Video: Don’t Toss Those Turkey Giblets!

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist Broth, Stock, and Soups, Holiday Cooking Tips (aired on NBC), Main Courses, VideosComments: 46

As you ready your holiday turkey for roasting, do you throw away or feed your pet the turkey giblets that usually come tucked inside the bird?

The turkey giblets can provide concentrated nutrition to your holiday meal, so this year, use them instead of toss them!

In this fourth of the five “Turkey Tips” I filmed as a series for the NBC News Channel 8 Today television show anchored by Gayle Guyardo, I show you how to very simply incorporate those giblets into your holiday meal even if you are not the best of cooks.

Turkey giblets typically consist of four different parts of the turkey (some people don’t include the neck) :

  • Neck – great for adding additional flavor, color, and extra minerals to the gravy.  You can simmer the neck on very low heat with some grassfed butter while the turkey is roasting and then add the juice to the gravy drippings.
  • Gizzard – loaded with Vitamin A, the gizzard can be simmered along with the neck and then chopped up finely and blended into the gravy for additional flavor and trace minerals.
  • Heart – the heart muscle contains the highest concentration of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) also known as ubiquinone of any food.  CoQ10 levels begin to diminish as early as your 20’s and can affect your heart and brain health significantly as this nutrient is required for cellular energy.  The heart can be simmered with the other giblets in grassfed butter.
  • Liver – liver is the wonderfood that has disappeared from the diet of Westerners.  Chock full of vitamins A and D, antioxidants, and trace minerals, this food which was sacred to many Traditional Cultures can be blended with the heart after simmering in butter with the other giblets. Mix in some additional butter with a few pulses of the food processor, and you will have a delicious and nutrient dense pate spread for crackers that is the perfect appetizer for your holiday meal.

A special thanks goes to Sally Fallon Morell, President of the Weston A. Price Foundation and author of Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for suggesting some of the ideas for this clip.

To view all the Holiday Turkey Tips I filmed for the NBC News Channel 8 Today show, click here.

Do you have a special way of preparing turkey giblets?  Please share your ideas with all of us in the comments section.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Picture Credit

Comments (46)

  • Luda

    I never do, in fact growing up and raising chickens, one of my favorite part was a heart, and i do love to make a spread with liver.

    November 21st, 2012 11:19 am Reply
  • Sharon

    My mom has always boiled them in water, mashed up everything but the neck then added the juice and giblets to the stuffing instead of broth. Her stuffing has the best flavor!!

    November 21st, 2012 11:33 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      YES! Wonderful and easy idea. Thank you for adding.

      November 21st, 2012 11:47 am Reply
    • Corie

      My mother and grandmother have always done this, as well! Growing up on the farm, there was no waste. Everything had a use. The food tasted SO good, and everyone was the healthier for it!

      November 21st, 2012 2:14 pm Reply
    • Joni

      This is what my grandma always did for her cornbread dressing too!!! But she cooked the neck long enough for the meat to easily be pulled off the bone or for it to fall off on it’s own and added it with the rest. Fabulous flavor and none of us kids knew it was in there! I found out because I was always the kitchen helper and she taught me everything I know about cooking, but my sister just found out this last Christmas and was extremely repulsed by the idea she had been eating organ meat in one of her favorite holiday dishes. She ended up eating it still though :)

      February 19th, 2014 10:57 pm Reply
  • Beth

    What a great video series for your local TV viewers! Short, sweet and packed with good information. Can’t wait for the final installment.

    November 21st, 2012 11:46 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Thanks Beth. I was thrilled to be able to link “grassfed butter” and “healthy” together in this segment :) I was very excited to learn that this show is carried by a number of NBC affiliate stations around the country so I am hopeful that this series was able to reach many more than just those in Florida.

      November 21st, 2012 11:49 am Reply
  • An Organic Wife via Facebook

    Love the tip Sarah, I was planning on giving the giblets to my dog but not now!

    November 21st, 2012 11:50 am Reply
  • Nieves Ortiz via Facebook

    My mom always uses them. She uses the neck meat in the gravy, and uses the others in her dressing. Every year…. I guess she is pretty smart lady :)

    November 21st, 2012 12:03 pm Reply
  • Marie Schiber via Facebook

    I put all the giblets into the food processor. That way they’re easy to sautee and sneak into the stuffing!

