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We know that eating more processed meats, such as luncheon meats, sausage, bacon and hot dogs, have been linked to an increased risk of both heart disease and diabetes.
I don't think we're completely sure yet, but many believe that this is due to the higher level of nitrites in these foods. But sometimes you want some sausage with your eggs and it's probably safer to select products that don't contain all those additives.
We've tested Applegate Farms products in the past (they were the winner of our hot dog taste tests), and when we spotted their breakfast sausages we thought it would be worth tasting. I chose two of their sausages – the Chicken & Sage Breakfast Sausage and the Classic Pork Breakfast Sausage. The ingredient list for these is so simple it's refreshing:
Natural Chicken and Sage Breakfast Sausage
Chicken, Water, Contains Less Than 2% Of The Following: Evaporated Cane Syrup, Salt, Spices, Sage.
Natural Classic Pork Breakfast Sausage
Pork, Water, Contains Less Than 2% Of The Following: Evaporated Cane Syrup, Salt, Spices.
Notice that there are no fillers or byproducts of any kind. They advertise their products as being organic and antibiotic free, but most important: no nitrites of any kind.
The pork sausage is very traditional with a mild flavor and a creamy texture. Two links come in at 130 calories and 300 mg of sodium. Even so, these are not too salty (it is sausage after all). There's a good clean fresh flavor, even though these came from the freezer case. All in all a very traditional, sausagey taste and not a bad choice for your weekend brunch.
The chicken and sage is quite good with a slightly spicy flavor and a great taste of sage that comes through in a nice herbaceous way. These are only 90 calories for two links and 270 mg of sodium. Both of these varieties are quite simply good sausage!
While looking at the sausage I noticed that Applegate offers frozen turkey burgers. We've had some requests to review soy burgers in the past, but truthfully, I haven't been able to bring myself to test them because every time I look at them there's just too much sodium and often a lot of ingredients that I can't recognize (seems ironic that a "healthy" soy burger should have so much junk in it).
The Applegate turkey burgers? Only 55 mg of sodium each. And the ingredients? Turkey and rosemary.
I must admit that I was a bit dubious because the instructions are to cook from frozen. Doing so there was a lot of steam and water coming off of the burgers, but the aroma was that wonderful smell of roasting turkey.
Tasting the burgers without any trimmings was about what I expected. Having made a number of turkey burger recipes in the past, I have found that they can be dry and these are slightly so. The flavor is good but also a bit bland, given that there's very little sodium.
Served on a whole grain bun with a pinch of salt, lettuce, tomato and some mayo, these are pretty darn good. The veggies and mayonnaise add some much needed moisture and all and all this is a good, but not great, burger.