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Why Latin American households use orange juice and wine to prepare turkeys on Thanksgiving


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It is no secret that many Latino families have adapted American customs and traditions due to the high influx of people who have arrived from different countries during the last decades, but have you ever wondered how they prepare the traditional turkey on Thanksgiving?

According to the United States Census Bureau, about 67.3 million Hispanics live in the United States, making it the nation’s largest racial or ethnic minority – 19.1% of the total population.

This is why many families on Thanksgiving decide to prepare the famous turkey, but using spices and ingredients that are not considered “common” for this type of dish.

Edgar Izquierdo, a Venezuelan father says that as part of the preparation, he uses orange juice and red wine, where he leaves it to rest for a day before putting it in the oven.

When asked why red wine and orange juice, he said that after many attempts to prepare the turkey, he felt that it lacked juiciness, so he tried with some orange juice he had in the fridge but then it tasted too citric, so he added red wine to level it out.

This has been his recipe for many years and says that many of his friends also use orange juice and wine in the preparation of the turkey.

“You could say it is common, many friends prepare it similarly because it gives it a special flavor,” Izquierdo said.

On the other hand, a Colombian family said that like Izquierdo, part of their recipe included preparing the turkey in red wine and pineapple or strawberry jam, to give it a sweet taste and a good consistency.

Chanddy Ruiz, mom of 4, says that these ingredients were adopted from other generations, and they have made changes over the years but red wine and pineapple jam have always been the main ingredients.

“It’s a mix between sweet and sour, it gives it an unique flavor but you can still say you’re eating turkey,” Ruiz said.

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