"Canned chicken stock just doesn’t cut it when making great turkey gravy."



Are turkey giblets about to go the way of the dodo bird?


Giblets, for the uninformed, are the edible offal of the fowl and include the heart, gizzard, liver and the neck. They can be used in a number of recipes.

Traditionally when shoppers took their turkey home to cook for the Christmas or Thanksgiving feast, the giblets were packaged in a small sealed bag in the body cavity.

Some cooks make a stock out of them, which is the base for a delicious gravy. Others chop and add them to the stuffing.

But of late, some consumers who use them have been surprised to find giblets aren’t a given because some processors don’t include them in the turkey package.

“We know from the get-go that we are supposed to have the giblets included as part of the whole bird package,” says Joanne Maguire, a spokesperson for Hayter’s Turkey Products Inc. in Dashwood, Ont., northwest of London, Ont.

“But sometimes we miss a turkey or two when they are being cleaned as they go down the production line. They get pulled out with the rest of the innards and so the giblets get thrown out unintentionally.”

For Hayter’s customers who get shortchanged, the processor always has a supply on hand in the freezer.

Sandy Fry, a spokesperson for P&H Foods Inc., makers of Butterball Turkeys, says that federal regulations state if the printing on the package indicates giblets are part of the whole turkey, then they must be included.

“They must be inside the package with a Grade A turkey,” she says.

Heather Howe, senior home economist in Canadian Living magazine’s test kitchen, says cooks miss a lot by not making their turkey gravy from the giblets.

“Canned chicken stock just doesn’t cut it when making great turkey gravy,” she says. “Be sure to read the turkey package or ask the butcher if they are included if you want the giblets.”