How to properly take care of Thanksgiving leftovers, grease

Tossing leftover grease into storm drains can send unclean water directly into the environment

This Oct. 14, 2016, photo shows some of the food from a Thanksgiving dinner from Martha & Marley Spoon in New York. (AP Photo/Bree Fowler)
(AP Photo/Bree Fowler)

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A lot of thought goes into planning a Thanksgiving meal, but you have to put just as much thought into cleaning up from the meal too.

Especially when it comes to pan drippings, left over from frying or roasting.

“You really shouldn’t put grease down the drain,” said Charles Shasho, deputy director of Public Works for the city of Youngstown.

Every turkey creates several cups of fat and pan drippings as it roasts. For those who deep-fry their turkey, there is even more oil to worry about.

If you put turkey grease down the drain after it cools, it can clog your house’s small pipes.

“It’s only a six inch pipe, it doesn’t get the flow the main sewers get, eventually it will clog,” Shasho said.

All the grease from those smaller pipes eventually makes its way into a city’s main lines, causing a huge mess that city workers have to tackle.

“Difficult to clean sometimes. We have degreasing agents we put in our trucks in problem areas,” Shasho said.

It’s a problem most sewer operators have to deal with every holiday season too.

“At the pump stations we’re constantly having to clean out the wet wells and the floats to ensure the plant is operating properly,” said Mahoning County Engineer Patrick Ginnetti.

Don’t toss grease into storm drains either. Many storm drains run right out to nearby water ways and never get treated by the city.

“You don’t want those oils and greases being dumped directly in the river. They should be properly disposed of,” Ginnetti said.

That would send oil directly to rivers and streams without getting treated and cleaned.

“Grease obviously floats on top of the water, so as our floats come across they pick up the grease and they’re not doing their jobs,” Ginnetti said.

The best way to get rid of grease is to let it cool and seal it up in a container to throw in the trash.

Once you figure out what to do with the grease, you have to figure out what to do with the rest of your leftovers too.

One option is to create a turkey soup by putting turkey meat, green beans, corn and sweet potatoes in a pot. Add raw ditalini or elbow pasta and continue to cook, uncovered, until the pasta and potatoes are tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Season with fresh dill, pepper and salt before serving.

A turkey pasta is also a great way to revive leftovers. Sautée onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Add them to a marinara sauce then pour over shredded turkey and cooked pasta.

Women’s Day magazine has a really tasty Cranberry-Chipotle Turkey recipe. It involves cranberry sauce and chipotle marinade.

You can also use smoked turkey to make a broth. Just add potatoes, carrots and celery before thickening it with leftover sour cream, then try topping it with dumplings.

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