Welcome to my 2015 Thanksgiving Q&A series. I will be answering questions asked by the readers of my blog. You can check out all the posts in this series by clicking on the Thanksgiving Q&A 2015 tag.

When are Fresh Figs in Season

Question – Why Can’t I Find Fresh Figs for My Stuffing?

I see recipes for fresh figs in stuffing or dressing. I see people at the store asking for fresh figs for their stuffing. Problem? Fresh figs are out of season in most places by the time Thanksgiving comes around. Unless you like in a climate that grows them, your chances of finding any more fresh figs anywhere are extremely remote. Their season runs mid May to October, maybe even to early November in a good year (click here to learn more about fresh fig season) Doesn’t make much sense to call for an ingredient that it out of season. The reason you might find recipes like this is a lot of Thanksgiving recipes are tested out way before the holiday when you can still find fresh figs in the store. Don’t worry you are not all out of options.

Using Dried Figs Instead of Fresh
Dried figs are easy to find year around. You usually find them two ways – packaged up in a ring or available loose in a bulk bin. Stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are great places to look. I highly recommend the green figs as I think they have the best flavor – more fruity. As for using them in the stuffing just chop them up and use them as you would the fresh or any other dried fruit. Dried fruit does really well in stuffing. When you cook the stuffing the fruit will absorb some of the moisture and plumb up a bit. So not worries if you can’t go fresh, dried ones won’t cause any issues at all.

How Far In Advance to Buy a Fresh Turkey

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Welcome to my 2015 Thanksgiving Q&A series. I will be answering questions asked by the readers of my blog. You can check out all the posts in this series by clicking on the Thanksgiving Q&A 2015 tag.

Costco Turkey Thanksgiving Prices 2015

Question – How Far In Advance to Buy a Fresh Turkey?

So you have decided that you want to go with a fresh turkey this year. You may be wondering how long does a fresh turkey keep, especially if you are use to a frozen turkey that you just defrost and then cook immediately. It won’t last indefinitely. You need to treat it as you would any other poultry. A fresh turkey should have a sell by date on it. I asked a couple of my favorite turkey farms their thoughts on the manner. The general consensus was that a fresh turkey bought in the store should be cooked within 3 to 5 days. Now if you buy your turkey directly from the source you have a lot more time, up to 10 days. If you want to buy your turkey far in advance of Thanksgiving, go directly to the source. Find a nearby turkey farm.

The reason the grocery store turkey has a shorter shelf life, is that takes time to get from farm to store. The turkey probably had to go through the store’s distribution center before it even arrived at the store. Then it has to make it out to the sales floor. I recommend that you buy your fresh turkey as close to Thanksgiving as you can. Tuesday morning (hey that’s right now) would be a great time to head to the store to buy it. You don’t want to wait too last minute or your selection might not be what you want. A lot of stores will reserve a turkey for you so that you can be guaranteed to get what you want and when you want it. If you want to get it the day before, I would recommend reserving it. Even if it’s past their deadlines you can still call a store and ask them what they have in stock and see if they will set something aside for you. Any store with good customer service should be more than willing to help.

What Can You Use in Place of a Pie Pumpkin?

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Have you ever been in this scenario: You are looking for a real pie pumpkin that does not come out of a can. You are a week before Thanksgiving. Where have all the pumpkin gone? You knew you saw a ton of them a few weeks ago, while aren’t they here when you need them! AHHHHH!!! I have seen this before. Stores are stocked with pumpkins as early as September and all the way through Halloween. And then before you can bake your pumpkin pie, they are gone. Who is to blame? The store. The guy stocking the produce (never blame that guy!). The growers. Yourself? Doesn’t matter who is at fault, you don’t have your pumpkin. You could do what most people do and settle for a can, or you could look at these as an opportunity to branch you into new territory that you may have tried out before. In this post, I am going to share with you what you can use in place of a pie pumpkin (hint, you won’t need a can opener for any of these options).

What Can You Use in Place of a Pie Pumpkin?

Butternut Squash
This is the easiest solution to your problem. Butternut squash are so plentiful this time of year you should have no trouble tracking one down. Butternut squash is sweet enough to pass for pumpkin. It is also easier to slice through the most pie pumpkin. The orange color on the inside matches pumpkin enough that no one should notice. The texture is close enough as well. You could try an acorn squash if you wanted, but I think butternut is the closet. Obviously do not make a pie out of a spaghetti squash. The texture of that would be way off.

