How to Preserve Turkey Feet for Longevity and Flavor


Turkey feet are a staple ingredient in many cultures, providing both a savory flavor and a unique texture to dishes. However, preserving turkey feet can be a daunting task, especially if you want to ensure they last as long as possible while maintaining their quality. In this article, we will explore the various methods of preserving turkey feet, along with tips on how to store them for maximum shelf life and flavor.

Method 1: Salt Brining

Salt brining is a popular method of preserving turkey feet. This process involves soaking the feet in a solution of salt water for several hours before cooking or drying them. The salt acts as a natural preservative, drawing out moisture from the skin and creating an environment that inhibits bacterial growth. Additionally, the salt enhances the flavor of the turkey feet by breaking down the proteins and adding depth to the meat.

To salt brine your turkey feet:

  1. Rinse the feet thoroughly with water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. In a large container, mix equal parts of salt and water until dissolved.
  3. Submerge the feet in the salt solution, making sure they are fully covered.
  4. Cover the container and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
  5. Remove the feet from the brine and rinse with water. Pat dry with paper towels.

Method 2: Drying

Drying is another effective method of preserving turkey feet, especially if you plan on using them in a recipe that requires a chewy texture. To dry your turkey feet, simply hang them upside down in a well-ventilated area for several days until they are completely dry. This process may take longer than other methods, but it will result in a long-lasting and flavorful ingredient.

To dry your turkey feet:

  1. Rinse the feet thoroughly with water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Hang the feet upside down in a well-ventilated area.
  3. Allow the feet to dry for 3-7 days, or until they are completely dry and can be easily cracked.

Method 3: Canning

Canning is an excellent way to preserve turkey feet for a long time while retaining their flavor and texture. This process involves sealing the feet in airtight jars and heating them in a boiling water bath or pressure cooker to kill any bacteria or mold. The high temperatures used in canning also create a vacuum seal, preventing air from entering the jar and causing spoilage.

To can your turkey feet:

  1. Clean and sterilize the jars and lids.
  2. Rinse the feet thoroughly with water and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Pack the feet tightly into the jars, leaving about 1 inch of headspace at the top.
  4. Add water to the jars to cover the turkey feet completely.
  5. Seal the jars using lids and rings.
  6. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 1 hour or in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes.

Storing and Using Turkey Feet

Regardless of which preservation method you choose, it’s important to store your turkey feet properly to ensure they remain fresh and flavorful. When storing turkey feet, always keep them in an airtight container or jar, and avoid stacking them on top of each other as this can create a moist environment that encourages bacterial growth.

When ready to use turkey feet in a recipe, simply rinse them thoroughly with water and pat dry with paper towels. They can be added directly to the recipe or used as a garnish.