Thanksgiving Hacks for The Homesteader

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 Thanksgiving Hacks for The Homesteader - The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

Thanksgiving Hacks for The Homesteader (& Anyone Else!)

Just in case you need a little help getting ready for Thanksgiving, 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!

Big Turkey

Raised and processed on our homestead…now THAT is one plump turkey!

The Turkey

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

  • Butcher the bird 1or 2 days ahead and chill so the meat will be tender
  • Complete instructions for How To Butcher a Turkey
  • Butcher ahead of time and freeze to reduce pre-holiday stress
  • Thaw your frozen turkey (Safe instructions from Still Tasty)
  • Brine turkey to make it extra juicy
  • Slide pats of butter up under the breast skin for juicy white meat
  • Baste with juices!

Here is a nice article on Food.com about how to brine and roast your turkey. If you are interested in reading about heritage turkeys for your table, check out my article on Dressing a Heritage Turkey for Thanksgiving.

I’m a bit embarrassed that I don’t have any of my own pie photos! Sweet Potatoe Pie – source  Wikimedia, Ellen Beltz

Homemade Pies

Want to impress everyone with homemade pies? Perfect pie hacks will help you set a pretty dessert table!

  • A very nice pie crust recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction (uses shortening & butter)
  • Make a pumpkin pie from a pumpkin! From Food Network
  • Here’s a gorgeous Pecan Pie from Gimme Some Oven (someday I’ll share my recipe)
  • Want to try Sweet Potato Pie? Here’s an easy recipe from AboutFood.com
  • You can make your whipped cream ahead of time with this recipe from Chowhound!

Dressing photo source – Wikimedia by Sodania Chea

Stuffing/DressingFrom Scratch

Tired of the storebought stuffing mix? Try these tips for perfect stuffing…

  • Make your favorite white or wheat bread recipe several days ahead. Cube and dry bread in oven or food dehydrator until crispy.
  • Use your own turkey or chicken bone broth made ahead and frozen or canned.
  • Rubbed sage, rosemary, and thyme from your own garden taste wonderful!
  • Chop onion and celery and saute in lots of butter (I use 1/2 cup of butter)
  • Add your broth, a teaspoon of salt and stir in frying pan with the veggies until hot
  • Place dried bread and herbs in large bowl
  • Pour broth mixture over bread and mix thoroughly. Bread should be moist but not soggy.
  • Don’t stuff your bird, bake the stuffing separately for food safety.
  • I never follow a recipe, I just mix up what looks right. If you’d like a recipe, check out this one from AllRecipes.com. (Personally, I would skip the mushrooms.)
I like these Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins along with the rolls in my bread basket.

I like these Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins along with the rolls in my bread basket.

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 out of the oven before they brown and you have homemade ‘brown and serve’ rolls.
  • Muffins and quick breads can be made a day or 2 ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.
  • Mix up your pie crust dough a day or 2 ahead of time and store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. You can also roll the crusts out, fit in your pie pans, stick in a large plastic bag and freeze 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 bottom of pan to prevent burning, add berries, and cook until tender. Add just enough sugar or honey to sweeten to taste. Chill and serve cold.

Need help with your gravy? Check out this article from Rhodale’s Organic Life.

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. Now if I could just take some photos to share with you!

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

 

 


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5 comments on “Thanksgiving Hacks for The Homesteader

  1. Cindy Marsch

    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.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      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!

      Reply
        1. Lisa Lynn Post author

          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. Lisa Lynn Post author

          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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