Save some energy on Thanksgiving

It can take days for a frozen-solid Thanksgiving turkey to thaw out in the refrigerator--about 24 hours for each five pounds--and believe it or not, that forces the fridge to work harder than usual.

            Buy a fresh turkey instead and save some energy. Note the "sell by" date on the turkey's label; your turkey will maintain optimal quality and safety for up to two days past that deadline.

            Here are a few more energy-saving turkey tips:

  • If you're hosting a small holiday celebration, consider cooking only part of the turkey so you won't have to roast it for so long and you won't have so many leftovers to store. Roasting just a breast or the legs and thighs--or buying a super-small bird--will take less energy to prepare and create less waste when you can't finish all of the leftovers.
  • Between basting the bird and baking the pies, your oven will be running practically non-stop from the day before Thanksgiving to the evening of. That means your house is going to be warmer than usual. So turn your thermostat down a few degrees. You'll stay comfortable while saving energy.
  • If you cook your mashed potatoes and other side dishes while the turkey is still in the oven, your cooktop will use less energy. If those sides require time in the oven, prepare them in class or ceramic pans, which allow you to turn the oven temperature down by up to 25 degrees--without adding cooking time.
  • Unless you are roasting or broiling for more than an hour, there's no need to preheat your oven.
  • Don't boil your food. It robs it of flavor and nutrients. Instead, bring the liquid almost to a boil, and then immediately lower the temperature and let the food simmer until it's cooked.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends cooking a thawed, stuffed, 16-pound turkey--the average size--for four to 4.5 hours.