Danita's Dish: Don't waste the turkey this Thanksgiving!

CLEVELAND - I was reading an article on CNN.com about making the most of your Thanksgiving meal and was astonished by one of the facts I read.

It was written by food scientist Dana Gunders and it stated that this Thanksgiving, Americans will trash a whopping $282 million of uneaten turkey. She says, "It takes 105 billion gallons of water to produce that much turkey - enough to supply New York City for more than 100 days."

That is a lot of wasted turkey that could be eaten by those who are in need of food. It started me thinking about how much food is wasted in my home. Sometimes, it's because we don't plan out the quantity of food being prepared or we forget it's in the fridge and then we remember it's old and spoiled.

I'm sure you have examples of when you've wasted food and probably thought nothing of it.  Well, this article is a wake up call on this issue. Gunders gives several tips on how to avoid wasting turkey. I think you will find most of them easy to do.

Let's start with buying a smaller turkey. Do you really need a 17-pound turkey for four people? Think about it.

Secondly, acquire a love for leftovers. Leftovers are good. Leftovers taste great. Leftovers keep the flavor of Thanksgiving going long after the day is gone. Send your guests home with a mini Thanksgiving meal they can enjoy the next day, and the next day, and the next day. Invest in  plastic containers. Lots of them. Nobody leaves empty-handed. Got it? Good.

Next, it's a breeze to freeze. Gunders says when the magic of the leftovers is over, freeze it. You can thaw it out two to three weeks later and the food will still taste delicious.

And don't forget to give thanks. Be thankful for the food that you are about to devour. Because there are so many families that would love to have the meal you are about to consume.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

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