a couple older Mirro pressure canners given to me that work wonderfully, and my mom has a newer one that she loves as well. If you do some asking around, you might find someone who has given up canning and has one available, or you can look for one like the one pictured below. It should hold around 9 pint jars or 7 quart jars. This link will take you to my series of posts on Beginning Pressure Canning.

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