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The turkey has been so manipulated through selective breeding that it little resembles its wild ancestors that nourished the pilgrims. Properly raised, turkey is a good source of protein, fat, and nutrients. But the modern turkey, produced by artificial breeding, kept in captivity, and fed substandard feed laden with pesticides, offers questionable health benefits. Even when preservatives are added, turkey leftovers quickly develop an off taste and spoil, due to a high proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids in its fat. Commercial turkey is not a good choice for daily fare.
For holidays and special meals, choose a free-range (preferably pasture-fed) organic bird. If properly fed, its fat will contain the whole family of omega-3s, including linolenic acid, EPA, and DHA. These are what make turkey prone to rapid spoilage, so it’s best to choose a size of bird that can be eaten in a day or two. Turkey fat is also a good source of antimicrobial palmitoleic acid. Turkey provides relatively large amounts of the amino acid tryptophan, which has a relaxing, soporific effect. This is one reason people tend to go to sleep after Thanksgiving dinner!
The following recipes are designed to allow you to stretch a whole turkey over more than just a day or two — by preparing the bird in parts rather than all at once.
Preparation of turkey
Begin with a very fresh, organic, pasture-fed turkey of about 15 pounds. Using a sharp, flexible knife, remove as much of the skin as possible and the two breasts. Using a cleaver type knife, remove the wings, drumsticks, and thighs, and chop the carcass into several pieces. Use the breasts and skin to make stuffed turkey breast; the wings, carcass, and giblets to make turkey stock; and freeze the thighs and drumsticks for later use.
- wings, carcass and giblets from a 15 pound turkey
- ½ cup vinegar
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- several pieces celery, chopped
- several sprigs fresh thyme, tied together
- Place all ingredients in a large pot and fill with cold, filtered water.
- Let sit one hour.
- Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the top.
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer slowly for several hours or overnight.
- Strain into containers and refrigerate until fat rises to the top and congeals.
- Remove fat.
Turkey stock may be stored for several days in the refrigerator or several months in the freezer.
Published in Health & Healing Wisdom
Winter 1998 | Volume 22, Number 4
Copyright © 1998 Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, Inc.®
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