Fun & Celebrations

Thanksgiving Hacks for The Homesteader

Thanksgiving card

Thanksgiving Hacks for Homesteaders

Just in case you need a little help getting ready for the big day, here are some Thanksgiving hacks for the homesteader… or for anyone really! I’m sharing tips for making prep work go more smoothly and some links to recipes and helpful instructions. I hope this helps reduce your stress levels this week.

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Roasting turkey

Thanksgiving Turkey Hacks

Some of you raise your own turkeys and some will need to purchase one for Thanksgiving. Either way, here are some helpful turkey hacks…

If you are interested in reading about heritage turkeys for your table, check out my articles on Heritage Turkeys for Your Homestead and Dressing a Heritage Turkey for Thanksgiving.

butternut custard
Try my Butternut custard recipe in place of pumpkin pie!

Make Your Own Homemade Pies

Want to impress everyone with homemade pies? Try these pie hacks to set a pretty dessert table. There’s no shame in using a mix or premade crusts to help save time!

Stuffing/DressingFrom Scratch

Tired of the storebought stuffing mix? (#ad) Try these tips for perfect stuffing…

  • Cube and dry bread in an oven or food dehydrator until crispy (#ad)
  • Use your own turkey or chicken broth made ahead and frozen or canned
  • Use sage, rosemary, and thyme from your own garden or purchase poultry seasoning (#ad)
  • Chop onion and celery and saute in butter, margarine, or olive oil
  • Add your broth and a teaspoon of salt then stir it into the frying pan with the veggies until hot
  • Place dried bread and herbs in a large bowl
  • Pour the broth mixture over the bread and mix thoroughly (Bread should be moist but not soggy)
  • Don’t stuff your bird, bake the stuffing separately for food safety

Make It Ahead

You can make quite a few things ahead of time and relieve some of the stress on turkey day!

  • Make your own dinner rolls and bake until almost done. Take them out of the oven before they brown and you have homemade ‘brown and serve’ rolls.
  • Muffins and quick bread can be made ahead and frozen or stored in the refrigerator
  • Mix up your pie crust dough a day ahead and store it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. You can also roll the crusts out, fit them in your pie pans, stick them in a large plastic bag, and freeze them the week before Thanksgiving.
  • My neighbor’s wife used to roast her turkey the day before Thanksgiving, then she would slice and arrange the meat on heat-proof platters to refrigerate overnight. The next day the platters went in the oven shortly before dinner. I think this could dry the turkey out, but maybe some drippings would help.
  • Homemade cranberry sauce is super easy to make the day ahead and refrigerate. Wash and sort berries, add enough water to the bottom of the pan to prevent burning, add berries, and cook until tender. Add just enough sugar or honey to sweeten to taste. Chill and serve cold.
  • Get your table and decor ready ahead of time, too! This frees up time for cooking later.

Gravy Hack: Lumpy Gravy? Strain it through a sieve to remove the lumps, then heat and serve.

I’m certainly not perfect! And I’ve had lumpy gravy, dried-out turkey, and burned dinner rolls on my Thanksgiving table. Over the years I’ve had quite a bit of practice and things go much more smoothly when I cook for the holidays.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving Hack? I’d love to hear about it!


5 Comments on “Thanksgiving Hacks for The Homesteader

  1. Thanksgiving is sneaking up on me! We have grown our own pumpkins before, and even the jack-o-lantern kind can make a good pumpkin pie, WITH CARE. I bake the pumpkin, put the flesh in the blender (I’m blessed with a Vita Mix), then suspend it in a colander with cheesecloth to drain out the liquid into a saucepan. Otherwise the flesh is too watery. BUT WAIT! Don’t discard the liquid. Instead, cook it down on the stove to a surprisingly syrupy goodness, then add it back to the pureed flesh. Even better, bake and freeze the pumpkin puree ahead of time, then catch the separated liquid as it defrosts, and cook that down to add back into the puree. Enjoy!

    This year we’ve got canned pumpkin because we have a big crop of heritage sweet potatoes (Coffey variety from north Georgia, passed on from my aunt and uncle in Tennessee, now making good crops in Pennsylvania) and will be making that pie for the main feature.

    1. Thanks for sharing your ‘pumpkin hacks’ with us, Cindy!!! I’ve made my own pies from homegrown pumpkins in the past, but none of my pumpkins made it this year. So I’ll be buying canned…sigh. Your sweet potatoes sound delicious and it’s making me think, maybe I should try that this year instead of picking up that pumpkin!?!

      Thanks again for sharing and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

      1. Hi,
        There are sharing buttons at the bottom of the page. If you ever want to share something and there aren’t any buttons, you can copy the url and paste it into the facebook post. Thanks for stopping by!

      2. Hmmm, I just went and double checked and I see that all I have are facebook like buttons. I’ll try to get sharing buttons arranged. Sorry!

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