Hubbard Squash for Replacement Pumpkin Pie

Hubbard Squash
Not as popular as butternut or as easy to find, but if you can find the large, often blueish color squash, it is known for being excellent for pie. These squash may be slightly easier to track down this time of year than a pie pumpkin. They have a long storage capacity. I have seen then last through an entire winter and beyond without even being refrigerated. Also a lot of people are intimidated by them, so they end up sitting longer in the grocery store than do pie pumpkins.

How Much Replacement to Use?
No need to change or alter what your recipe calls for. Use the same amount of your replacement as you would a pie pumpkin.

Come On, Can’t I Just Use a Can of Pumpkin
Of course you can (pun intended). However your end result will never be as good as it can be. I have eaten things with canned pumpkin and I can tell there is something lacking. The can pumpkin lacks the dimension of flavor of fresh, you really can’t beat it. I have heard some people say they can’t taste the difference and maybe they can’t and that’s ok. My personal experience has been I surely know when the real deal is being used as the depth of flavor is so much more. Stil I would rather you go for a can and make the pie yourself then overpay for a grocery store pie that you can easily best yourself.

Costco Turkey Prices 2015

in Where I Buy Food

Costco Turkey Thanksgiving Prices 2015

Here at Eat Like No One Else, we like to give you all the information you need on selecting your turkey for the big meal. I have found that a lot of people are curious what Costco offers in the way of birds. Most people probably don’t want to walk into a Costco just to see what the selection is like. That’s what I am here for. I just walked into Costco today, to get you the scoop on what they have available this year.

For this post I decided to answer all the questions I have been getting about Costco turkeys over the past couple weeks. Hopefully anything and everything you wanted to know is covered here. Happy Thanksgiving!

Costco Turkey Thanksgiving Prices 2015

Questions I have received about Costco turkeys

1. Does Costco sell turkeys?
Of course. Got a membership, you can get a turkey.

2. What are the prices of turkeys at Costco?
Butterball Fresh Turkeys for $.99/pound (same price as Sam’s Club)
Foster Farms Organic Fresh Turkeys for $2.99/pound

3. Does Costco sell fresh turkeys?
Yes, the only turkeys I found on my trip to Costco were fresh – same as my experience last year.

Costco Turkey Thanksgiving Prices 2015

4. Does Costco sell Butterball turkeys?
Yes you can get a Butterball turkey that is fresh for 99 cents per pound. The packaging this year features that classic picture by Norman Rockwell. Butterball is encouraging you to share your Thanksgiving memories through a photo contest in which you could win a $1000 prepaid Visa giftcard (see details at Butterball’s website).

5. Does Costco sell brined turkeys?
The turkeys I found this year were no pre-brined at all. I prefer to brine it myself, using Alton Brown’s dry brine method.

6. How far in advance can you buy a fresh turkey at Costco?
Turkey are available now. I went there first on Tuesday, November 10th and they didn’t have any turkeys yet, but by Tuesday, November 17th they had them in stock. In future years you probably can get your turkey starting about 12 to 14 days before Thanksgiving.

7. Are Costco fresh turkeys frozen?
A fresh turkey, frozen? Any turkey that is called fresh can never been frozen. They don’t take frozen turkeys and just defrost them for you. If a fresh turkey still feels hard to the touch that is because for a turkey can be considered fresh even if it’s temperature is as low as 26 degrees. Turkey meat doesn’t freeze at the same temperature as water, so a 26 degree turkey is still not considered frozen.

8. Does Costco have Diestel turkeys this year?
I didn’t see any at my Costco this year. If you have seen one at your Costco let me know below in the comment section. (Learn more about Diestel turkeys)

9. Does Costco sell natural turkeys?
Natural is a word that is not defined by anyone expect whoever is using it. If you are wondering, the turkeys available at Costco are grown without the use of hormones and don’t contain any additional seasoning.

10. Does Costco sell heritage turkeys?
No, didn’t see any this year.

Costco Turkey Thanksgiving Prices 2015

11. Does Costco carry organic turkeys?
Yes from Foster Farms, going for $2.99/pound. These have been certified organic by the USDA. This also means that these turkeys are non-GMO as to be certified organic a turkey cannot be feed genetically modified feed.

12. What size turkeys does Costco have?
They have both “hen” turkeys that weight around 10 to 16 pounds (14 pound range is the most likely you will find) and “tom” turkeys which is anything over 16 pounds. 22 pound turkeys are around the biggest you’ll find.

13. Is there a shortage of turkeys at Costco this year?
There was concern that there would not be enough turkeys this year because of an outbreak of bird flu. I have seen no signs of that whatsoever. The only impact at the store that I have witness is the price of eggs skyrocketing.

Have you found any other types of turkeys at Costco this year? Share your experiences in the comment section below?

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