How to Cook a No-Waste Thanksgiving

Give thanks this holiday by not tossing scraps
How to Cook a No-Waste Thanksgiving


Leave the skin on the apples with this recipe for an apple crostata. This dessert is an easy, waste-free twist on a traditional apple pie.

Don’t contribute to the waste pile; instead, discover new ingenious ways to use up potato skins, radish tops, apple peels, and bread crusts this Thanksgiving.

Click here for the How to Cook a No-Waste Thanksgiving slideshow.

As you plan your holiday meal, show thanks for the plentiful food in your refrigerator and pantry by planning a meal that minimizes the amount of usable food scraps you toss out.

We’ve read the statistics. Roughly a third of the food produced for consumption is wasted every year. According to the NRDC, the U.S. is holding steady — above the world average — tossing almost 40 percent of food produced each year. That’s a lot of food, especially considering the U.S. is one of the largest producers in the world of staple foods like corn, wheat, and soybeans.

Before you rush off to the store with your pages long list, take a quick inventory of what you already have. Note that “best by” dates are often a guideline, especially when it comes to canned goods, like that leftover canned pumpkin from last year.

Then, as you plan your menu consider how your dishes will fit together. Maybe you don’t like potato peels in your creamy mashed potatoes that you pathologically run through a ricer to ensure there are absolutely no lumps (we are with you on this one), but perhaps there is a use for those peels in another dish.

Try to get a firm head count. Wrangling RSVPs from guests can feel a lot like herding cattle, but the more certain you are of a number, the better you can plan portions, so you don’t over-shop, and end up with two pounds when one will do.

For the completely unavoidable scraps, consider starting a compost pile in your yard. Don’t have a yard? You can compost in your freezer.

Finally, share your leftovers with others by donating. Or, show your leftovers some love by turning yesterday’s Thanksgiving dinner into tomorrow’s spectacular lunch.

Let your ingredients shine with these waste-free Thanksgiving menu ideas from starters to dessert.

Angela Carlos is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Find her on Twitter and tweet @angelaccarlos.