Donating leftover Thanksgiving food may seem like a great idea. While sharing the leftovers with neighbors, friends, and family can be a nice gesture, it can also be wasteful. It is also important to remember that there are better options than donating food the recipient cannot eat. Turkeys and other perishable items should be presented separately.
Share leftovers with friends and neighbors
You can share your leftover Thanksgiving food with your friends and neighbors by donating it to a local food pantry. To find a food pantry near you, search their listings. They accept peanut butter, boxed macaroni and cheese, and whole-grain pasta. In addition, they take ingredients that are shelf-stable such as stale bread, cereal, or pasta sauce.
Another option for leftovers is to give them to the elderly or those without families. The elderly may appreciate a slice of the pie. They can also use the pie as a sandwich or snack. If you have extra bread or other dishes left over, you can share those with your friends and neighbors. It’s a great way to avoid food boredom, and it’s also a nice gesture.
Thanksgiving leftovers can be reheated in the microwave or adapted to different recipes. Many ingredients can be composted. Fruits, vegetables, eggshells, and coffee grounds are all great sources of compost. Whether you plan to use them in your garden or donate them to a food bank, consider sharing them with neighbors.
If you are having a Thanksgiving party but have no company, consider sharing your leftovers with friends and neighbors. This way, you can maximize the use of your food while minimizing waste. Remember, 40% of Americans live in food-insecure households. By sharing leftovers with friends and neighbors, you’ll be helping those people and the environment!
You’ll likely have plenty of turkey and cranberry sauce left during Thanksgiving. Why not make the most of the pieces and make creative sandwiches? There are many apps available to help you find ways to make the most of leftovers. Sign up for the one at Good Life Eats.
Most leftovers freeze well. Using leftover turkey, mashed potatoes, and brussels sprouts in new meals is another great option. You can even repurpose spare rolls and potatoes. You can use leftover vegetables to make a delicious soup. Turkey meat is the most versatile of all leftovers. You can also use it in omelets or tacos.
Avoid donating perishable foods.
When donating your leftover Thanksgiving food to a food bank, select items safe for donation; most food banks can’t accept glass jars or other things that could break during transportation. Instead, opt for shelf-stable options like canned or dry goods. Also, remember to consider donating bulk food items instead of individual servings.
When it comes to meat, you should label everything individually. A good choice is beef jerky, which is shelf-stable and contains a good amount of protein. Also, canned beef stews or soups are great options as they are low in sodium. Regardless of the type of food, shelf-stable proteins like meat are a big help for food banks.
Leftover Thanksgiving food can be donated to local food pantries and shelters. Food pantries accept various items, including peanut butter, canned vegetables, boxed macaroni and cheese, and other pantry staples. Check with your local food bank first to find out what they accept. You can also freeze extra food before donating it. If you have leftover meat, try freezing it for later use.
When donating leftover Thanksgiving food, be sure to follow food safety guidelines. Perishable food should be in the refrigerator for at most two hours. Even if you are giving it to a food bank, remember that some leftovers are hot and some are cold. It is also essential to keep leftover foods refrigerated, so there are fewer chances of spreading foodborne illnesses.
When donating leftover Thanksgiving food, you can donate shelf-stable and canned goods. Before you contribute, contact the local food bank to see what they accept and what kind of items they carry. Always read their guidelines to ensure your donation is safe for the food bank.
Avoid donating frozen turkeys.
Last Thanksgiving, Americans wasted the equivalent of six million turkeys, worth about $293 million. The Natural Resources Defense Council calculated this figure based on sales reports from the National Turkey Federation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food waste estimates. Thanksgiving turkeys are one of the most common types of food waste, accounting for nearly 45% of all household food waste each year. Rather than simply throwing them away, consider donating them instead.
Donating food can help a local nonprofit, but it is also an excellent way to help the environment. Food in landfills creates methane and other gases that contribute to climate change. It is estimated that as many as 50 million Americans will be food insecure by 2021, so donating food is an excellent way to help people in need.
Turkeys should be deboned, and the stuffing and gravy should be removed. This helps prevent the growth of bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. The carcass of the turkey also makes an excellent soup base. For leftovers, it’s best to use them within three to four days.
If you have leftover Thanksgiving food, donating frozen turkeys to food banks is a bad idea. Food banks must maintain high standards to ensure food is safe. Donating a turkey to a food bank is a grand gesture, but there are better options than this. Many charities purchase turkeys in bulk and then distribute them to the needy.
Turkey leftovers should be stored in the freezer for a short time. Even if they are cooked, the quality of the meat will begin to degrade over time. While this isn’t life-threatening, it can cause gastrointestinal problems for vulnerable individuals. The only way to prevent this is to store it properly.