Thanksgiving is a great time of the year for us to remember what we hold most dear. It is also a great time to not waste those blessings.
Every year families roast turkeys for Thanksgiving. After the day is done, they have so much wasted turkey that they don’t know what to do with. Part of being self-sufficient is knowing how to use as much of your resources as possible - and that includes Thanksgiving turkey.
Below are some tips on how you can use every part of your turkey this Thanksgiving. Check out these ideas and add your ideas to the end of the list. Happy Thanksgiving!
Carving the Turkey
The first thing you’ll want to do in order to use all the parts of the turkey is get all the meat off the bird that you can. You will need a carving fork, a carving knife and a boning knife.
Legs & Thighs
1. Place the turkey on a flat surface or cutting board breast-side up. The legs should be facing away from you. Steady the turkey with your carving fork.
2. Cut along the skin that separates the leg and the carcass.
3. Lay down the knife and pull the leg away from the carcass until the join snaps out of the socket. If the turkey is too hot to touch, use a dry, clean towel to protect your hands.
4. Cut the rest of the leg, including the joint and the meat underneath the joint. The leg should easily pull away from the carcass now.
5. Lay the leg on a flat surface or cutting board with the knee facing you. Locate the joint that connects the drumstick bone and the thigh bone.
6. Place the knife directly above the joint and cut through all the way to down. You shouldn’t feel any resistance when you cut, if you do, you’re cutting into the bone and you need to re-position.
7. Repeat steps 2-6 for the other leg.
8. Now hold a drumstick vertically by the bone (ankle) and cut straight down along the bone. Rotate the bone and continue to cut down the bone until all meat is off the bone.
9. Lay a thigh on the cutting board skin-side down. Cut along both sides of the bone from one end to the other.
10. Hold the knife parallel to the cutting board and slip it underneath the bone. Cut along the length of the bone and pull the meat away. Repeat with the other thigh.
1. Grab a wing with your hand and gently pull it away from the carcass so you can see its attachment.
2. Work the tip of the knife in between the ball joint and the wing socket. Cut all the way through the joint and remove the wing. Repeat with other wing.
1. Steady the breast with your carving fork.
2. Cut along the breastbone in the center of the breast.
3. Using the tip of the knife, cut along one side of the rib cage. Gently push the breast away from the ribs.
4. Continue to cut along the rib cage and cut straight down to the socket where the wing was attached. Continue to cut through until the whole breast is detached. Repeat for the other side of the carcass.
You can also check out this video from Cooking.com for instructions:
There are a few things you can do with the bones. For example, you can make turkey stock with the bones. You’ll need:
• Turkey bones
The amount of vegetables you use depends on how many vegetables you’ll need. The more vegetables you add, the more flavorful your stock will be. Add all the ingredients into a bowl and fill with water to cover all the contents. Cover and let it simmer for 3-4 hours. Once it’s done, strain the contents and you have your stock!
Innards & Giblets
The giblets are the bag of innards inside the turkey that you pull out before you cook it. And, little known fact, you can create gravy from the giblets! You’ll need:
• Bag of turkey giblets
• 1 teaspoon sage
• 1 stalk celery, chopped
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 2-4 tablespoons seasoned flour
Place the giblets in a saucepan and add the salt, sage, celery and onion. Cover it with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2-3 hours. When the meat is starting to fall away from the neck bones, remove and strain the liquid. Chop the liver, pick the meat off the neck and gizzard and add to a blender. Puree the contents. Add flour seasoned with salt and pepper. After the turkey is done roasting, remove the fat drippings from the tray and add the blender contents to the tray. Place the tray back in the oven and roast for 15 minutes at 450-500 degrees. Thicken as desired with water.
Even the turkey feet can be useful. Throw them in a pot and boil them for an hour with vegetables and you’ll have yourself a tasty turkey feet soup! You can also remove the claws and dip them in batter and fry them.
Now it's your turn. What do you think? How could you use up all the parts of the turkey? Comment below and let us know your ideas.
The Self-Sufficiency Handbook