Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Homegrown Foods to Use this Thanksgiving

In some of the past few communEATi blogs and posts, we’ve talked about fruits and veggies that you can grow right in your own backyard to use in your Thanksgiving meal as a part of the #GrowYourThanksgiving movement. While your garden may not be ready until next year, you can still have a homegrown Thanksgiving meal this year!

Instead of stocking up on canned and processed foods from who-knows-where for all your cooking, seek out your local gardeners and farmers to see what’s available and try out these holiday favorites made with fruits, vegetables, and herbs right from your hometown.

The Main Dish
Instead of buying a prepackaged seasoning for the brine, try preparing your turkey with freshly grown herbs! This recipe works for a 16- to 25-pound turkey and is sure to please your guests. If there are any apple orchards nearby, swing by and grab a gallon of fresh apple juice. You’ll also need fresh ginger, peppercorns, allspice berries, cloves, and bay leaves. When you roast the turkey, try using freshly grown rosemary, thyme, and oregano. Dried herbs don’t necessarily lose nutritional value like fruits and vegetables do, but for the maximum flavor possible, fresh herbs are unbeatable.

Green Bean Casserole
This classic 1950s Thanksgiving side is usually made with canned beans and heavily processed onion crisps. Try reviving this dish with green beans grown locally and flash-frying locally grown sweet onions to top it. You can even ditch the sodium-heavy canned cream of mushroom soup and instead make your own to complete your homegrown recipe.

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a great excuse to eat dessert during your meal. While they may not taste like it, these sweet little roots are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, B6, B1, and B2. They are also a very good source of manganese, copper, pantothenic acid, potassium, dietary fiber, niacin, and phosphorus. So feel free to go overboard on the sweet potatoes this year: try your classic sweet potato casserole, sweet potato pie, or a roasted root-vegetable medley with winter squash and freshly pulled turnips this year with sweet potatoes right from your neighborhood.

Pumpkin Pie
Ahh, dessert. What Thanksgiving feast would be complete without a sweet and savory pumpkin dessert? And during this time of the year, pumpkin patches and produce stands are overflowing with locally grown pumpkins ripe and ready for the taking (just make sure you pay first). Delight your guests’ tastebuds by adding a healthy and fresh twist to your traditional Thanksgiving dessert with locally grown pumpkins!

Whatever traditional dishes your family puts on the table, the meal will be even more special with homegrown ingredients. Give it a try this Thanksgiving, and you might decide you want to #GrowYourThanksgiving for years to come. And from all of us at communEATi, we hope you enjoy your holidays, may they be full of togetherness and flavor!

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