Less Food Waste Makes A Big Impact

Thanksgiving brings out the belief that everyone is going to gobble til’ they wobble, causing family cooks to prepare unparalleled portions of traditional holiday foods. While we all enjoy a great Thanksgiving feast, an unfortunate side effect is waste, with more than 200 million pounds of turkey alone thrown away instead of consumed. That number doesn’t include uneaten green bean casserole, candied yams, Jello salad, Brussels Sprouts, pumpkin pie….wait…there’s no such thing as uneaten pumpkin pie! With these 3 tips to reduce food waste, you can protect the watersheds from holiday food waste.

  1. Stick To A Plan:
    • Before grocery shopping, take inventory of what you already have in your kitchen.
    • A few days past a label’s expiration date doesn’t mean the food isn’t safe to use.
    • Plan for recipes that use the same ingredients to share the groceries among the side dishes.
    • Consider skipping traditional recipes if only a few family members actually eat them.
    • Confirm your guest list and calculate number of portions needed to maximize your menu.
  2. Cook Just Enough:
    • Cut recipes in half for those “gotta have” traditional sides that end up as week-long leftovers.
    • Many ovenware manufacturers make mini casserole dishes that will let you have a taste of Aunt Sally’s famous corn casserole without the waste.
    • For small family gatherings, consider making a stuffed turkey breast or small roast chicken.
  3. Use Everything:
    • Don’t peel or trim vegetables that will end up smashed, mashed or in a casserole.
    • Avoid recipes that call for small amounts of an ingredient that you can only buy in large amounts. Spices, specialty cheeses and buttermilk are all examples of special occasion ingredients that can easily go to waste.
    • Combine vegetable tops and peels with water and herbs to make a tasty homemade stock that can be frozen for later use.
    • Find creatives recipes on the Internet to truly repurpose leftovers instead of merely reheating. Toast stuffing for tasty croutons, whip up savory pancakes with mashed potatoes, and spread cranberry sauce on bagels.

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