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Trail Bytes, Nov. 2023: Let's Talk Turkey
November 22, 2023

Let’s talk turkey.

If you’re vegetarian, let’s talk turkey alternatives. See recipe options at the bottom of the newsletter.

Thanksgiving is a perilous time for turkeys, and equally trepidatious for young couples who take their first turn at inviting the whole family—both sides of the family—to their home for the all-important feast. The question on everyone’s mind as they gather round the table is, “Will the turkey be tender, or will the turkey be dry?”

There are telltale signs if the turkey is dry: An unusually high demand for gravy. The boys at the kid’s table have a sword fight with their slices of turkey. Uncle Joe swipes his turkey through his mashed potatoes before forking it into his mouth. Grammy is having trouble with her dentures. No one will say out loud if the turkey is dry. That will be discussed on the ride home.

But fear not, the rewards if the turkey is tender make the whole enterprise worthwhile. You will be praised and enthusiastically encouraged to host again next year. And if the turkey is not-so-tender, your mashed sweet potatoes and pecan pie may be enough to win them back next year, and besides, it is your tender heart that they love most about you.

Dehydrating Turkey

When it comes to dehydrating turkey, the question is, “Will it rehydrate well, or will it resemble splintered plywood?” We’ve learned a few tricks over the years to avoid turning turkey into woodchips, such as pressure-cooking, and adding fine breadcrumbs or ground oats to ground turkey before cooking and dehydrating it. See Dehydrating Ground Chicken & Turkey in this back issue of Trail Bytes.

Turkey chili rehydrated in Thermos food jar.

This month’s recipe, Turkey Chili, demonstrates another way to achieve tender turkey in a dehydrated meal. Anything dried in chili rehydrates exceptionally well. Even beans turn out tender without bursting open. The recipe recommends shredding the turkey to maximize absorption of chili flavor, which also increases its surface area for better rehydration.

Try the new recipe. It’s delicious.

Turkey Chili Recipe

Looking for gifts or useful accessories to up your food dehydrating game? Check out my top picks available on Amazon. Many are on sale now.

View the Top Picks: Backpacking Chef Shopping Guide

Let’s Get Started Dehydrating Food

Here’s the link to the 1-hour Zoom presentation to the Sea Kayak Assoc. of British Columbia on YouTube:

Let's Get Started Dehydrating Food

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you for reading Trail Bytes. Dominique and I wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving and best of luck with the turkey!

Freundliche Grüsse,

Chef Glenn & Dominique

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Turkey Chili Alternatives for Vegetarians

For this month’s recipe, substitute Harmony House Chicken-Flavored TVP Bits in place of the turkey.

Rehydrate 1½ cups (150 g) TVP with 1½ cups (355 ml) water before adding it to the chili.

More Vegetarian Chili Recipes

Green Lentil Chili

Beyond Burger Chili

Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) Chili

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