Florida wildlife officials suggest going 'wild' this Thanksgiving

FWC, Fresh from Florida offer recipes, cooking tips for wild turkey feasts

Photo courtesy of Fresh From Florida in partnership with the FWC.
Photo courtesy of Fresh From Florida in partnership with the FWC.

If you're up for experimenting this Thanksgiving, Florida wildlife officials have an idea for you: wild turkey.

They say that an interesting culinary trend is using organic ingredients and serving wild turkey for Thanksgiving.

“Florida’s abundant wild turkey populations can provide the ultimate locally-sourced, organic Thanksgiving feast when knowledge, skill and good fortune come together for a successful hunt,” said Chef Justin Timineri, executive chef and culinary ambassador for Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “We’ve developed several mouthwatering wild turkey recipes for the big day and ways to serve leftovers using a variety of Fresh from Florida products.”

Officials said wild turkey is a tasty and versatile protein.

Fresh from Florida chefs adapted several recipes to use wild turkey ranging from Tikka Masala, an Indian dish traditionally served with chicken, to wild turkey quesadillas and wild turkey cottage pie (a take on shepherd’s pie).

You can find all the recipes here.

Because wild turkey meat is low in fat, techniques for cooking them differ from domestic birds, and the Fresh from Florida chefs provide recipes and tips on how to prepare tender, juicy meals in cooking videos.

The Sunshine State is home to robust populations of two wild turkey subspecies: the eastern and the Osceola wild turkey. Florida is unique because the Osceola subspecies lives nowhere else in the world but on the state’s peninsula. 

“Turkey hunting in Florida is a chance to experience the outdoors in a very special way,” said Roger Shields, wild turkey program coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “However, wild turkeys are extremely wary and possess sharp eyesight and excellent hearing so hunting them is a challenge.”

The FWC uses scientifically proven wildlife management strategies and professional expertise to meet conservation objectives and perpetuate sustainable turkey hunting opportunities, officials said. You can learn more about wild turkeys, including their behavior, habitat needs, and where they live in Florida at MyFWC.com.

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