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In the frenzy to prepare your Thanksgiving feast, there are a number of so-called scraps that might get, well, scrapped, as you churn out dish after dish. Potato peels, celery leaves, and winter squash innards could be swept into the compost bin without thinking—but don't do it!
Take a moment now to plan ahead and figure out what to save: You'll be rewarded with bonus appetizers, a sauce to slather on next-day turkey sandwiches, and so much more.
The main event! You probably knew to save the giblets for gravy, and the carcass for stock, but did you know you can use the head and feet, too?
swiss chard Stalks
Is your dinner menu going to include creamed greens? If so, and if Swiss chard will be in the mix, don't toss the stalks. They can be turned into hummus or pesto, either of which can be added to the appetizer spread as a dip or saved for the days ahead to help turn Thanksgiving leftovers into new meals.
For Thanksgiving, stale bread is less of a scrap as it is a necessary ingredient for the holiday. So yes, this is basically a thinly-veiled ploy to get this stuffing recipe on your radar if you haven't made it yet.
apple & potato Peels
Making an apple pie or two? Don't toss the peels, you can use them to flavor tea or bourbon—it's okay to base that choice on how many crazy relatives are coming for the holidays.
All of the potato peels left over from prepping potatoes for mashers can be turned into chips. Try Tara Duggan's recommended method: “Toss potato peels with salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, and a pinch of brown sugar and coat with leftover melted bacon fat. Spread out on a parchment-lined pan and roast at 400° F until bacon-fragrant, 15 to 18 minutes.”
If you're using celery in your stuffing, keep all of those little leaves from the tender, inner stalks! Then make this sauce and slather it on turkey sandwiches after Thanksgiving.
Root Vegetable Greens
If you're roasting any root vegetables for your meal, don't forget to save the greens. They can be turned into a quick bonus side dish—either to put on the table or to nibble on in the kitchen while you cook.
Winter Squash Innards
All of these recipes say "pumpkin," but go ahead and use the webbing and seeds from any type of winter squash. When you're roasting seeds, just keep timing in mind, as teeny butternut squash seeds will roast faster than pumpkin seeds will.
What "scrap" do you find yourself overwhelmed by during Thanksgiving prep? Tell us in the comments and we'll brainstorm ways you can use it!