Seasonal eating while cleaning the pantry at its best! Nutritious pasture-raised Old Time Farm heritage turkey eggs are in season now! Combine the eggs with foraged nettles, ham loaf mix from Blackberry Meadows Farm pastured pigs (to clean out the freezer) and some stale Mediterra slider buns (to clean out the fridge)! Sprinkle a little Real Salt with Garlic and parmesan cheese grated at County Market and bake at 375 degrees for 30 mins = delicious dinner is served!! I could have foraged for some garlic mustard and used that in place of the garlic salt or used scallion sprouts from Harmony Grove Farm. Fellow farmers I seek out for pasture-raised pork are Auburn Meadow Farm and Who Cooks for You Farm would be a source for the pasture-raised pork as well as greens.
Nettles are a foraged green (AKA "weed") that tastes like spinach but is MUCH more nutrient dense than spinach found in any store! I originally discovered nettles when searching for new calves hidden by their mamas. I found the calves hidden in these 5-6 foot high stands of "weeds" with prickers on them. After touching the plant it STUNG for a LONG TIME, became numb and left a welt! I generally do not get poison ivy so I HAD to find out what this dastardly plant was about! I learned it was "stinging nettle" or "Urtica dioica" and an excellent source of iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, vitamin A, protein, and dietary fiber as well as having a long history of being used for food, fiber and medicine going back to neolithic times! This incredibly tasty nutrient dense food is growing naturally right on our farm without me even planting it, BONANZA! Then we ate it and it was YUMMY and a peculiar thing happened ... our stuffed noses from seasonal pollen allergies cleared right up! You can discover why nettles may be "the most nutritious plant on earth" as well as how to identify it, harvest it, medicinal properties, how the nettle stings, how to avoid or mitigate the sting and more in this video by my favorite local food foraging instructor, Adam Haritan from Learn Your Land.
Strata is fairly simple to make and, if you leave the bread out, it is a "frittata" and if you put that in a pie shell it is a "quiche", if you make it flat in a skillet, it is an omelet and if you scramble the omelet it is fancy scrambled eggs! The main ingredient is the eggs with a little milk and seasoning along whatever needs to "go" from the fridge and freezer and seems like it would go together well.
Back to the recipe/mix I made this time:
1 lb of sausage or ham loaf mix
5 turkey eggs
4 stale slider buns
1 gallon bag of nettle tips (can also use spinach, kale, broccoli or other green)
splash of milk
garlic salt (or salt along with garlic or garlic mustard greens)
parmesan or grated cheese of some sort (approx 1/2 cup)
large pie plate
Prepare nettles by washing and removing leaves and tips from stems (use gloves - another link I found says to let it wilt to remove stinging but I have not tried that yet!!)
Brown the sausage in a skillet and crumble. Remove sausage and set aside.
Add a little bacon grease, lard or butter if there is not enough fat in the skillet to sauté your nettles or greens. Sauté the greens until wilted - cover a steam a little if necessary to soften (more necessary when using kale)
Crumble the bread and sprinkle about 1/4 cup parmesan cheese on it in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs and a splash of milk along with a couple sprinkles of the garlic salt and pour over the bread (it should be gooey, not dry but not all eggs either). Add the sausage & greens, lightly toss and dump into the pie pan or baking dish. Sprinkle with more cheese and put in a 350 or 375 oven to bake until brown and the center is set (you can poke it with a knife in the center to make sure the center is done - if the knife comes out clean vs with soft egg on it, it is "done". I generally set the timer for about 20 minutes then watch it.
Another option for a "hand food" would be to bake the mix in muffin tins for breakfast or dinner "on the go"!! Just make sure you adjust the baking time accordingly!
Have fun turning seasonal farm foods and "weeds" into delicious, nutritious foods for your belly and soul!
Let me know if you have any questions or what you decided to add to your strata, frittata, omelet or scrambled eggs!
The Old Time Standard Bronze Heritage Turkey is a true Taste of History. The lineage our Old Time Turkeys can be traced over 173 years! Our Standard Bronze were called the “Mammoth Bronze” in the early 1900’s and, ironically, they trace back to Meyersdale, Pa and some poultry breeders by the name of "Bird Brothers".
Our turkeys and chickens were recently certified by the American Poultry Association as being true representatives of their respective breed standards. Our understanding is that we are one of only 2 flocks holding this certification at this time. The other farm holding this certification is Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch and we are so fortunate that our line of turkeys descend from their flock (sold in Heritage Foods USA www.heritagefoodsusa.com ).
The Standard Bronze Turkey was the turkey of choice before 1950 and today is in need of conservation to keep the breed alive for future generations. The commercial industry concentrated on creating faster growing, larger, more uniform birds that would put out the maximum meat in the least amount of time with the least amount of feed in the least amount of space and pushed breeds like the Standard Bronze to the side in their haste.
Your purchase assists our conservation efforts by allowing us to keeping the very best individuals as breeding stock for future generations. I am extremely grateful to Frank Reese from Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch for all the work he has done to preserve rare bloodlines in turkeys along with sharing the information taught to him by the master breeders of turkeys before him - so much would be lost if not for his efforts and life's work. He has traced his bloodlines back 173 years and has selectively bred his turkeys for both the table as well as for breed standard (like we do). We study and work hard to apply the information he has shared along with researching old historical magazines, books and documents to supplement and fill in minor details and fine points on breeding turkeys and poultry so we may be positive stewards for our poultry. Our goal is to preserve high quality poultry that represent their breed standard as well as being pleasing on the table.
