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To Brine or Not to Brine

It's the day before the big meal and those of us who were nominated to cook for our families (ME!!) are preparing for the big gorge. The important preparations for turkey day is one, make sure that you bought the turkey, two make sure that it's not frozen, and three brine the turkey. Brining is basically letting your turkey take a nice long salt and herb bath before roasting it the next day. Brining a turkey adds moisture and infuses a lot of flavor. There have been times when I have over cooked my turkey, usually because I'm doing too many things at once, which is easy here on the farm. Other times I may have been enjoying a little too much wine with my guests and well, just wasn't paying attention. Brining has saved my butt more than once. If you get to the grocery store in time, you can buy brining kits that include a large bag and the spices. However, if your store is out, than you can improvise and use a kitchen trash bag. Make sure it's not the scented kind! There are several turkey brine recipes that you can look up on the internet. This year, I was lucky and they had the brining kit available. I always add to recipes and make them my own. For this brine mixture, I will be adding sliced oranges and lemons to the brine. I love the way poultry tastes with citrus. The next big question is, where do I put the turkey once it's in the bath? Well, it really depends on how big your turkey is and how much room you have in your fridge. This year, my turkey is small because I'm, um... adhering to the small gathering guidelines. However, in the past, my turkey was way too big to brine in the fridge, so I used a cooler. You do need to make sure that you have plenty of ice on hand if you are using the cooler method to keep your turkey at a safe temperature while brining. Usually you brine for one hour per pound of turkey. The other important step is to rinse the brine off of your turkey before roasting. So, in my ever so humble opinion, brine your turkey for sure. Especially if you want a bit of a safety net to ensure that your turkey will not turn out dry. One other quick tip, I always stuff a butter an herb mixture under the skin on the turkey, because everything tastes better with butter. I hope that you and yours have a blessed Thanksgiving day. Although these times are difficult, we have many things to be thankful for.


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