It seems to us an appropriate time to talk about food waste again the week before Thanksgiving. We earlier focused on how to prepare meals and to conserve and serve leftover food. This week we focus on how to reduce food waste at celebratory times when having a large meal with family and friends is a focus. Eating together should be a social time, an occasion to talk together while also nourishing our bodies. On Thanksgiving Day, begin with a beloved family prayer of gratitude or ask someone to compose a prayer of thanks for the day. You might also go around the table and ask each person to say what they are grateful for.
These celebratory meals are crucial for cultural and familial reasons. But big meals produce large amounts of leftovers, and caring for them is crucial to our green goal of reducing food waste. According to the US Department of Agriculture, you should refrigerate leftovers from the meal within two hours of cooking (not of eating). If you divide the food into smaller portions and place them in airtight containers, you can store them in the refrigerator for up to four days. If you plan to offer leftovers to your guests, be sure to refrigerate them until the guests leave for their own homes and refrigerators. Other leftover food can be stored in labeled (contents, number of servings, and date), shallow (so that they cool quickly), airtight containers in the freezer. If, for example, you tried to store a large rather than a shallow container or a nearly-whole turkey, it would take too long too cool in the freezer, causing bacteria to grow and making the food potentially unsafe to eat. (https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2018/11/23/thanksgiving-leftovers- safe-keeping-weekend-grazing#)