A popular way to cook turkey giblets is to boil them, which prepares them for use in gravy or just to eat plain. These pieces of meat need to be cooked properly to keep you safe from foodborne illnesses.
You can boil turkey giblets and then use them in a stew or add them to gravy to spread over turkey meat.
What Are Turkey Giblets?
The giblets of the turkey are actually three different organs: the liver, heart and gizzard. The gizzard is essentially the stomach of the turkey. While it might not sound appetizing, turkey giblets are great in recipes after they've been boiled. Plus, organ meats provide high amounts of vitamin A and B vitamins.
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Hearts are made of muscle tissue and are rich in blood. Blood carries nutrients through the body, which is why heart tissue is more nutritious compared to meat. The liver creates bile, which doesn't sound appealing, but it's loaded with vitamins and minerals.
The gizzard is particularly high in protein. As reported by the the USDA, 4 ounces contain 21 grams of protein and no carbs. By comparison, the same amount of raw giblets has 20.5 grams of protein, 140 calories and almost 6 grams of fat.
By eating just 4 ounces of turkey giblets, you can meet the recommended daily values (DV) for some vitamins. According the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), these dietary recommendations apply to adults and children over the age of four. Individual recommendations, however, may vary.
As the FDA notes, you should aim for about 6 micrograms of vitamin B12 daily. A 4-ounce serving of turkey giblets provides over 14 micrograms. While the FDA recommends 5,000 International Units (IU) of vitamin A per day, giblets contain almost 15,000 IU.
Turkey giblets won't satisfy the daily value for some nutrients, but they still provide a significant amount. Riboflavin is one example. The recommended daily value is 1.7 milligrams, and giblets contain 1.57 milligrams per serving.
How to Properly Cook Giblets
You can purchase giblets at the store or from a butcher. Cooking them properly is essential because poultry products can be contaminated with salmonella. Eating under-cooked giblets can make you sick and even send you to the hospital.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 1.2 million people are infected with salmonella each year. This pathogen is responsible for 23,000 hospitalizations and 450 deaths in the United States annually.
To properly cook the giblets, put them in boiling water. Use a thermometer to measure their internal temperature, which should reach at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The texture of the giblets should change while they cook. After boiling, they should be crumbly, soft and easy to cut through.
Make a Giblet Gravy
Making a gravy adds flavor and moisture to your turkey. This delicious paleo gravy recipe, for example, doesn't call for turkey giblets, but you may add them.
Start by placing grass-fed butter, onions and pepper into a saucepan. Cook on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes or until the onion is caramelized. During this process, you can add the turkey giblets.
Next, add starch and almond flour and stir for one minute. Add black pepper, arrowroot starch, garlic powder, chicken broth, coconut milk and salt, and boil until the gravy is thick. You can add two to three tablespoons of almond flour to give it extra thickness. Simply remove the turkey giblets, then serve.
If you're looking for more ways to incorporate giblets into your meals, try this recipe from the Food Network to replace the chicken stock. Put a pot on the stove and add oil. Place the giblets, onion, carrot, celery and salt in the pot and cook them for four to five minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
Add water, thyme, a bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring the mix to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer, uncovered, for about an hour and a half. You should reduce the stock to three cups. Then, you can add it to the gravy recipe.
- Food Network: "Turkey Giblet Gravy"
- United States Department of Agriculture: "Giblets and Food Safety"
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: "Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures Charts"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Questions and Answers"
- Maturitas: "Cognitive Decline: A Vitamin B Perspective"
- Food and Drug Administration: "Vitamins"
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Turkey, Gizzard, All Classes, Raw"