Sunday, October 31, 2010
Multiple Killings on Halloween
...and it didn't even make the news! Nine done in by an axe-wielding man, dismembered, and frozen. What is this ridge coming to?
Well, one thing it's coming to is turkey-less. This was D-Day for the turkeys--time to put them in the freezer. We had 13 and had optimistically thought we'd get them all done today. And we would have without a few technical difficulties, like running out of LP gas for the water to heat up and having to get a wood fire going instead. But nine is good, and we plan to finish the job tomorrow night. Now we would have finished today if we had stuck with our plan to work on the turkeys yesterday, but instead we took off downstate to Hinton at the suggestion of a friend to participate in an open mic session at the Chestnut Revival Coffee and Tea House. We had a great time--music, stories, poetry, and fun people--and rolled back in here around midnight. So. Guess you could say we played turkey hooky.
Here's mid-process, after plucking and gutting which I am sure you do not want to see:
The bird on the top left is being wrapped in plastic wrap after it was all nice and clean and scrubbed. I wish I'd been around when a friendly local butcher would wrap turkeys--these things are not easy to wrap. They have wings and awkward legs and they're heavy and slippery.
The other bird just came in from outside, where Larry did the plucking honors. They look pretty rough before being cleaned up. I scrub them well before and after cleaning the insides to be sure all bits and pieces are gone. There are always feathers to finish removing, hairs, etc. I found that it was easiest to lay the plastic wrap on the table, then flip the bird over and over on it to wind the wrap around the turkey. The plastic pulls the wings and legs tighter to the turkey's body, making it more compact.
After the plastic wrap, I wrap the birds in freezer paper. They are so hard to cover neatly but I try to get the wrap as tight to the bird as I can.
Last step: put the wrapped bird in a while plastic trash bag, weigh it, mark it and get it to the freezer.
This one weighed 20 pounds; they have ranged from 20 to 24.5 pounds. "Pretty" means this one cleaned up very well--one is marked "ugly" because the scalding water was too hot so some of the skin ripped when Larry tried to pluck it. It's still edible and without the skin you would not be able to tell one from another, but I don't want the ugly one for Thanksgiving dinner, just not as attractive as one of the "pretty" ones.
What will we do with 13 turkeys? Eat them. For us turkey isn't a special-event meal but an everyday meat, like some people might consider hamburger. We eat little beef or pork these days, opting instead for poultry and venison. This is our "stocking up" meat.