How To Dry Your Own Apples The Old Fashioned Way A Heritage Thanksgiving

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A Heritage Thanksgiving

Pictures of big and beautiful turkeys with colorful feathers and tails are everywhere during Thanksgiving. For many of us, eating turkey with our family on this holiday is a time of honor and in some special ways makes us feel very connected to our ancestors. However, the turkey, which most likely served this holiday in the past, is different from most serving today. In fact, if you are under 50, you may not have tasted this turkey. Now called Turkey as Heritage, they are distant relatives of the typical Turkish Broad-Breasted White industrial variety, now sold in 99% of grocery stores, and until recently they were almost extinct. The seed is gone.

Our modern commercial turkey was popularized by poultry processors in the 1960s because of its abundant white meat, a favorite of most Americans. They are also desirable because of their white fur that does not discolor their skin. Unfortunately, to promote muscle growth, their bodies and growth rates are changed so that most of them are full of nutrients and antibiotics. They now have unusually large breasts, short breasts and short legs. Most of them were so large that their legs could not support their weight and they could not walk. They have to be artificially bred because they can no longer be bred naturally. So usually these birds just sit in one place and eat until they reach market weight so we can enjoy their delicious meat.

In contrast, heritage turkeys are raised on fresh grass and insects. They fly, breed, raise their own chicks, and even help control farmers’ pests. They are rewarded for their taste, texture and beautiful plumage. Turkish heritage varieties are Standard Bronze, Bourbon Red, Jersey Buff, Slate, Black Spanish, Narragansett and White Holland. Raising turkey as a heritage is time consuming and expensive, but it preserves the breed and maintains the American culinary tradition that dates back to the first years of the English settlement. According to American Livestock Conservation, Turkey must meet all of the following criteria to qualify as Turkish Heritage:

1. Natural Reproduction: Must reproduce and maintain genes through natural combination with a fertility rate of 70-80%. This means that the turkey sold as a “heritage” must be the result of a pair that naturally blends both the ancestor and the parent.

2. Long outdoor product life: Long productive life. Breeding hens are generally productive for 5-7 years and breeding for 3-5 years. They must also have the genetic ability to withstand the environmental constraints of external production systems.

3. Slow growth rate: Slow to moderate growth rate. Turkey’s legacy today reaches marketable weight in about 28 weeks, giving the bird time to build strong skeletal structure and healthy organs before building muscle mass. This growth rate is identical to the commercial varieties of the first half of the 20th century.

Raising turkeys in this way not only makes people virtuous, but also makes the birds more delicious. There are four factors that influence taste in an animal – the basic taste of its meat, its age, how it is fed, and what it eats. Older animals taste better than younger animals, and heritage turkeys are allowed to grow at a rate about twice as slow as the commercial Broad-Beasted White variety. The more the animal moves around, the more interesting its taste. Apparently turkeys raised on pastures get more exercise than those sitting in buildings unable to walk. Turkeys on a diet of green grass, plants and insects taste better than birds that feed on a whole grain diet.

In addition to the great taste, roasting a heritage turkey to perfection is easier than industrial whites. Because they have smaller breasts, there is a good balance between dark meat and white meat, so white meat cooks faster than dark meat and there is no need to cover the breast with paper to keep it from drying out while the rest of the birds are cooking. . If the breast is covered during baking, it should be made of oiled parchment paper, not foil, which is then removed 30 minutes before the turkey is finished roasting. Heritage turkeys are lighter and smaller, so fast cooking at high temperatures is better than slow roasting throughout the day. They should be cooked at 425-450 degrees F until the internal temperature reaches 140-150 degrees F. Remember not to let the tip of the thermometer touch the bone. (Note: This is different from the USDA guidelines of 160F-180F, but these temperatures will dry out the heritage turkeys. Heritage birds are free of disease and bacteria, so they do not need extreme temperatures to make them safe for use). .) Cooking time will not allow the stuffing to fully cook, so be sure to cook the stuffing first and place it inside the turkey before grilling. Alternatively, you can experiment by adding a quarter fruit, such as an orange or an apple, inside a turkey instead of eating. You can also try adding butter or oil under the skin of the breast to add flavor and moisture during roasting. As usual, bring the bird to room temperature before cooking and be sure to let it rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.

Thanks to the efforts of organizations such as the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy and Slow Food USA, heritage turkeys are growing in popularity, but by the late 1990s they had reached extinction. They knew we had to eat it to save them, because the more we ate, the more there would be. By continuing to eat turkey as a heritage and supporting breeders, the quality of the birds will improve.

Instead of pouring or frying deep-fried commercial white turkey for extra flavor, why not prefer turkey with a natural and moist flavor? Splurge once a year and make your Thanksgiving special. It will require some planning on your part if you want to try turkey as a heritage as they are not always available. It may be too late to buy one for this year, Thanksgiving, as farmers usually know by February, but now is the perfect time to look for options for 2009.

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