    November 21st, 2012 12:07 pm Reply
  • Jill Smith via Facebook

    We’ve always put them in the stuffing too.

    November 21st, 2012 12:23 pm Reply
  • Amy King via Facebook

    People would throw away the giblet parts?? Nooooo!

    November 21st, 2012 12:27 pm Reply
  • Catherine Conrady via Facebook

    The kids young and older fight over them at my mom’s. Adults have no chance at them.

    November 21st, 2012 12:37 pm Reply
  • Tracey Ginter via Facebook

    Don’t eat the liver, it’s where toxins that the body can’t eliminate are stored. So only toss it.

    November 21st, 2012 12:49 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    The liver eliminates toxins it doesn’t generally store them… it is always best to eat the liver. You can always tell a healthy liver as it is firm and deep red colored.

    November 21st, 2012 1:32 pm Reply
  • Tracey Ginter via Facebook

    I just found this. It’s worth a read.

    November 21st, 2012 1:38 pm Reply
    • IC

      This is a pretty stupid article. One paragraph says not to eat liver or vegetables because they both could possibly contain aflatoxins. The paragraph then ends saying not to forget to eat your veggies because they are good for you!
      I couldn’t find any citations to the supposed studies, either.

      November 21st, 2012 4:45 pm Reply
  • Tracey Ginter via Facebook

    And here’s a Dr. Oz’ article as well: Plus, if you think about, humans feed most animals incorrectly w/ grain to fatten them up, so their bodies are terribly stressed and contain toxins throughout. So, it’s very likely that the liver is not healthy enough to eat. Period. Now, if the animal is raised organic & free range, it may not be as bad. But I’m no longer going to consume it. My body has enough toxins exposed to it daily, just living in this world. Wake up & get real.

    November 21st, 2012 1:38 pm Reply
    • ljIf you continue to buy and consume poorly raised, industrial ag foodstuffs, Tracy, then you are absolutely right…don’t eat the liver. But for those of us that raise our own clean, healthy animals; or those who insist on searching out and purchasing on

      If you continue to buy and consume poorly raised, industrial ag foodstuffs, Tracy, then you are absolutely right…don’t eat the liver. But for those of us that raise our own clean, healthy animals; or those who insist on searching out and purchasing only clean food, we will benefit from the most nourishing bits of the animal. Your choice what YOU do, but your comments attempting to belittle us just demonstrates your ignorance on these very important issues. No disrespect intended towards you, or the general population which is kept mostly in the dark by big ag… Just understand that this blog is an excellent source of information when you get ready to REALLY “wake up and get real”.

      November 21st, 2012 2:38 pm Reply
  • Sandra Nicht via Facebook

    well, the liver has to come from a healthy animal. my family always cooks and eat the giblets and has never had problems!

    November 21st, 2012 2:34 pm Reply
  • Barb

    My mom and grandmother used to simmer the giblets in some water, with butter, celery, and onion. The giblets were minced and added to the stuffing along with some of the broth. The rest of the broth was added to the gravy. YUM!!!!

    November 21st, 2012 4:07 pm Reply
    • SoCalGT

      That’s how I do it too. It really is good!

      November 21st, 2012 6:46 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    Avoiding liver is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Kind of like avoiding all seafood because of Fukushima. There are nutrients that only liver can provide in sufficient quantity and you will be nutrient depleted if you don’t eat it. If you are concerned, then just be sure to source clean liver. Easy. Problem solved.

    November 21st, 2012 4:49 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    The sad fact is that our entire planet is a toxic soup and you need organ meats especially liver or you are going to be incredibly nutrient deficient. Our soils are too depleted and meat even if from grassfed animals is not enough anymore. You have to go for nutrient density and liver tops the list in that department.

    November 21st, 2012 4:52 pm Reply
  • Marjie Gale via Facebook

    I always put them into my crock pot for the bone broth. Great idea to process them up and put them in the stuffing! I have never trusted Dr. Oz.

    November 21st, 2012 5:01 pm Reply
  • Tracey Ginter via Facebook

    Well most, if not all the nutrients found in the liver can be found from other sources. It’s not like the liver contains something special, and you can’t get it from other source, from my research, I don’t believe your comment above. I’ve never consumed liver very often to begin with, so I’m not going out of my way to consume from a turkey. I’ll keep the rest of the organs, but dispose of the liver.

