How to Have an Organic Thanksgiving
Hosting a Thanksgiving feast has been a tradition for many families. And while many people prepare their menus with what is readily available in the supermarket, some families opt for an organic Thanksgiving by carefully selecting their ingredients.
An organic Thanksgiving menu is not very different from the typical Thanksgiving menu composed of roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, vegetables, fruits, pies, and other desserts. The only difference is that most, if not all, of the ingredients used in the menu are organic. Organic products are a healthier option because they are grown without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, and harsh chemicals. Click here to learn more about the importance of buying organic food.
Here are some tips on how to have an organic Thanksgiving:
1. Prepare an organic menu in advance
If you intend to have an organic dinner, prepare your menu in advance. You should have ample time to research dishes that use organic ingredients. Furthermore, try to incorporate ingredients that are in season, such as pumpkins and figs. These ingredients are not only nutritious, but they can also be used to make tasty dishes and desserts. A good example of an organic menu is composed of roasted pasture-raised turkey, pumpkin pie, soup, mashed potatoes, vegetable salad with homemade vinaigrette (as a substitute for readymade salad dressing), and fresh organic fruits.
2. Buy ingredients from your local organic farmer
For fruits and vegetables, it would be wise to buy them from local farmers who grow them organically. Although there are organic fruits and vegetables available in many supermarkets, you can find fresher and cheaper products from an organic local delivery farming company.
3. Look for the organic label
Most fruits and vegetables that are not normally pre-packed contain a sticker where the word “organic” is indicated. Packages of meat, eggs, cheese, milk and other single-ingredient products may also contain the word “organic.” For multi-ingredient products, it may be worded differently, depending on the organic content. Products labeled as “100 percent organic” should only contain organic ingredients. If the label states “made with organic ingredients,” at least 70 percent of its ingredients are organic, while if the label states “organic” only, at least 95 percent of its ingredients are organic. You may also find products labeled as “USDA organic,” which means that the product is grown and processed according to federal standards.
4. Carefully choose your turkey
Buying an organic turkey seems to be a straightforward task, but it can become overwhelming especially if you are presented with different terms on the label of how the turkey was raised. Many of the frozen turkeys in supermarkets are factory-farmed, unless they contain a label that states “organic”, “free-range,” or “pasture-raised.”
- Organic – The “organic” label of frozen turkeys indicate that they are fed with organic foods and are not injected with growth hormones, antibiotics, and chemicals. It also indicates that they are processed without additives.
- Free-range – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has limited specifications for “free-range” poultry which is classified as those that were “given access to the outside.”
- Pasture-raised – “Pasture-raised” turkeys are those which were raised in pastures that are pesticide-free, and which were not fed with grain supplements nor were given antibiotics, hormones, or harsh chemicals. These turkeys mostly live and feed freely on grasslands than in cages.
If you can find a pasture raised-turkey, that is your best option; otherwise, you may opt for organic turkeys. If you cannot find them locally, you can order them online.
5. Use your china instead of using disposables
You may be tempted to use disposable dishware for your Thanksgiving dinner, especially if you have been working in the kitchen all day. But by doing so, you are contributing to additional waste and the use of trees to make disposables. For an ultimate organic dinner, bring out your best dishware.
Preparing an organic dinner may require more time in looking for the right ingredients. But ultimately, you will reap great rewards in terms of taste and nutrition.