The Citrus Fruit You Should Be Using To Stuff Your Turkey

Whether you are cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving or for a Sunday family feast, you want to make sure its seasoned properly. While some families stuff their birds with dressing, we at Mashed have a better solution that could lead to a more flavorful turkey. Consider stuffing your turkeys with orange.

Combining orange and rosemary will give your bird a tanginess and zest that it may otherwise not have. As the turkey cooks, the juices from the orange will marinate through the meat of your turkey. Since its stuffed in the cavity, the orange should permeate to the breast and thighs of your turkey. To give your wings and legs a bit of an extra flavor boost, consider squeezing some orange juice on them as well.

Outside of flavor, oranges also play a big role in helping to make sure that your turkey is juicy and moist as well. The added moisture from the orange slices will prevent one of the worst carnal sins when it comes to poultry — overcooking the bird. It's quite simple. The juices from the oranges create a protective barrier for the internal meat of the bird. So while the outside gets golden crisp, the inside stays juicy.

How to use orange slices with a turkey

Incorporating oranges into your turkey recipe is fairly simple, but if you need added inspiration, check out our brined and smoked turkey recipe. First off, cut the oranges in half, as well as a head of garlic. Take the orange slices, garlic, and rosemary and stuff them inside of your turkey. From there, you can place the turkey in your oven or smoker to cook. It's important that you don't do this step too long before you cook your turkey. You see, citrus is acidic, and as a result, it can affect the texture of your turkey if left on its own. For that reason, you shouldn't let your turkey marinate in citrus for longer than four hours. In particular, it could cause the turkey breast to become dried out.

That being said, you may want to consider letting your turkey sit for a little while because citrus fruits are also a natural tenderizer. So it's important to find the balancing act. Once finished, simply chop up your turkey and discard the orange peels. If you feel inclined, squirt a little bit of orange juice on the finished bird to liven it up a little more. Also, be sure to consider all the ways you can cook a turkey.