    November 21st, 2012 5:25 pm Reply
    • Jen

      Not eat grassfed and pastured liver?! I think you’re on the wrong blog.

      November 25th, 2012 7:42 pm Reply
  • Kristine

    Love the giblets! I often save my neck and toss it in when making bone broth from the turkey carcass. The other pieces I add to the gravy.

    I haven’t opened the giblet bag yet but from the outside it would appear that I also have a brain this year. (It’s a locally pastured bird.) Any thoughts on that? I love me some organ meat but will admit that this one gives me pause.

    November 21st, 2012 5:46 pm Reply
    • Bethany Lobocki

      That’s a lung you’ve got there, Kristine. No farmer is going to fish the brain out of a turkey head. Is it squishy and pink? Your dog will love it.

      November 21st, 2012 6:16 pm Reply
      • IC

        Lung is good, it has a mushroom texture and not a strong flavor. Try it!

        November 21st, 2012 6:42 pm Reply
        • Kristine

          I only looked through the bag, but it seemed more white than pink. I will know more tomorrow when I dive in. My hubby is repulsed by all organ meats, so if this is either a lung or a brain, he is really going to lose it!

          November 21st, 2012 10:32 pm Reply
  • Maris King

    Everything in here are all great. Thank you so much for sharing this video. Turkey giblets are useful and can be made into delicious recipe.

    November 21st, 2012 10:40 pm Reply
  • Wendy

    My Granny simmers them with onion, celery and water and then it all goes into the stuffing. Everyone eats it.

    November 21st, 2012 11:53 pm Reply
  • Jamil Avdiyev

    I enjoy crunching down the neck. The bones are soft and provide an excellent source of the calcium compound calcium phosphate. The only other good source is this type of calcium is bone broth, thanks to even organic foods being grown on depleted soils. Eating bones in part makes up for having calcium deficient foods we are all subject to, the few exceptions aside.

    Plus the neck contains marrow. Traditional Chinese medicine considers marrow as a longevity food.

    November 22nd, 2012 1:00 am Reply
  • Kay

    Thank you Sarah… My mom did the same thing as others have mentioned above… Simmered and then used in the stuffing and gravy. I wish I had paid more attention back then to how she actually did it.

    November 22nd, 2012 2:53 am Reply
  • Liz

    At my house the liver gets roasted in the pan with the turkey (and all the drippings). It obviously cooks faster than the turkey, so it becomes a treat for whoever is in the kitchen when the pan comes out for basting. I usually have to fight my dad for it!

    November 22nd, 2012 9:50 am Reply
  • Heather Craven via Facebook

    Best & VERY NUTRITIOUS! Thank you # HHE. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. You will be mentioned in my ‘thank you ‘s ‘ today. God bless …..

    November 22nd, 2012 11:28 am Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    @Tracey if you’re not going to eat the liver with your turkey, can I have it? LOL

    November 22nd, 2012 12:24 pm Reply
  • Heather Craven via Facebook

    I’ll fight you for it! Lol

    November 22nd, 2012 12:50 pm Reply
  • Heather Craven via Facebook

    I meant to you healthy home economist!!!!! Love my liver!

    November 22nd, 2012 12:52 pm Reply
  • Sandy

    I always used all the giblets and neck from inside the turkey with carrots, celery, onion, salt, pepper and water in the pressure cooker for 30 min. I use this stock to make the stuffing and gravy. Everybody always loves it! (I eat the neck, liver and etc. when it cools from taking it out of the stock. YUM!) Learned this from my Mom.

    November 25th, 2012 8:34 pm Reply
  • Tammy

    I have turkey that I am making now to put up in the freezer for future use. I don’t plan to make gravy. Can I put all the giblets and neck in when I make my broth?

    November 26th, 2012 2:59 pm Reply
    • Sandy


      November 26th, 2012 7:25 pm Reply
      • Tammy


        November 26th, 2012 9:42 pm Reply
  • Vickie

    Can broth/stock be canned in a pressure canner. My freezer is already full and we still have 18 more chickens to butcher.
    I asked this on another post also. Hoping to get an answer before tomorrow:)

    April 30th, 2013 9:54 pm Reply
    • Cynthia Green

      Since bone/stock can be cooked for many hours you can allow some of this
      time for pressure canning.

      November 4th, 2014 10:31 pm Reply

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