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It’s not just for holidays anymore

 

It’s time to talk turkey about rising food costs. It wasn’t that long ago when you met an acquaintance on the street, small talk consisted of the weather. Now it seems all that anyone can talk about is the skyrocketing price of food. Some of us have long been budget shoppers, clipping coupons and store-hopping to get the best sales. I’m willing to bet for those who haven’t been doing this all along, they’re going to start.

Having a food budget does not mean that we have to buy lesser quality foods; we just need to buy quality foods and be smart about the way we prepare and store them.

Atlantic Canadians have long been fans of turkey, but often it gets relegated to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Why is that? Turkey is a prime example of a high-quality food that can be stretched out over many meals. When we were planning this story, we found turkey for $1.89 a kg versus beef which was $6.86 per kg. You can certainly buy pieces of turkey—legs and breast are readily available—but you are paying to have the butcher break it down for you. The smarter option is to buy a whole turkey and cut it up yourself; it may sound intimidating but it really is not difficult. A sharp boning knife and a set of kitchen shears will make the job much easier.

For step-by-step instructions and photos, visit canadianturkey.ca.

A fresh turkey can easily be taken apart and then frozen, but you can also use this method with a frozen turkey; let it thaw just enough to be able to cut it safely and then refreeze it as soon as you are finished.

Once broken down, you can freeze the meat and use it in a minimum of five to six different meals. On a side note, if you don’t have a vacuum sealer, this is the perfect time to invest in one, breaking down larger portions of meats to smaller portions, and buying meats on sale and freezing them will stretch your dollar. Vacuum sealing them ensures they stay fresh and last longer.

Once broken down, the turkey will consist of two breasts, two wings, two thighs, two drumsticks, and a carcass that can be turned into soup or stock, yielding at least five or six meals. Remember to add the neck and gizzards to your stock for additional flavour. Think outside of the box when planning meals: roast turkey is delicious, but below you will find a recipe using breast for fajitas, and we are turning thighs into nachos. Keep in mind that just about any recipe calling for beef, chicken or pork can also be made with turkey.

Turkey is an extremely lean meat and while people think that the white meat is healthier than the dark meat (thighs, legs), neither has more or fewer calories than its counterpart. Turkey is very high in vitamins including B3, B6, and B12.

We are extremely fortunate here in Atlantic Canada—we have a very healthy supply of turkey—and the majority raised locally stays here at home. Turkeys grown here have very rigourous standards; no antibiotics are used in their raising.

Many people have been enjoying Butterball turkeys for years but may not realize they are in fact turkeys that are grown right here.

Nova Scotia producers contribute approximately 3.7 million kgs or 700,000 head of turkey annually to the Butterball brand, which has been a part of Canadian family celebrations for more than 65 years.

Next time you’re at the grocery store, remember to “Think Turkey.”

Turkey Nachos

Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Spicy Mayo

Grilled TurkeyBreast Fajitas

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