Hosting a Thanksgiving gathering can be really stressful with all the planning, shopping, prepping and cooking you have to do. So if you’re looking for ways to ease your holiday hosting anxiety, we’ve got one surprising solution - a cooler, well, actually a few of them.
Sure, coolers are great for chilling beer, wine and sodas, but if you think outside the box, they can solve a few more Turkey Day problems as well. Here are some of the ways coolers can save you time and stress on Thanksgiving.
- Brine your turkey - You probably never thought about using your cooler for this, but here’s how to do it. Fill that cooler with ice and stick the turkey in a heavy-duty plastic bag with the brine water. Then brine your bird in the cooler instead of the fridge. You can also use a cooler to thaw the turkey, starting no less than 48 hours before you plan to start the process of making it.
- Cook a side dish - Ever heard of “cooler corn?” You may think of it as a camping staple, but it could easily work on Thanksgiving. Toss a bunch of corn cobs into a cooler, dump two kettles of boiling water on top and keep them sitting in there for 30 minutes. They’ll come out perfectly cooked and you can save yourself some time and kitchen space.
- Keep food warm - Don’t let the name cooler fool you, that thing is insulated, which makes it good at maintaining any temperature, hot or cold. So you can stick your hot dishes in there and keep them warm until it’s time to serve them, just stick them on trivets or a wire rack so hot pans aren’t touching the insulation and be sure to keep the lid closed tight.
- Rinse your dishes - “The New York Times” suggests turning a cooler into an extra dish-soaking station. Just fill the cooler with soapy water and have guests place their dirty dishes in there so your sink is free for rinsing and hardcore scrubbing.
- Use it for regular storage, too - Your cooler can also serve as a root cellar, a place to store your carrots, celery and onions. It could also be the place to store condiments to free up space in your fridge for all the extra food.