Martha Stewart offers a simple and easy-to-follow recipe for turkey brine that uses coarse salt and various herbs and seasonings. This recipe makes enough brine for one 18- to 20-pound turkey.
To make Martha Stewart's turkey brine, bring 1 quart water, 1 1/2 cups coarse salt, 6 bay leaves, 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon dried juniper berries, 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns, 1 tablespoon fennel seeds and 1 teaspoon black or brown mustard seeds to a simmer. Cook, and stir until the salt has dissolved. Let cool for five minutes.
Line the sides of an empty 5-gallon container with a large brining or oven roasting bag. Place an 18- to 20-pound turkey that has been patted dry and has had the neck, giblets and liver removed in the bag, and add the brine. Add 6 quarts water, 1 bottle dry Riesling, 2 thinly sliced medium onions, 6 crushed garlic cloves and 1 bunch fresh thyme. Ensure the turkey is fully submerged in the brine, weighing it down with a plate if necessary. Tie the bag firmly, and refrigerate for 24 hours. Flip the turkey once while it is brining.
Reserve the removed neck and giblets for stock, and the liver for stuffing.