In the USA, Thanksgiving will be celebrated this Thursday. On this occasion, we have collected some useful tips to make your Thanksgiving dinner a success.
Thanksgiving is the most important holiday in the USA. On this day, family and friends come together for a large meal, usually comprising turkey, potatoes, cranberries and vegetables. But what is actually celebrated on Thanksgiving? In fact, opinions differ about the exact origin of the feast. Most Americans believe that the “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in Plymouth in 1621. Legend has it that they celebrated together with Wampanoag Indians for full three days. However, this is not historically documented. What’s more, Thanksgiving is not only celebrated in the USA, but also in Canada. There, however, it is already celebrated on the second Monday in October. The reason for this is that the crops are harvested earlier in Canada.
Wherever you will celebrate Thanksgiving this year – nothing can go wrong with our dinner tips:
Frozen turkey can be purchased all year long; it can be kept in the freezer for up to 12 months. Fresh turkey should however be purchased no more than 2 days before Thanksgiving. Refrigerated products should generally be placed in the shopping cart last so that the cold chain is not interrupted for too long.
Prepare turkey safely
Almost 90 % of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving. When preparing turkey, there are some things you should consider. For example, frozen turkey should be thawed in the refrigerator and not at room temperature, and it should be cooked as soon as it has thawed. Don’t wash the turkey because this allows Salmonella or other pathogenic bacteria to spread in the kitchen. Be sure to use a meat thermometer; it is the only reliable way to tell when the turkey is cooked. Turkey is safe to eat when all parts – from wing to stuffing – have reached a temperature of 70 to 80° Celsius (165° Fahrenheit).
Consider options for allergy sufferers
More and more people suffer from allergies or food intolerances. If this is the case with one of your guests, you should pay close attention to the ingredients and modify your recipes if necessary. For example, you could make lactose-free mashed potatoes by using soy milk and margarine. If you prefer cornbread, you should be aware that it usually contains wheat flour and is therefore not suitable as part of a gluten-free diet. Be extra careful when you have nut allergy sufferers on your guest list since many Thanksgiving dishes – from stuffing to sauces, vegetables and desserts – contain nuts.
Don’t forget your vitamins
Americans consume an average of 4,000 calories on Thanksgiving. Pecan pie is extremely rich in calories, containing around 500 calories per piece. It is not surprising that many people complain about fatigue after the meal. But it doesn’t have to be this way: not everything is unhealthy on Thanksgiving. Sweet potatoes for example are packed with antioxidants and vitamin A. Pumpkins consist of 90 % water and are a valuable source of fiber. Green beans contain lots of protein, vitamin B, beta carotene and minerals. And Brussels sprouts provide vitamins A, C and K as well as folic acid, potassium and iron.
Make use of leftovers
When the meal is served, don’t leave it at room temperature for too long since bacteria such as Clostridium perfringens may grow. Put leftovers in the refrigerator within 2 hours after cooking; it is best to divide the meal into small portions and separate the turkey from the stuffing. Be sure to eat leftovers within 3 to 4 days. Leftover turkey can be perfectly used to make sandwiches, soup, stew, casserole or salad. And those who have had enough of turkey for a while can just put it in the freezer; there it can be kept for up to 4 months.