Talking Turkey with Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
WebMD Live Events Transcript; Event Date: Thursday, November 18, 2004
Have you ever tried brining a turkey? How does that affect flavor and sodium
It's going to increase the sodium content, because that's part of how brining
works to keep a turkey moist. It's introducing sodium into the tissue, and
where sodium goes, water goes. That's why it's often used and injected into
turkey. It may not be the best option for people who have to watch their sodium
carefully, like people with high blood pressure, people on certain medications,
and people with MÃ©niÃ¨re's disease.
My mom told me to rub miracle whip on the turkey before baking. Is there
something else that will help the turkey stay moist without adding so much
That's a great question. I'm continually amazed at different ways people use
mayonnaise or Miracle Whip. It's actually an ingredient in many Jell-o salads.
Go figure, mayonnaise and Jell-o.
First of all, for all those people adding mayonnaise to Jell-o salads and
other recipes, consider switching to a lower fat mayo and possibly blending it
with a nice tasting fat-free sour cream. This will lighten it up further,
without changing the flavor too much. But for the turkey slathering, basically
what this is doing is coating the skin so that less moisture is able to escape
as it cooks.
You can perform this same function by massaging some canola oil on the
outside of your turkey. You only need a little bit to do this. It's canola oil
well spent. It's also a great way to keep the seasonings and herbs sticking
onto the skin.
How about yogurt?
Yogurt is probably not going to stand up to the heat and length of cooking
required for a turkey. That would by my guess. It's possible a fat-free sour
cream might actually work better, because it has some starch and gums and
stabilizers added to it, so they actually weather heating better than yogurt
But don't be afraid of a tablespoon of canola oil on the outside of your
turkey. It's only a tablespoon, and canola oil is rich in plant Omega-3s and
monounsaturated fats, which are both what I like to call smart fats.
What about using cheesecloth soaked with broth? It keeps the turkey moist and
doesn't add a lot of fat.
That would probably work, too. The canola oil is going to be more likely to
crisp up the skin if you like your skin crispy.
You take the cheesecloth off for the last hour or half hour.
That is a great idea.
Let's talk about leftovers.
Before we talk about turkey leftovers, one of my pet peeves is people letting
the turkey sit out for hours before they put it in the refrigerator for
leftovers. It should not be at room temperature sitting out for more than two
hours, period. If you're at somebody's house, I would seriously portion my
leftovers right after dinner and stick it in the fridge immediately.