Brining makes for a moist, flavorful turkey that you won’t need to drown with gravy. While many brines include brown sugar along with the salt, this healthier version uses the natural sweetness and acidity of apple cider. Roast the turkey with cut apples, celery, and onion.
Brine for a 12 to 18 pound turkey
¾ cup sea salt
2 quarts apple cider
4 cups hot water
4 cups cold water
1 tbs. whole peppercorns
1 tbs. dried rosemary and sage
Dissolve the sea salt in 4 cups hot water, and add the peppercorns, rosemary and sage. Steep until cooled to room temperature. Add 4 cups cold water and 2 quarts apple cider and immerse the turkey in the brine. Store in a large bag or bowl in the refrigerator, or in a cooler, chilled with ice packs. Brine the turkey for 1 hour per pound, or up to 24 hours before roasting.
To roast, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove turkey from brine and discard the brine. Rinse turkey inside and out, then pat dry. Rub turkey with 2 tablespoons olive oil and fill cavity of turkey with 1 chopped apple and 1 chopped shallot. Loosely fill the cavity; don’t pack it in. If you want to put some of the stuffing in the neck cavity under the neck skin, pack 2 to 3 cups stuffing, and secure with a couple of toothpicks. Roast for 15 minutes at 450 and then lower temperature to 325, sprinkle with chopped fresh rosemary and sage, and roast for 2 to 2 ½ hours, or until turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.