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Less than 1 month left till
Th a k s i v n g ! 

Maybe you've already ordered your whole Thanksgiving Package, or maybe you forgot about about it all together because you've been so busy with Halloween preparations. But ready or not, Turkey Time is coming up! 

In this email you'll find a bunch of great Thanksgiving information and tips to make this your best Thanksgiving yet:

- Turkey Brining: how and why to do it
- Pastured Turkeys: why grass is the greatest for our birds 
- Kitchen Tool Must-Haves from the Staff at Fresh Fork Market
- Thanksgiving Ordering information 

We'll have a few more of these newsletters to help you get ready, including DIY table decorations and crafts with kiddos," How and Why to Make an Oven Schedule", recipes for delicious side dishes and much more.

Three cheers for all we have to be thankful for this year!

- Your friends at Fresh Fork Market
 
How & Why to Brine a Turkey 
 The big salt bath. 

Any brine time is better than no brine time-- even just a few hours will impart moisture and result in more even cooking throughout your turkey. 

Brining, like marinating, is a technique of soaking a piece of meat in liquid for some time prior to cooking. Marinating is done to infuse flavor and moisture. Brining can also add some flavor but is primarily used to "cook" and tenderize the meat chemically. Another key benefit is that the additional moisture can help cook the meat more consistently throughout. 

Brining, in contrast to a marinade, technically includes lots of salt. This salt creates a chemical reaction that, for lack of any better words, "cooks" the meat, and reduces the cooking time. Think of cured meats: they aren't ever cooked with heat, but treated with salts to preserve the meat.

More importantly, the salt in a brine affects the molecular structure of the proteins in the meat. The salt weakens the structure of the proteins and hence allows the cooking to break them down more easily, producing a more tender piece of meat. As the proteins change, they also allow more water into the molecules. When the meat is roasted, the water is locked into the meat. It retains more moisture in the final product. I generally don't brine anything except large pieces of meat, such as a whole hog for a pig roast or perhaps a turkey. 

Any brine time is better than no time, so even if you only have 4-6 hours, that would help make your turkey cook more evenly with moisture throughout. 



Here is a brine recipe that I have used successfully on both turkey and pork: 

Trevor's Brine 

Ingredients

- 3 cups kosher salt (if using table salt, reduce the salt by 25%. If using sea salt, increase salt by 25%)
- 1 gallon apple cider vinegar
- 1 gallon apple cider
- 1 gallon water (usually in the form of ice, 10 lbs ice = 1 gallon water)
- cup crushed black peppercorns
- 1/8 cup mustard powder
- 6 lbs onions for each gallon of liquid
-  lbs peeled and crushed cloves of garlic

Note: Make enough that the entire turkey is covered in the liquid. If more is needed, use as a ratio. 

Directions

Brown the onions and garlic quickly in some hot olive oil over high heat. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. Add the cider vinegar and cider. Bring the mixture up to a soft boil and reduce the heat. 

Add the crushed peppercorns and mustard powder. Stir in. After a few minutes, add the salt gradually and stir until it all dissolves. You want the liquid to reach a saturation of salt. The mixture should be quite pungent and yellow in color. It will open up your sinuses some. 

Remove from the heat source and allow it to cool some. When it's warm, add ice, stir in as it dissolves and cover your meat with it; inject the meat in thicker areas. Refrigerate immediately, covering for up to 48 hours in brine. Rinse off brine and allow to come to room temperature before roasting.

Bar Cento Poultry Brine (courtesy of Chef Adam Lambert) 

Ingredients

- 1 gal water
- 1 cup of kosher salt
- cup granulated sugar
- 10 springs of thyme
- 2 lemons
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns

Note: This is a 1 gallon recipe. You with probably need to do a 3-4x batch of this to cover a large turkey.

Directions

Add all ingredients into a stock pot and bring to a simmer. Stir to ensure salt and sugar has been completely dissolved. Remove from heat and let stand for 30 min. Remove lemons from brine. In small batches, blend the brine for about 20 sec or so, just until all ingredients are fully mixed.

