Sunday, December 1, 2013

Your Turkey Carcass Is Pure Gold! -- Plus Some Quick Recipes

Thanksgiving is over for most of us, and you've probably got the carcass sitting in the fridge with the last bits of meat still to use. Well, think about canning what's left...It's easy!

Place your carcass in a large pot and add water to cover. If desired, add some celery, onion, or carrots (in big pieces so you can fish them out later). Additionally, add some salt, pepper, and any seasonings that catch your fancy: thyme is always good. Don't use sage, however, because it tends to get bitter during the canning process. But also, don't worry if you've got some on already. Maybe just discard the skin if it's clinging to it.

Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat to a good simmer, and cover the pot. Let the carcass simmer for several hours, adding water as needed to keep the bones covered.

Remove the carcass from the pot and allow it to cool enough to handle; pick the meat off the bones. In the meantime, cool broth and skim off the fat as it appears on top. Strain the broth and put it back into the pot. Return the bits of turkey to the broth and reheat to boiling.

Fill pint or quart jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Add salt if desired (taste to see if it needs it), using 1/2 teaspoon per pint and 1 teaspoon per quart. Remember to wipe the rims before screwing on the lids and rims.

Following safe pressure canning instructions (you can find good ones in my book The Amish Canning Cookbook,, process pints for 20 minutes and quarts for 25 minutes at 10 pounds pressure, adjusting the psi as necessary for your altitude as follows: Up to 1,000 feet, process at 10 pounds pressure; above 1,000 feet, process at 15 pounds pressure. If you don't know what the altitude is where you live, you can go to and find your location anywhere in the world.

There are many uses for jars of turkey and broth. You can thicken it with flour or cornstarch, add some cooked vegetables, and bake it in a pie crust (top and bottom crust, or just a top crust); you can throw in about 1/2 cup of rice and make turkey rice soup; or thicken slightly (using cornstarch is best in this instance), throw in some veggies, and bake with biscuits on top.

Turkey is still a fairly inexpensive cut of meat, and if you take the extra time to can your broth and leftover bits of meat, it becomes one of the cheapest protein sources around. I love that!

May you and yours be blessed this holiday season!

Simply yours,

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