Here’s a frugal tip sent in by reader Ariane:

Ok, so my family loves turkey (and I’m allergic to chicken so I like to replace it with Turkey) and I don’t know about you but I just have a hard time finding a decent price that meets our meager budget. When I’m lucky, I can get a couple of small breasts for $5 that my hard working meat-loving husband can eat in one sitting. So the other day, I saw that Wal-mart had whole turkeys for $1.27/lb which isn’t bad, not the cheapest they have (usually $0.97 during holidays) but still good enough that I could splurge on the purchase.

Well, I got home and put it in the sink since I had to make room in the freezer and then well I just forgot about it after putting my 10 month old son to bed and husband distracting me all night, no, not that kind of distraction! Thankfully, our kitchen is quite cool if not cold at night so the next morning, even though my turkey was mostly defrosted, I still felt it was safe enough to cook and eat but I really didn’t want to go through the trouble of making a whole turkey dinner. Then I had a thought, a little light bulb that went off in my head, since I had just fillet a whole salmon a few nights before I guess the process was still in my mind. I thought, why can’t I just split my turkey! I can freeze the separate parts for future dinners and only use what I need.

Now, I have to say that if you’re squeamish or dislike touching raw meat, this might not be for you!  But I went ahead and split it using a fillet knife and sturdy kitchen scissors, I left the skin on as well because I wasn’t sure what meals I would be making and the skin adds some flavour in certain dishes. After all the work, I was left with two nice very big turkey breasts, enough for a big meal each with leftovers and two sets of drumsticks (turkey drumsticks are not unsubstantial!) and wings. I like to roast one set for dinner, it’s almost like roasting a whole chicken. I also cleaned up the carcass for trimmings and boiled those right away to make turkey salad sandwich for lunch tomorrow and of course there’s all you need to make soup stock which I froze in a separate ziploc bag for later. So out of this experience, I will have gotten 4 dinner meals, a lunch and soup fixing for a whopping $13.50, and if I calculate that on just the dinners I would be paying $3.75 worth of meat for each dinner, wow that’s worth it too me!

To split the turkey, I started with the drumstick using scissors.  I cut the skin along the joining to the breast, it’s really just a lot of loose skin there and followed the thigh down to the bone, I did this from the other end as well (where the bum and drumstick meet) and did this for side first. Now you can’t get the bone out from the rest of the turkey right away, you have to wait until the breast is cut clear but it’s easier to do the breast if you don’t have the thigh in the way. Next for the breasts, I used the fillet knife along the middle of the breast bone, it makes the perfect guide to cut along the breast and just follow all the way down and it should come clear fairly easily, in the process you want to end up cutting most of the wing off from the outside of the breast and it just needs a couple little scissor cuts to get it all the way off. Okay, so the hard part is getting the drumstick bone out of the carcass.  For me, it was easiest to cut away every thing I could as close to the ribs and just twist the bone out, it’s not pretty but effective. At this point I just cleaned up the carcass for extra bits I couldn’t get in those cuts and out them in bowl to boil later. I froze each breast in it’s own ziploc bag and a drumstick and wing together in their own bag, I also froze the carcass and extra’s (gillets, heart, liver) together in a bag for future use as stock.

Have you got a frugal tip to send along?  Send your tip to me here!