The Breast Cancer Fund recently released a report on a study that measured how much bisphenol A (BPA) can end up on your Thanksgiving table. Our family blogger Jenn covered the report yesterday in the post "Is there BPA in your Thanksgiving dinner?" You can get some of the specifics about the findings there.
In general, the study found that about half the canned products that commonly end up in traditional Thanksgiving dishes contained levels of BPA that are linked to adverse health effects. If you're concerned about BPA, Jenn wisely suggests you steer clear of canned foods and go with fresh or frozen.
If you like that idea, here's how you can avoid BPA in common Thanksgiving foods.
Pumpkin puree. Making your own pumpkin puree is easy. It can be as easy as putting a cut pumpkin in your slow cooker and then pureeing the cooked pumpkin in a food processor. The puree can be used for everyone's favorite Thanksgiving dessert, pumpkin pie, or any other recipe that calls for canned pumpkin puree.
Cream soups. Condensed canned soups like cream of mushroom or cream of broccoli are ingredients in many recipes. You can make your own version of condensed cream soup using ingredients you trust that never touch the inside of a can. Or, for a little more convenience, use an alternatively packaged condensed cream soup like Pacific Foods organic soups in tetra packs.
Vegetables. This one is easy. Go fresh. Buy fresh green beans, peas, corn, broccoli, Brussels sprouts or whatever vegetables you usually serve at Thanksgiving. Any cutting and prep work can be done a day or two ahead of time. While you're letting the turkey rest after cooking, cook your fresh vegetables.
Cranberry sauce. The good news of The Breast Cancer Fund report was that no BPA was found in the cans of Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce they tested. So if you must have your canned cranberry sauce with the can lines on it, Ocean Spray brand may be a safe choice. But you can also make your own cranberry sauce. There are many variations of homemade, but this simple cranberry sauce recipe from Epicurious will probably be the least shocking to taste buds if you're switching from canned to homemade.
Gravy. I admit: I can't make gravy. I've tried and failed many times. My mom swoops in during the last few minutes of Thanksgiving prep to make her fabulous gravy every year. Homemade gravy from the fresh turkey drippings is ideal, but if you're gravy-impaired like I am and you have no one willing to swoop in, Williams-Sonoma makes turkey gravy base in a glass jar. Just add milk, heat and stir for gravy. I believe Trader Joe's also sells turkey gravy in a tetra pack.
Evaporated milk. I've never tried this, but it looks like you can make your own evaporated milk using butter, instant dry milk and water. It keeps in the refrigerator for about a week in the refrigerator, so you can make it ahead of time, and it will be handy when you go to make your pumpkin pie.
With just a little extra work (and much of it can be done days ahead of time), you can avoid BPA in canned foods by making your own versions. You can use ingredients you trust, and the end result will probably taste a lot better, too.
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