Holidays drum up visions of family and friends gathered around a delicious home-cooked meal- a meal that often takes hours, or even days, to prepare. This holiday season, save your sanity and brine your mouth-watering turkey, chicken or goose in no time.

Brining, a cooking method in which chefs soak meat in a water-based salt mixture, creates a more flavorful and moist turkey than roasting, frying, grilling or smoking alone. In the past, brining hasn’t always been easy or budget-friendly because of the time and ingredients that go into creating the brine base – a salt-based mixture combined with herbs, spices and sugars.

Brining has now become time-effective, cost-efficient and sanity-saving thanks to products such as the Spice Hunter’s (www.spicehunter.com) new Turkey Brine, an artful blend of sea salt, orange peel, cranberries, brown sugar and apples with spices and herbs that enhance poultry’s delicate flavor profile.

How does brining work? The salt in a brine mixture interacts with the poultry’s muscle protein to increase the water-holding capacity of its cells, so the bird doesn’t turn into the dreaded dry meat the family secretly struggles to swallow. A brined turkey retains up to twice the amount of moisture than a roasted bird. Brining also saves time by eliminating the need to baste, freeing up precious moments for preparing other dishes, decorating and last-minute shopping.

Pre-packaged brine blends typically include detailed instructions for the amount of mixture needed based on the size of the bird. Boiling water is the only additional ingredient needed in most cases. For best results, let the bird soak in the brine mixture overnight. Brining bags are available, but you can save some cash by using a clean garbage bag or a picnic cooler instead. To prepare, rinse off the brine, then bake, roast or barbeque the poultry for the most delectable bird to grace the table.

A favorite among celebrity chefs Alton Brown and Martha Stewart, brining has earned quite the culinary reputation. This holiday season, every home cook can be the star chef of his or her own feast by putting a moist, perfectly seasoned turkey back in the spotlight. – Courtesy of NewsUSA.


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