Adding some Real Maine flavor to your Thanksgiving table is easier than you think. From traditional potatoes, to your favorite Maine wild blueberry pie, locally grown and produced ingredients are available all year long. Grab your favorite recipes and source local ingredients wherever you are. This year, Thanksgiving gatherings will be small, so it’s the perfect time to focus on trying special ingredients and new recipes.
There’s still time to source your turkey locally. (Preorder online, or try local specialty store.) Try something new for this year’s smaller gathering. “Perhaps if you’ve only ever roasted a… turkey, you might try brining it first. Maybe fry it or smoke it if you are feeling you want to up your game,” says Jay Demers, Chair of Culinary Arts and Restaurant Food Management at Eastern Maine Community College (in this Bangor Daily News article). This year, Real Maine suggests brining your bird with a mixture of salt, water, citrus and your favorite herbs:
Put all ingredients in a pot and boil. Let mixture cool and pour over turkey in a food safe bucket or brining bag. Fill with cold water until bird is fully submerged. Let sit overnight in refrigerator (or cold storage). Rinse with cold water and roast as usual.
A golden turkey may hold the spotlight on Thanksgiving, but the sides can steal the show (and fill your plate)! Bring something new to the table with seasonally available roasted vegetables, or make your own easy cranberry compote!
Roasting vegetables is very easy to do: simply wash and chop them, coat them with oil and seasonings of your choice, spread them across a pan, and roast in a 425 degree oven until golden and fork-tender. This is an easy way to prepare a wide array of vegetables, pleasing everyone at your Thanksgiving table. A few Real Maine choices to try are parsnips, carrots, onions, potatoes, and squash.
Of course, no Thanksgiving in Maine would be complete without potatoes. It’s easy to find Maine-grown potatoes at farm stands, farmers’ markets, and local groceries. But take a minute to look around at the supermarket, too. Even the large supermarkets like Hannaford and Walmart (pictured at left) typically carry hearty, Maine potatoes! Just be sure to check the packages or signage to learn where the potatoes are from.
Mashed potatoes are a familiar favorite at Thanksgiving. Russet potatoes and Yukon Golds are both perfect for mashing, and both are grown in Maine. Looking for something less traditional for a Thanksgiving side? Try a twice baked potato using a Caribou Russet. However you prepare your holiday potatoes, be sure to make a lot, so there will be plenty of leftovers!
Be sure to look for locally grown produce varieties all year long at farm stands, farmers’ markets, and your local grocery store. Choose #RealMaine ingredients for your holiday table!