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Thanksgiving Recipes: How to Create a Local Thanksgiving Menu

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How to Create a Local Thanksgiving Menu
Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Dinner

Photo © Vetta, used with permission from Getty Images

Creating a local Thanksgiving is easier than you might think. The traditional Thanksgiving menu is a seasonal one in most parts of the country. Winter squash, brussels sprouts, potatoes mashed or sweet – these are all things in season in November. Wild rice and cranberries, too, are recently harvested and ready for cooking in late fall. Whether you can score a local turkey or not, you can always make the sides dishes, salads, or soup using local, in-season produce.

Let me put it to you simply: every single area of the U.S. has something local that can be worked into the traditional Thanksgiving feast. On many coasts, that may be some oysters on the half-shell. In San Francisco, where I live, local crab season usually opens in the few weeks before Thanksgiving, so many families have a tradition of crab on the Thanksgiving table in some form. In Minnesota, where I grew up, wild rice is a common Thanksgiving ingredient, finding its way to the table as a side dish or in the stuffing.

Even in the face of the encroaching bitter cold of a Minnesota winter, locally grown potatoes, onions, beets, and cabbages can be hunted down. Turkey farms, not as plentiful as they once were in the state, still exist. And those are just examples from a particularly challenging growing area!

See What's In Season In Fall or these State Guides to Seasonal Produce for specific fruits and vegetables you may be able to find from local growers.

I've gathered together everything I can think of related to Thanksgiving - at least as the food/menu planning/recipes are concerned (sorry, but you're going to have to figure out where to seat Aunt Gladys on your own). Find ideas, recipes, and information to help you plan your Thanksgiving feast – from ordering the turkey to figuring out a side dish to bring, crimping a pie crust to using the leftovers in a tasty way.

Click through all the suggestions, or go straight to the dish that you're looking for by clicking on the buttons below.

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