May 15, 2013

Turkey Pepperoni Cuts Fat

Sometimes you don't really want to know.** Right? 
More than you wanted to know about pepperoni: 
According to America's Test Kitchen, pepperoni dates back to ancient Rome as a convenient food for soldiers on the march. Much later, other Italians on the move--this time to the New World--brought pepperoni to New York City where it met up with pizza! Wonderful combination. 
I learned from the ATK experts that pepperoni is made from cured and FERMENTED** pork with some beef and a lot of seasonings thrown in. Nothing like that garlicky goodness to cover the bleeccch of fermented meat. 
Real pepperoni also contains a fair amount of fat. Don't believe me? Let's try some pre-warming. 
"Warming up pepperoni in the microwave is commonly done before cooking it. This is because the pepperoni releases some of its fats, in the form of grease, as it heats up. Warming up pepperoni in the microwave also helps to crisp it up."
So, here we go. 
Lay a few slices of pepperoni on a couple of sheets of paper towel.
Slide the paper towel on a microwave safe dish.... 
and zap those little fermented porkers for about 20-27 seconds.

See those grease rings around the little slices? This picture was not PhotoShopped! This is the real deal. Look at all the fat that has drained out! People who love the grease dripping down their chins are not going to like precooked pepperoni, but, hey, this is better for you. 
A while back, companies started offering turkey versions of pepperoni. Have you tried them? They are not the same texture, they are not the same taste, they are not even the same color! But check the labels the next time you are in the store. Sixteen slices of turkey pepperoni come to 4 grams of fat. The regular stuff clocks out a whopping 13 grams! Whew! Quite the difference. 
So let's see what happens to our little pre-cooking experiment with this turkey version.

See? The color is not quite the same. These little guys don't even lay flat! But watch what happens next:

Amazing, right? There is virtually no fat on the paper towel. Well, except for the place where I snitched one before taking the shot.
And here's something I did not pick up on when at the store. Although the packages are the same size and price, the turkey one is only 4.5 ounces [over 60 slices] compared to the regular type at 6 ounces [over 80 slices]. Sodium in the regular kind? 550mg! Turkey type? 380mg. 
Well, there you go. Need flavor, don't care about fat [or sodium] content and want a better value? Go with regular pepperoni. But want to watch your fat and sodium content? Give turkey kind a try.
By the way, America's Test Kitchen gave highest ratings to the Margherita brand. Have to admit, it is much better than the nationwide brand I have bought for years.

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