Let the Thanksgiving Prep Begin!

November 24, 2010(updated on April 24, 2023)

Pre-Thanksgiving Fridge

It’s the day before Thanksgiving. All across the country, turkeys are transitioning into states of readiness. The vegetables are gathered and waiting for their assignments. Desserts are being baked and serving dishes are getting getting their annual preparatory rinse.

I’m not responsible for cooking the full meal this year. In a few hours, Scott and I will be braving I-95 South (along with half the eastern seaboard) in order to spend the holiday with his mother and extended family. It’s not a wholy cooking free week for me, though. I spent the last two nights baking a double batch of these blondies and two of the vanilla bean loaves from Amanda Hesser’s Cooking for Mr. Latte (it’s the best pound cake I’ve ever had) as my contribution to the Thursday dessert table.

My family’s meal is taking place on Saturday and I’m bringing a vanilla-flecked sweet potato puree (loosely based upon this one), mashed cauliflower (so my carb-avoiding husband can have something akin to potatoes) and about a half gallon of homemade gravy. My cousin Angie is roasting the turkey and has promised to save the drippings, so that we can add them to said gravy.

I’m also taking a jar of that Cranberry Quince Sauce I mentioned yesterday to each of these dinners. I’m excited to share some of what I’ve canned with these friends and family. This time of year, it just feels right to share a bit of my own bountiful harvest (no matter that I didn’t grow any of the food I put up).

And that leads me to my question for all of you. How are you integrating the foods you’ve canned and preserved this year into your Thanksgiving celebrations? Whether you’ve made your own cranberry sauce, you’re laying out a relish tray bedecked with homemade pickles, or you grew and preserved every single side dish, I want to hear about it. Additionally, if you manage to snap a few photos of your jars in action this holiday season, don’t forget to add them to the Food in Jars Flickr group.

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25 thoughts on "Let the Thanksgiving Prep Begin!"

  • Well, I’m going to prep myself for the big day by having a bowl of oatmeal w/ peach butter that I canned in the summer, following your technique – and I’m going to use some cranberry mustard I made from a recipe on Local Kitchen for the leftovers!

  • I’m not handling a ton of the food this year, but a few things I’m doing:

    For appetizers, I’m providing [your] tomato jam, quince jam and a chutney to serve with cheeses and bread. My hostess isn’t much of an appetizer girl so I’m excited to have delicious things at hand to bring.

    For the vegetable, I’m making my mother’s green beans in tomatoes and will be using my canned tomatoes.

  • We’re having Thanksgiving with my parents in southwest Florida this year. Last week I shipped six precious jars from Chicago down here: a pint of my whole-berry cranberry sauce, flavored with orange zest; a plum chutney as a cranberry sauce alternative; and for the relish tray, my last ping of pickled asparagus, pickled cauliflower, marinated red peppers and a old-fashioned corn relish.

  • I made cranberry sauce last week for a friend Thanksgiving dinner, and made WAY too much. (Incidentally I also threw some marmalade a friend made, into the sauce–that was a good call) So I jarred up the rest of it and am bringing a jar with me to Thanksgiving dinner at my parents’ tomorrow!

  • brandied peaches and home-made maraschino cherries are going into curried baked fruit; applesauce probably won’t even make it into a bowl- my kids will eat it out of the jar; more brandied peaches into cobbler for potluck at work; pickled carrots and onions for the salad potluck at work over the weekend; chunky pineapple preserves into my Great Aunt Kathleen’s carrot cake recipe! wow- I feel like I accomplished a lot!

  • Hi there- first time commenting. I am excited to use some of my canned goods on the appetizer tray. I made a wonderful country style pate that I am serving alongside a host of pickles I put up- red onions, Hungarian peppers and carrots (those pickled carrots are amazing!). I’m also serving a goat cheese crostini with some oven dried tomatoes that I canned in olive oil (a recipe I got from Chez Pim).
    Hope your holiday is fun and delicious!

  • As we speak, I’m making Drunken Cherry Pie with cherries I preserved in brandy last summer (and it’s high time I used ’em up!). I used home-dried sage in my sage-bay-orange-zest turkey brine, and I’m thinking home-dried apples are going in the cornbread stuffing. I have cranberry sauce (w/ juniper & rosemary), canned last winter, for my table, and green beans, blanched & frozen this summer, for something green.

    In addition, I spread the love: we had some guys doing insulation work on the house yesterday (yay for more efficient heating and lower heating bills!) and I sent them on the road with jars of cranberry sauce, peach and tomato salsas for their Thanksgiving tables. All in all, a very preservy Thanksgiving!

