Story last updated at 11/26/2008 - 10:43 am
The winter holidays are a great time to extend our food dollars by purchasing turkey. To date, I've seen prices as low as 59-cents a pound. And, by the time this article appears, prices may slip even more.
For those with large families or those who are feeding a number of people, the free turkey promotions can make good budgeting sense. If you are able to spend the $150, or whatever the promotion requires, a free turkey can provide some low-cost meals following the holiday dinner. Whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving, now is the time to buy.
At this time of year, there is a great deal of information available on how to prepare a turkey and food safety. If you have questions, the Cooperative Extension Service provides a Food Safety and Food Preservation Hotline, 888-893-3663 or contact us online at Ask an Expert, www.uaf.edu/ces/hhfd.
This article focuses on leftovers - assuming there are some! My husband and I always cook a large turkey just for the two of us. Needless to say, we had lots of leftovers. Every year, I can turkey that can be used for soups, stews, turkey and dumplings, and pot pies.
Also, I preserve turkey stock - mainly because I am not a fan of the preservatives used in processed stock. And now, I'm looking for every opportunity to save some cash. Another reason to can turkey and broth at home is to stock your pantry for emergencies.
The United States Department of Agriculture recommends having items on hand that don't require refrigeration and can be eaten cold or heated on the outdoor grill or camp stove.
Further, consider what you can do ahead of time to store your food safely in an emergency. Shelf-stable food, boxed or canned milk, water, and canned goods should be part of a planned emergency food supply. Many Alaskans are familiar with "putting up" foods. Knowing how to preserve foods and practicing food preservation is a proactive approach to emergency preparedness.
Following are the steps for canning turkey, and preparing and canning stock.
Canning Turkey Stock
• Place the large carcass bones in a large stockpot. Add enough water to cover bones. Cover the pot.
• Simmer 30 to 45 minutes or until meat can be easily stripped from the bones. Remove bones and pieces. Cool broth.
• Skim off and discard excess fat. Strip remaining meat from the bones and add to broth, if desired. Reheat broth to boiling.
• Fill prepared jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process as recommended.
• Process at 11 PSI dial-gauge pressure canners and 10 PSI for weighted-gauge pressure canners: 20 minutes for pints, 25 minutes for quarts.
Note: Do not add additional meat to this product as that changes the pH level.
• Remove all the turkey from the bone and wrap tightly in aluminum foil.
• In a 375 F oven, heat the turkey to an internal temperature of 165 F. Keep the meat wrapped in the foil to keep it moist.
• While the turkey is heating, fill a large saucepan with turkey or chicken broth, water, or water to which bouillon cubes have been added for seasoning. Bring to a boil. You will need 1 to 1-½ cups broth per pint jar.
• Pack the heated turkey meat into hot sterilized jars. Leave 1-inch headspace. Ladle the broth over the meat.
• Add ½ teaspoon salt per pint jar. Remove air bubbles. Seal with 2-piece lids and process as directed.
• Process at 11 PSI for dial-gauges and 10 PSI for weighted gauges: 75 minutes for pints, 90 minutes for quarts.
To ensure a safe product, have your pressure canner dial gauge tested for accuracy. Weighted gauges do not require testing.
For help, contact Sonja at 907-796-6221 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Sonja Koukel is the Health, Home & Family Development Program educator for the Cooperative Extension Service UAF Juneau District.