Save these 'scraps' as you prepare your Thanksgiving feast

In the frenzy to prepare your Thanksgiving feast, there are a number of so-called scraps that might get, well, scrapped, as you churn out dish after dish. Potato peels, celery leaves, and winter squash innards could be swept into the compost bin without thinking—but don't do it!

Take a moment now to plan ahead and figure out what to save: You'll be rewarded with bonus appetizers, a sauce to slather on next-day turkey sandwiches, and so much more.

Save these 'scraps' as you prepare your Thanksgiving feast
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Save these 'scraps' as you prepare your Thanksgiving feast
Turkey Bits

The main event! You probably knew to save the giblets for gravy, and the carcass for stock, but did you know you can use the head and feet, too?

How to Cook a Whole Turkey, From Head to Toe by Ali Slagle

Turkey Bits

Canal House Turkey and Potato Soup by Alexandra Stafford

swiss chard Stalks

Is your dinner menu going to include creamed greens? If so, and if Swiss chard will be in the mix, don't toss the stalks. They can be turned into hummus or pesto, either of which can be added to the appetizer spread as a dip or saved for the days ahead to help turn Thanksgiving leftovers into new meals.

Tara Duggan's Chard Stalk Hummus by Genius Recipes

swiss chard Stalks
Stale Bread

For Thanksgiving, stale bread is less of a scrap as it is a necessary ingredient for the holiday. So yes, this is basically a thinly-veiled ploy to get this stuffing recipe on your radar if you haven't made it yet.

Layered Grapes and Bread with Chèvre and Balsamic by gingerroot

apple & potato Peels

Making an apple pie or two? Don't toss the peels, you can use them to flavor tea or bourbon—it's okay to base that choice on how many crazy relatives are coming for the holidays.

All of the potato peels left over from prepping potatoes for mashers can be turned into chips. Try Tara Duggan's recommended method: “Toss potato peels with salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, and a pinch of brown sugar and coat with leftover melted bacon fat. Spread out on a parchment-lined pan and roast at 400° F until bacon-fragrant, 15 to 18 minutes.”

Apple Peel Tea by Micki Balder

apple & potato Peels
Apple Peel Bourbon by Marian Bull
apple & potato Peels
Apple Peel Bourbon Ginger Shake-Up by Samantha Weiss Hills
Celery Leaves

If you're using celery in your stuffing, keep all of those little leaves from the tender, inner stalks! Then make this sauce and slather it on turkey sandwiches after Thanksgiving.

Creole Remoulade Sauce by drbabs

Root Vegetable Greens

If you're roasting any root vegetables for your meal, don't forget to save the greens. They can be turned into a quick bonus side dish—either to put on the table or to nibble on in the kitchen while you cook.

Milk-Braised Beet Greens by Jennifer Perillo

Root Vegetable Greens
Turnip Green Gomae by Fairmount_market
Root Vegetable Greens
Pink Greens by Marissa Grace
Root Vegetable Greens
Moroccan Beet Greens by Silly Apron
Winter Squash Innards

All of these recipes say "pumpkin," but go ahead and use the webbing and seeds from any type of winter squash. When you're roasting seeds, just keep timing in mind, as teeny butternut squash seeds will roast faster than pumpkin seeds will.

Pumpkin 'Brain' Chutney by Panfusine

Winter Squash Innards
Winter Squash Innards

What "scrap" do you find yourself overwhelmed by during Thanksgiving prep? Tell us in the comments and we'll brainstorm ways you can use it!

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