The following showed up in my inbox around Thanksgiving:
We saved the fat from the turkey butchering, plus he butchered one goose from which we saved the fat. It is in our cooler…Just give a yell when you're out and about and want to get it.
Now that's what I call a friend. We had just casually talked about using poultry fat for cooking and baking, and the next chance she had Deb set aside some wonderful healthy fat from her pastured birds. I had seen these critters face to beak, and know they had a good life. Plenty of fresh air, sunshine, pasture and garden goodies. It showed in the fat. It was virtually odorless, unlike the store bought turkey I had purchased for our Thanksgiving dinner (I didn't meet up with Deb in time to order a turkey for this year). The goose fat was a buttery, golden yellow from all the fresh grass it had eaten.
I started with around a gallon of fat, which I rinsed, cut into chunks and placed in a heavy bottom pot.
Deb said it should be done when the temperature hits around 210, but I didn't bother digging out the thermometer, I just went for “crispy brown bits”. I fished these little nuggets (gribenes) out with a slotted spoon.
Two went in the freezer, two in the fridge. I'll use this oil for baking and for frying. It is nearly odorless, and my hands felt softer after I worked with it (nice bonus, no?). Baked goods retain their softness longer when baked with poultry fat instead of vegetable oils (my mom and grandmother always cooked and baked with poultry fat and lard).
Why I am messing with all of this? Those that have been reading my posts for a while know that I'm trying to eat more local and less processed, and that extends to fats, too. I love my coconut oil and butter, but I feel that the more variety of high quality food in one's diet the better. That way you cover all your bases. I found out some interesting nutritional tidbits, too.
EatWild.com had this info on turkeys:
CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) is highest in products from grazing animals on a diet of fresh pasture, and it is very low in non-ruminants such as chickens and pigs. But turkeys appear to be an exception, having about 2.5 mg of CLA per gram of fat. (For comparison, chickens have 0.9 and pigs 0.6 mg. per gram of fat.) To date, no one has tested the CLA content of turkeys raised on pasture rather than in confinement, an experiment that begs to be done. It is possible that turkeys with a significant amount of greens in their diet will have even more CLA.
(Chin, S. F. et al. (1992)). “Dietary Sources of Conjugated Dienoic Isomers of Linoleic Acid, a Newly Recognized Class of Anticarcinogens)
Pasturing animals also tends to increase the ratio of omega three to omega six fats. Most of us have too much omega six fat in our diets, especially if we eat a lot of processed foods or factory farmed meat.
Now that I've tackled smaller critters, I think I'll be ready to tackle the small mountain of tallow that came with our quarter of grass fed beef. Wish me luck!