Key points for our Standard Bronze turkeys
Here is some additional history on Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch and Frank Reese:
Old Time Heritage Turkey Tips & Tricks:
It is normal to have black “ink spots” under the skin – that is a clear indication that it was a dark feathered bird and comes from the small immature feathers that sometimes need to be removed. With a white bird, you generally do not see this even though it is there. You may also see some scratches and bruises. This occurs sometimes because they are active birds.
Store your turkey in the coldest part of your refrigerator until you are ready to cook – it is best for fresh meats to “rest” before cooking vs being cooked directly after harvest. Most references I have state storage time is “approximately 10 days from harvest when stored under 40 degrees” for poultry & many advise "resting” a bird for up to 2 weeks like aging for beef. I have found it best for the turkey (and most chickens) to “rest” for at least 4-5 days in the refrigerator before cooking for the best eating experience - eating a fresh processed bird (or anything other than fish) is not “good eats". We tested our personal chickens up to 10 days in a 38 degree refrigerator have found them to be fresher than any poultry we have ever purchased from a store & turkeys will be the same. We are not used to buying truly fresh meats today. Most supermarket “fresh” turkeys are stored at 26 degrees for 6 weeks or more and who knows how long in the refrigerator case.
Make sure you place a cookie sheet or pan underneath your turkey in the refrigerator so it does not leak and make a mess. There may be some water in the bag is from the chilling process. We use a wet chilling process to cool the birds during harvest.
Old Time Heritage Turkey Recipe
My preference is to do as little as possible with the turkey because there is so much flavor in these old fashioned, Heritage birds! I do not stuff my birds because I make stock from the bones. I do not brine as the birds do not need the flavor or moisture from the brine.
1. Preheat over to 450 degrees
2. Rinse turkey and pat dry.
3. Lightly salt inside and out (sometimes I skip this step)
4. Place turkey on rack in roasting pan or on top of celery and carrots.
5. Add a couple cups of water to roasting pan
6. Insert meat thermometer into thigh
7. Place turkey in oven and reduce heat to 325 degrees
8. Roast 12-15 mins per pound or until meat thermometer in the thigh reaches 165 degrees. (do not open oven any more than you absolutely have to!)
9. Remove from oven and let rest 20 mins or so.
Old Time Heritage Chicken is very different than the chickens found in the grocery. You will be hard pressed to find a chicken that is harvested at an age older than 6 to 8 weeks in the grocery stores (or over 8 to 10 weeks on most local farms) while Old Time chickens are harvested at a minimum of 14 weeks of age (just like chicken used to be)! The flavor and texture of the meat changes with the maturity of the animal is harvested - with the most flavorful meats being found with those harvested at an older age. Old Time Chickens TASTE LIKE CHICKEN and do not need much seasoning to make them flavorful and delicious!
Julia Childs created a show on the "classic" definitions of culinary poultry and how harvesting age relates to cooking methods and culinary uses. The definitions have changed in recent years to accommodate the fast growing commercial chickens and can create problems when using commercial chicken in Grandma's recipe or using yesteryear's chicken in today's recipe - the flavor and texture are not the same at all! Today's federal poultry classifications are almost half the age of the bird when harvested vs standards from as recent as 2003. Julia's explanation of how the tip of the breastbone is more solid as the bird gets older is a sure way to determine if a chicken over a couple pounds is truly Heritage or not (sadly, some are misusing the term "Heritage" to market commercial type poultry without understanding the definition or culinary ramifications!). The cartilage on the tip of a Heritage roasting chicken breastbone should not be more than an inch long!
I generally just put a little sea salt on our Old Time chickens and may put some butter on the skin. Most of the time, I use a covered roaster (like Grandma used!) in a 325 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes per pound & use a remote digital thermometer in the thigh to let me know when it reaches 165 degrees. An easy alternative is to put the bird in a crockpot on low for 8-10 hours or so. I generally put a little water on the bottom of the roaster or crockpot and often use a bed of carrots, celery and/or onions to elevate the bird a little out of the water.
We use the roasted chicken as a meal for day one (reserving as many bones as we can for stock). We pick the meat off the carcass and use the leftover chicken for a second meal in a baked casserole, potpies, fried rice, chicken sandwiches, or other recipe using cooked chicken. Our third meal (or more) from the very same chicken is from the broth made with the bones. After the original meal with the roasted chicken and the meat is picked off the bones, the extra skin, bones, neck and fat all are all placed in a crock pot with water to cover and cooked on low for 24-48 hours to make bone broth or stock. You can use it in any recipe calling for broth/stock.
Julia Child’s Roasting Chicken video link: https://youtu.be/T7dLXEc9tZM
PS … We have "good" sanitation laws to protect consumers in our state today and Old Time Farm is careful to do our best to adhere to them! Our application to harvest our poultry on farm has been submitted to the state and we are waiting. In the mean time, we drive 2 1/2 hours to a USDA processor for frozen chicken or take pre-orders for live birds to be harvested for you at our local processor.
Old Time Farm