Danelle Cutting: A turkey brine with citrus fruits

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Are you ready for your Thanksgiving feast? I know I am and to prepare for the holiday extravaganza, the Cooperative Extension office has been testing some turkey brining recipes.

Of course, it started out as a trial because we wanted to see what turkey brine would taste the best. I just knew my tried and true brining recipe would come out on top, but Toi Degree had a few recipes up her sleeve.

Being the local food and horticulture agent, I always recommend buying as much local as possible, and my brine recipe calls for a few items that can still be purchased locally.

As for the main ingredient, I asked some of our local producers if they would have turkeys this year, but many opted not to produce them because they are so hard to raise and costly.

There may be some other producers in different counties where you can get your local turkey, but you need to make some phone calls to be sure that you get the turkey you want.

Most of the herbs I used can be purchased locally, and some growers may even have some garlic available.

Here is my tried and true turkey brining recipe for a 20-pound turkey. I’ve even listed my secret ingredients.

Orange Turkey Brine

2 12 oz. cans orange juice concentrate

2 oranges, thinly sliced

2 lemons, thinly sliced

2 limes, thinly sliced

3 Tbsp. dried or fresh thyme

2 Tbsp. black pepper

6 garlic cloves, minced

4 bay leaves

2 onions, quartered

1 1/2 cups kosher salt

1 1/2 gallons water

Combine all of the ingredients into a large stockpot, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and allow it to cool to room temperature. Pat dry your thawed turkey, and remove giblets. Place the turkey breast down into the brine; I used a cooler to brine my turkey. Make sure that some of the spices and fruit get into the cavity. Place the turkey into the refrigerator, or keep on ice. Allow the turkey to marinate for at least 1 to 2 days before cooking. When you are ready to cook the turkey, remove it from the brine, and allow it to drain. I leave some of the fruit slices inside of the cavity while cooking.

If you would like an extra spice rub on the turkey, I would melt one stick of butter and add 1 Tbsp. dried thyme, 1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder, and 1/2 Tbsp. ground sage. Mix well, and coat the top of the turkey before cooking.

When brining a turkey, I have always had good luck with keeping them moist. They will cook faster than a traditional turkey recipe.

If would like more information on items at the Farmers’ Market or trying this Orange Brine, contact your local Cooperative Extension Agent, Danelle Cutting, at 704-216-8970.


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