Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Checking out the price of turkey

Ipomoea batatas, Convolvulaceae, Sweet Potato,...
Why microwave a sweet potato in plastic wrap?

Editor's note: Today, I discuss turkey prices, shrink-wrapped sweet potatoes, clementines from Morocco and reusable-bag credits.

In the week before Thanksgiving, I've started to think of a holiday menu for the meat eaters in my family and for the non-meat eater -- me.

On Monday, I saw fresh Washington State organic turkeys at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack for $2.69 a pound.

At Whole Foods Market in Parmaus on Tuesday, free-range turkeys were $2.29 a pound and free-range organic turkeys were $3.99 a pound.

There were no organic turkeys out at Fairway Market in Paramus, but Murray's all-natural turkeys were $3.99 a pound.

All of the turkeys at the three stores were raised on vegetarian feed and without antibiotics. Federal law prohibits the use of hormones in poultry.

At ShopRite in Englewood on Tuesday, frozen turkeys were $1.29 a pound and fresh turkeys were $1.99 a pound. I didn't see any organic turkeys.

Live turkeys

At Goffle Road Poultry Farm in Wyckoff, the price of a live turkey was $2.39 a pound. By today, the fresh-killed poultry operation had sold out all of its live wild turkeys.

The farm says fresh-killed poultry results in a "juicier, moister, more succulent and tastier bird, with no residual sour fats."

All of the turkeys are allowed to roam. They are raised on vegetarian feed and without antibiotics, according to the farm. Here's a link to the Web site: Live poultry farm

My wife and son have asked for a turkey and a small ham for Thanksgiving. I've decided to make a spicy, Korean-style soft-tofu stew with shrimp and kimchi for my holiday dinner.

I saw a recipe for thinly sliced sweet potatoes and prunes I might try, but will substitute extra-virgin olive oil for the butter listed. I also might try making a cranberry salsa with tequila, plus steam a bunch of fresh green beans or broccoli florets.

Plastic potatoes

On Tuesday, I was looking for sweet potatoes at the ShopRite in Englewood. I saw a sign for them at $1.29 a pound, but the only ones I found were shrink wrapped in plastic.

Odd, I thought. When I took them to the register, they rang up as "Microwave Yam" at two for $3. The three I had weighed about a half-pound each, so that works out to $3 a pound.

At home, I read the small print on the wrapper: "Chef's Pride, microwave in the wrapper, triple washed, flavor-seal wrap, microwave on high 6-8 minutes."

That's ridiculous. Microwaving a sweet potato in plastic surely would result in the transfer of chemicals to the potato. 

That's why it's never a good idea to microwave food in a plastic container. Transfer it first to a glass plate or bowl and cover it with a paper towel, not plastic wrap.

I also have a microwave with a quick-cook setting that bakes potatoes in 8 to 10 minutes, without plastic wrap.

Today, I took the shrink-wrapped potatoes back for a refund, but couldn't find any loose sweet potatoes in the produce section.

On Tuesday, I did pick up a 5-pound box of clementines from Morocco for $4.99 that I passed up on Monday. They are bigger than the Spanish clementines from Spain I found at Costco for $5.99.

No credit for bag

Today and last week, a cashier at the Englewood ShopRite failed to give me a 5-cent credit for a reusable bag and said I would have to go to the customer service counter to get it.

Both times, I did so just to get my nickle. Is this a new, deliberate policy that hopes many customers simply won't bother?

Whole Foods Market and H Mart, the Korean supermarket chain, give customers a 10-cent credit for each reusable bag. Trader Joe's and New York-based Fairway Market give nothing.

Until recently, H Mart gave a credit of 20 cents a bag.

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