As Enviro Girl types this post, her kitchen counter is covered with the last of her squash harvest–ready for baking and freezing. That’s just one of several things she’s doing weeks out to get ready for November 28th. Here’s a quick prep list to save you time and money while making your Thanksgiving holiday eco-friendly and meaningful.
1. Contrary to what you see in magazine and TV ads, there’s no need to buy Ziploc or other storage containers for Thanksgiving leftovers. Reuse the plastic packaging you’ve already purchased when you buy sour cream, yogurt, ice cream and bread. Those reusable containers and bags will store food and make it easy to send extra stuffing and turkey home with your guests. They’ll refrigerate and freeze leftovers, too–just remember not to reheat plastic in the microwave!
2. Buying in bulk reduces packaging and costs less. If you know you’re prepping food for a large crowd, consider heading to a bulk food store. Reduce your plastic consumption by bringing your own containers to the bulk food store.
3. Keep an eye on staples when you grocery shop. Before Thanksgiving you’ll find items like cranberries, potatoes, sweet potatoes, celery and pumpkin on sale. Stock up on those ingredients–and if you know you’ll require these same supplies for Christmastime meals, buy extra. Root vegetables, frozen and canned goods will last months if properly stored, so take advantage of those low prices.
4. Incorporate gratitude into November. This year Enviro Girl’s family is making a “Board of Thanks.” Throughout the month her family writes something they’re thankful for on a leaf, gradually filling the board with gratitude. You could invent many variations on this idea to prepare your mind and spirit for the Thanksgiving Holiday. This is also a cheap way to decorate your house for the season.
5. Make some of your Thanksgiving food ahead of time. Party mix, pies, soups and cranberry relish can be made weeks ahead of the Big Day–just store them in air-tight containers and/or freeze as appropriate.
6. Store ice now. It’s silly to buy ice if you’re hosting a crowd. Empty your ice-maker into buckets or bags a few times a week and store in your freezer, and you’ll be all set for Thanksgiving
7. Don’t succumb to advertising. If you’re hosting a large crowd, you don’t need to buy all kinds of extra stuff for the event. Can people bring folding chairs or card tables? Can you use a neighbor or community center or church’s roaster oven or extra crock pots? If you dig in, you’d be amazed at what you can rent, borrow or use for little to nothing.
Tell the Eco Women: How do you save time, money and headaches by prepping for Thanksgiving?