Healthy Living

Tricky Turkey Labels & Sneaky Salt

 Don't pay for salt water comparison

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and is a special time filled with family, fun and of course, turkey! But did you know that many of those tasty turkeys you buy from the store are also full of salt water?

When shopping for your holiday turkey it is very important to pay attention to labeling to outsmart “sneaky salt” as well as other marketing techniques that are misleading. Check out ONIE’s suggestions to get the most turkey for your money!  

Many frozen turkeys are injected with a salt water solution during processing. This means that although you paid for turkey meat you’re also getting a dose of added water and salt. For example, a 10 pound turkey may be injected with 15% salt-water, meaning you’re losing out on 1.5lbs of turkey meat for your money.

Another helpful tip to avoid salt-solution is to check the nutrition label on the back to see how much sodium has been added. A 4-oz serving of turkey contains 70mg of sodium naturally. If the label states that a 4-oz serving contains 190mg of sodium, then 120mg of the sodium is added salt.

If possible, choose a turkey that has not been injected with a brine solution. One of the biggest concerns with purchasing a non-injected turkey is that it will dry out. But did you know you can make your own salt-free solution to keep your turkey juicy? Try one of our tasty alternatives instead:

  1. Soak turkey overnight in an apple cider and water mixture (1 part apple cider and 7 parts water). Remove from water and roast as usual. 
  2. Stuff the cavity of the turkey with apple, orange or lemon slices, rosemary, thyme, and a few cloves of garlic. Roast as usual and discard fruit after cooking.
  3. Inject turkey with no-salt-added vegetable or chicken broth before roasting.

If you’re unable to find a reasonably priced turkey that hasn’t been injected with salt water solution, choose one with the smallest percentage of added solution. Remember, these turkey’s still have added salt and it is important to not “double brine,” or pre-soak the turkey in a salt-water solution prior to roasting.

Cartoon turkey in water

Other helpful tips:  

In addition to added salt-water solution there are other processing labels to keep an eye out for on your turkeys:

  1. Premium: This label has no established meaning.  Any company can call its turkey “premium.” It does not mean that it is the best meat around.
  2. Natural: This label also has no established meaning. “Natural” frozen turkeys may very well still be injected with added salt water solution, artificial flavoring, and other ingredients. Be sure to read the fine print on the labeling to know exactly what you are getting with your turkey. 
  3. No hormones administered: Hormones are prohibited in all poultry production. A turkey labeled “no hormones added” is no different from one without this label.

 For ONIE's Healthy Green Bean Casserole recipe click here!

We hope you have a happy and healthy thanksgiving!

The ONIE Project