Next chill the brine either in your refrigerator or in an ice bath. Place your turkey in a vessel that is large enough to hold it and enough brine so that the bird is completely submerged. If necessary, weigh the turkey down with a few clean dinner plates so it stays submerged. 

Place the brining turkey in your refrigerator, or in a large cooler in the coldest part of your garage. A turkey can go down to 26 degrees before it freezes. Allow to brine for 24-48 hours, but remember any brine time is better than no brine time. 

Remove the turkey from the brine, pat dry, and allow to come up to room temperature before cooking (will take a few hours.)

Pastured Turkeys
Turkeys are skittish creatures.


You might not know this, but turkeys aren't the bravest (or the brightest) kids on the block. 

Turkeys make some decisions that we might call ill-advised. For example, where there is a storm or even at night when it's dark, turkeys will all huddle into a corner for protection. Unfortunately, the first ones to the huddle get suffocated underneath all the other birds. One of our farmers figured out a win-win to help protect his birds from running one another over: hiding under the corn. Leroy, one of the Amish farmers we work with, figured out that if he planted rye and oats in-between and underneath his field corn, then the turkeys would have plenty of grasses to forage in and have protection from those big-bad skies above. It was genius, and since then we've learned more and more about smartly managing turkeys.

Pasture raised turkeys are better for everyone-- the farmer, the soil, the turkeys and the customers. For the farmer, the more healthy pasture that a turkey grazes in, the less feed he or she will have to purchase. For the soil, as the turkeys pick and aerate the ground, they redeposit, ahem, organic material, in turn fertilizing the soil. And for us, because a turkey raised outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine and allowed to reach its full maturity at a natural age (rather than a force-fed younger term) is a more delicious bird. 

We have Hen & Tom Standard pasture-raised birds as well as Heritage Turkeys. Our Standard Hens (females-- run a bit smaller) and Toms (males-- run larger) are bred to have larger breasts and therefore more white meat. The Heritage Turkeys we raise are usually a bit smaller, and have a really flavorful juicy meat, with thicker and stronger legs than their Standard cousins. 

Kitchen Tool Must Haves
Tools of the trade. 


We asked around and got the answers: what you NEED in your kitchen.
 
Every kitchen store is brimming with all sorts of fun and sometimes pricey gadgets to cook up a storm this Thanksgiving. Here are some kitchen essentials, according to the staff at Fresh Fork. 

Trevor's List: 
  1. Butter (can that be considered a tool?) 
  2. Tin foil (for strategic thermal redistribution)
  3. Benchmade Knives are my favorite

Adam's List:
  1. Food mill
  2. Tamis
  3. Sharp knives
  4. Carving board with a juice catch or shallow pan to catch all the juices from the turkey while resting/carving (for gravy)
  5. Lots of trivets
  6. A hidden bottle of bourbon to help deal with the in-laws!!! 
  7. A good ladle for gravy or a gravy boat with a napkin tied around to prevent dripping. 
  8. Motivated family members to help with dishes! 

Parker's List:
  1. Good carving knives
  2. Swiss Style Vegetable Peeler (Swiss style refers to the horse shoe shape.)
  3. Containers and Zip-locks for leftovers
  4. Beg, borrow or steal a good roasting pan (try to avoid the disposable aluminum type) 
  5. A strainer for smooth gravy


Cat's List: 
An All Local Thanksgiving 
All trussed up and ready to party. 


Have you placed your order yet?


 

Not yet? There's still time! 

 

Just click here, place your $25 deposit, and you're ready to go! 

 

If you want to pay for the whole order up front, click here to sign into your account, add your stuff, and check out!


 

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Already placed it? Great! 

 

You'll be getting a confirmation email with all of your pick up details closer to the big day.  

 

A reminder-- all the turkeys and packages are delivered fresh (not frozen) the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving. 

Click here for more details.

 

 
Our Winter Season begins in next week! 
Click here to learn more & click here to sign up. 
Please pass this along to friends & family! 


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