5 Tips to Reduce Waste this Thanksgiving

For home cooks, one of the biggest dining events of the year is approaching: Thanksgiving. After modified, distanced, or small holiday celebrations last year, many families plan a cautious return to normal (for additional information on gathering safely, check out the CDC’s Holiday tips!) 

Since you might be cooking for a larger crowd than usual, it’s easy to overbuy and end up with wasted produce. Here’s our quick guide to reducing waste this Thanksgiving: 

1) Do a Head Count and Cut Down on Single-Use Products

How many people are coming? Will you make the whole meal or ask your guests to bring a dish to pass? Do you have enough plates and silverware for the meal? These are just a few things to consider before hosting on the big day. If you’re feeding a crowd, ask them to bring their own dinnerware to avoid having to use single-use paper plates or plastic. While you’re at it, add takeaway containers to their list, so that way everyone leaves with a manageable amount of leftovers – which are less likely to head into a landfill! 

2) Practice whole-vegetable eating 

Did you get some beets or carrots with greens still attached at the farmers market? Not sure what to do with the ribs of your swiss chard? Don’t toss them — you can eat them! Whole-vegetable cooking makes delicious meals out of what could be food waste.

Check out Make Food Not Waste’s Vegetable Hacks for even more resources on using your entire crisper drawer! 

3) Make it a Bones Day

Save those turkey bones and make stock! You can save the bones in your freezer until you’re ready to make broth. Then, you can either make turkey soup or save the flavorful broth for your sauces, or even for making rice! Here’s a quick guide to making your own turkey stock.

4) Compost what you Can! 

Instead of tossing them into the trash, take your potato peels, squash skins, and other inedible scraps from your kitchen and turn them into rich soil. Get the basics on composting at home!

5) Ended up with More Produce than you can Cook?  

Despite your best efforts, did you end up picking up too much food? Many wintertime vegetables can be stored for months, if held properly! Use our storage guide for your unused veggies to keep them as long as possible!

Want to learn more? Detroit’s Make Food Not Waste offers resources for low-waste home cooking, during the holidays and year-round! 

Emma Beauchamp is the former Editor in Chief for Taste the Local Difference.

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