You might not suspect a fresh or frozen turkey to be a source of gluten. But basting solutions injected into turkeys during processing do sometimes contain gluten. Also, those handy little gravy packets included in the packaging of some brands almost always contain gluten.
If you are planning on cooking Thanksgiving (or any) turkey and you need it to be gluten-free, don't worry. There are several economical brands of whole fresh or frozen turkey are gluten-free. Cooking a gluten-free turkey will just require a little diligence. Read labels carefully since there may be ingredients in the gravy or basting solution that have gluten. If you have any questions, contact the manufacturer before you buy a Thanksgiving turkey to calm any lingering doubts. Another option is to buy your turkey directly from a local farmer. You'll be able to have all your questions answered in person and select the exact size turkey you need.
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Empire Kosher Poultry, Inc., located in Pennsylvania, bills itself as "the largest kosher poultry producer in the world. The company controls all aspects of poultry production from breeder farms to processing facilities."
Empire sells gluten-free whole turkeys in several sizes, plus half turkey breasts, turkey thighs, turkey drumsticks, and ground turkey packaged in smaller portions. They can be found in the kosher area of the meat department in most major grocery stores.
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Jennie-O (Hormel) brand produces a number of gluten-free turkey products including Jennie-O Prime Young Turkey, fresh or frozen, Jennie-O Turkey Store Oven-Ready Turkey Breast, and Jennie-O Frozen Turkey Breast. The gravy packet included with all of these turkeys does contain gluten. Do not use the gravy if you want a gluten-free meal. This is a popular brand that can be found in many major grocery stores.
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Butterball, a ConAgra brand, does not label whole fresh or frozen turkeys as gluten-free. They do state "only two of our retail products currently contain gluten: Butterball Frozen Italian Style Meatballs and Butterball Frozen Stuffed Turkey." Double check if you plan to use Butterball gravy, as some packets do contain gluten. This is a popular brand that can be found in many major grocery stores.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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Shelton's Poultry, located in California, "raises chickens, turkeys, and ducks in free-range conditions, without the use of antibiotics or artificial growth stimulants." They also raise organic, gluten-free turkeys. Look for these turkeys in your grocery store or buy them online.
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Norbest, a member of the Northwest Turkey Growers Association based in Utah, certifies their turkey products as "completely free of gluten from wheat, barley, rye, oats, or their derivatives." Look for these in your grocery store or buy them online.