(Drawing by Jacob | Courtesy of the Environmental Center)
I don’t know about you, but my Thanksgiving plans were thwarted by Kate Brown’s newest COVID-prevention orders. My outdoor buffet-style gathering of seven from six different households is no longer ok. Sigh. And we already bought the turkey. In the spirit of #nofoodwaste, in honor of the life that was taken to feed me and my friends, and taking into consideration all six ways I’m making myself more aware this November, here I will talk about how to use the whole bird.
Note: if you haven’t bought your food yet, think hard about the quantity that you buy. Only buy what you will be able to eat or store! It’s a fact that people in the U.S. produce 25 percent more waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Can we reduce that number?
Roast that Bird
• A traditional roast is just fine, but spatchcock is more fun to say. This is when you flatten the carcass after cutting out the backbone. (Make sure you save the backbone for your stock!) You roast it for a shorter time at a higher temperature.
• On the plus side, it makes more crispy skin, which is one of my favorite parts! Another plus: a ten-pound bird will cook in 45 minutes compared with the four hours it would take to roast whole.
• Downside, the high oven temp does cause a little grease splattering. But it’s not terrible.
Eat your fill.
• I got a ten-pound bird to feed my party of seven, and I know M and I can’t eat the whole thing in one sitting. So there will be leftover meat.
• Save all your bones! Bones from a roasted bird still make a great stock.
Package up your meat.
• Refrigerate what you know you will be able to eat in the next week.
• Set aside some to make some soup!
• Shred and freeze meat in small packages for later.
• Set aside all the bones and cartilage pieces for stock!
Make some stock.
• Hopefully, you saved some vegetable pieces and ends as you were making other dishes. If not, you can use bones only. Simmer your veggies and bones for a few hours. Strain and jar it up! Use some for your soup and freeze whatever you know you can’t use up!
Make some soup!
• Eat some, freeze what you know you can’t eat.
• If you live in Bend or Redmond city limits, you can put all wasted food in your yard debris bins, including the bones you boiled for your stock!
• Backyard composting is a great option for all your fruit and veggie scraps.
And there you have it. Here are the main takeaways:
• Don’t cook more food than you are prepared to eat or store.
• Your freezer is your friend (especially if you already bought that turkey-for-12).
• Use all the bits and bones!
Visit us for more holiday-related waste reduction tips at: envirocenter.org/category/holidays.
Rethink Waste is an Environmental Center program that operates in partnership with the Deschutes County Department of Solid Waste and local garbage service providers.