    Godspeed on 95 (I don’t envy you that trip!) and a fabulous holiday to everyone.

  • Well I’ll have my Canned squash green tomato pickles and pickled beets for an appetizer.
    The winter squash stored in the cold room will be for the pies.
    The Jams put into thumbprint cookies.
    The Frozen green beans into green bean casserole.
    The dried mint made into tea for the drink.
    And Home grown garlic and onions for a part of the spices.

  • The pears from my parents tree (our are still too young to produce fruit) are just ripening up in cold storage. I just used them to make Cranberry-Pear Chutney this morning. A few varieties of jam will come out to be savored on top of the rolls too. The rest of our canned goodies will be saved for my immediate family another time. We have a big group coming over for Thanksgiving and though I love them I don’t want them gobbling up all the special stuff in one day! 🙂

  • Last year I hosted Thanksgiving and cooked for the family. It surely is a lot of work but worth it. This year, we are traveling to my in-laws, so no cooking for me! Next year I look forward to hosting again!

  • We are eating my canned yams, green beans, and plum chutney to place over the ham. We are also using my homemade pumpkin puree that we processed through our food mill. Everyone have a great Thanksgiving. 🙂

  • We are eating a chicken we raised i/o turkey, potato & squash from the root cellar. Pumpkin is roasting in the oven as I type for puree…soon to be dessert. Pickles & beets from our canned goods. Great feeling to have everything on the table from the farm.

  • It’ll just be me and my husband hanging out and cooking tomorrow. I have a baguette and some chevre ready to eat with the tomato jam I canned. It is such a good combination, I can’t wait to eat it as an appetizer before our mashed potatoes and pie. Have a lovely Thanksgiving!

  • I’m doing a pickle tray, with some olives from the store and Dilly Beans, Escabeche, and Pickles I did myself. I may pour some preserve over our goat cheese — maybe Rhubarb-Carrot Jam, or Plum Ginger Honey jam.

  • spicy green bean pickles and plum-clementine jam (for the cheese plate) are my canning contributions for this year’s feast. so excited to share these with the people who gave me all of my canning equipment!

  • Well. Since we are only responsible for a dessert and whatever canned goodies I want to bring, we are adding pickled watermelon rind, orange cranberry sauce, B&B pickles, some rum raisin apple butter to the mix. I may make some deviled eggs using home grown eggs and green tomato relish. Of course, I might also spy something else on a shelf that needs to be included as well – so am reserving the right to change this plan!!

  • Our thanksgiving is over (I’m Canadian) but we enjoyed a delicious meal using our cranberry orange relish with our turkey and Matt made a fab chocolate cake and layered it with our canned spiced honey orange slices. We also enjoy fingerling potatoes from our garden and squash from a friends garden. All in all there was a lot of food! Hope everyone enjoys their delicious dinners…Happy Thanksgiving!

  • I made apple pie from the apple’s I canned earlier, and pumpkin pie and cookies from one I cooked down and froze.

  • This year I am making croissants that I am filling with chocolate and my canned blackberry raspberry rhubarb jam as an alternative to pie.

  • We’re opening a jar of Tipsy Cranberry Conserve with cranberries purchased at a local farm in the NJ Pine Barrens and figs from right here in Lancaster. Rhubarb honey rosemary jam will be smeared on our rolls. Can’t wait.

  • Lots of cooking for me this Thanksgiving! Turkey #1 was last night. Turkey #2 and a ham are on for tonight, and lasagna with another segment of the fam on Friday. I made yummy homemade cranberry sauce with apples, oranges and dried tropical fruits. I’ll also be taking a can of apple/cranberry sauce.

  • Tonight, we’ll be having some of my Mulled Cider Cranberry Sauce as well as some sweet butternut squash pickles as an appetizer.

  • There were about 20 people at the Thanksgiving dinner I went to, and my assignment was appetizers. I brought my pickled carrots, pickled artichokes, and pickled beets; also a spread made with cream cheese, curry, and my pickled garlic. And for an alternative to cranberries, I brought some of my cherry chutney for the table.

  • I can not wait until i can take the reigns of thanksgiving away from my chef brother (who works so eat in a restaurant) that said it will never happen since he wont retire until he is dead…
    BUT for my own little family i made a turkey for saturday and we are going to eat it with butternut squash that we grew (its the last of our brooklyn garden produce), pies are going to be made with the apple preserves, there will be home grown herbs on everything and there will be apple butter on the table.