If your husband brings home a Turkey from the shoot, or if you are raising them yourself, here is how to get it ready for your Thanksgiving table.
First, don't be overwhelmed. It really is quite simple. Many people try to dry pluck (like a duck), however you will want to water process like you would for a chicken as plucking out the larger feathers are easier on a warm bird. The only difference between plucking a turkey and a chicken is that a turkey is bigger. I also wear rubber gloves and a full apron when doing this process. Many people don't have a pot large enough for a turkey, but what I use is a big wash tub that I keep out in the back shed. Oh my... I'm starting to get ahead of myself. Okay, here is how to pluck your turkey for your table:
1) fill a large tub or pot with boiling hot water...
2) with gloves on, grab the dead turkey by the ankles and dunk into the tub of scalding hot water.
3) use a big wooden spoon (Jacob actually made me my own wooden paddle for this process) to help saturate all the feathers and keep the bird under water for about 10-15 seconds.
4) Lay the bird on some plastic or a towel and begin plucking by the small handful, being sure to pull WITH the direction they lay on the bird. Be careful not to overdo it, as you don't want to rip the skin.
5) Any "peach fuzz" or tiny pin hairs can just be wiped off after all of the feathers are plucked.
6) Dunk the turkey in cold water to help the bird cool down faster, allowing you to work with it more.
Tips: Sometimes the dye of the larger feathers will remain on the bird after the feathers are gone. This is ok, as you can rinse most of this off with the cold bath anyway. Also, if you are raising turkeys on a farm, etc., whatever you do, do NOT name the turkey(s) first. Sarah Jo has been calling this turkey Simon for quite some time now and heart broken when she saw me give "Simon" a "bath!"
Oh, and if this post made you squeamish, I reckon you daren't ask what I do with the feet or the carunkles! Aye-oh!