From the Blog

Turkey Day Tips: Easy Brining & More

Allison Gnade, New Pi Editor November 14 Category: Recipes
Local Ferndale Turkeys available at the Co-op

There’s a thousand ways to cook a turkey.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the internet’s immense diversity of turkey cooking methods, here’s an easy one –

this info is actually ALL on the turkey bags, free at the Co-op, to carry your turkey home, along with turkey carving tips and other helpful tidbits:


If you are interested in a few other cooking methods, the folks that raise our free-range turkeys at Ferndale actually grill their holiday turkey every year for 2 reasons:

  1. It’s extremely easy – Put it on and walk away.
  2. Cooking it on the grill frees up oven space for everything else.

For their super simple grilling method, read to the bottom here.

Our meat department counters are also currently sporting some super easy brining kits – on sale! – for easy preparation of an extra tender and juicy turkey.

Bill Baron's Turkey Brines

The kits come with a salt and brown sugar brine mix, a rub made with sage, thyme, onion, celery, and organic canola, brining and cooking directions (the Apple Sage kit calls for adding apple juice), and – most importantly – a huge zip-top bag for brining that bird.

That’ll save you from having to keep around a box of turkey-size zip-top bags all year, which are needed for pretty much nothing, so chalk that one up for kitchen space efficiency.

The most important tip of all though: start with a flavorful bird.

Our turkeys at the Co-op are all local, free-range, and humanely raised on pasture, and that difference truly comes through in their flavor. They don’t have any of the unnecessary additives found in mainstream turkeys.

Here’s the ingredient list off a conventional brand turkeys:

“Ingredients: Turkey, contains up to 8% of a solution of water, contains 2% or less of salt, natural flavors, modified food starch, sodium phosphate to enhance tenderness and juiciness.”

That “up to 8% solution of water” means they’ve pumped the bird full of water, and up to 8% of what you’re paying for is water. Not to mention the additive of natural flavors and sodium phosphate.

Why is that added?

They tell you right there – they add chemicals to “enhance tenderness and juiciness” to compensate for original quality.

Now here’s the ingredient list on our local Ferndale turkeys:

“Ingredients: Turkey.”


Now that’s my kind of ingredient list.

If you start with a quality bird, you won’t need to do much to it. Ours are naturally flavorful, naturally tender, and naturally juicy.

Here at your co-op our turkey choices are frozen local organic turkeys from Larry Schultz, and fresh or frozen local turkeys from Ferndale Market (meet them and their farm in our blog post here). 


One last tip: for homemade stuffing, pick up one of our bags of New Pi bread cubes.

They’re made from our house-made breads baked with local, organic flour from Early Morning Harvest in Panora, Iowa, and they’re already cubed, already dried, and only $2.49.

In spite of holiday and laden tables chaos,

it’s helpful to remember that this holiday is really about simplicity: good food, and feeling thankful for the gifts life’s given us.

With that thought in mind, thank you for being part of your Co-op’s life – you’re simply the only reason we’re here.

Allison Gnade, New Pi Editor About the Author

Allison Gnade, New Pi Editor

Allie worked on organic farms in Italy and Sweden through WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms), received her BA in English at Grinnell College, and studied the arts in London and Florence, eating her way across Europe and Scandinavia. Returning home to Iowa, she loved working at Grinnell Heritage Farm with her now-husband as their first farm interns, then moved to Iowa City to work at your local, independent cooperative grocery! She helped coordinate New Pi events and edited the Co-op's local food magazine and blog for eight years. She bakes tarts for Iowa City’s Farmers’ Market, covers communications for the International Writing Program, and volunteers on the Board for Table to Table food rescue.