One thing that I have learned to love on my blog is preparing people for the biggest culinary day of the year – Thanksgiving. It can be overwhelming. But it should be the funniest time you have in the kitchen all year. There is not a holiday that is more about food than Thanksgiving. It’s all about the turkey, the mashed potatoes, the stuffing, the sides, the cranberry sauce, etc. I want to help you with your turkey day shopping by guiding you through some of the options you might find at your local grocery store. In this post we will be discussing the Thanksgiving wares available at Whole Foods Market.
*The prices listed in this post are from the Ann Arbor, Michigan store. Prices and product availability may vary by store and region.
This guide could not get started without the turkey. You can pre-order a fresh turkey right now at your store holiday order table. If you are looking for the dirt cheap frozen turkey this is not the place to go. Whole Foods only offers turkeys that fit their series of quality standards. You do get what you pay for.
1. No antibiotics ever
2. No added hormones
3. Vegetarian diet
4. No added solutions
5. Complete trace ability to farm
6. Global Animal Partnership Step Rated
Here are the turkeys that are available at Whole Foods:
Nature’s Rancher Fresh Turkey | $2.49/lb
Larry Schultz Organic Turkey | $3.99/lb
Valerie’s Family Organic Brined Whole Turkey | $2.49/lb
Bone-in Turkey Breast | $4.99/lb
Boneless Turkey Breast | $6.99/lb
Organic Bone-In Turkey Breast | $6.99/lb
Whole Kosher Turkey | $2.99/lb
As for value, the Nature’s Rancher Fresh Turkey is a good price for a turkey that meets the standards Whole Foods has established. Nature’s Rancher products are exclusive to Whole Foods. Check their website to learn more about the company.
The Mashed Potatoes
Whole Foods regularly stocks Russet, Red, and Yukon Gold potatoes for your mashing needs. All of these are available as organic. I have seen them on sale for $.99 cents a pound in the past, so watch for sales as the holiday approaches. This time of year you can find organic fingerling potatoes in their produce department, all of sorts of varieties and colors. My Smashed Fingerling Potatoes can be a nice alternative to the standard mashers on the Thanksgiving Day. Also if you head over to the wet display in the produce section you can find celery root. Adding this to your mashed potatoes can bring them to a whole new level of flavor.
The Sweet Potatoes
I like that Whole Foods offers selection when it comes to sweet potatoes. Most places just offer 1 single sweet potato or yam (related post: What is the Difference Between Sweet Potatoes & Yams). At Whole Foods you can find up to 4.
1. Jewel – Copper colored skin with deep orange flesh. They cook up moist and tender.
2. Garnet – Are more red in color than the Jewel and said to have a richer flavor.
3. Beauregard – This is that 1 single variety that most stores carry
4. Stokes Purple – A purple sweet potato that is purple inside and out. The color does not fade when cooked, it actually improves. Excellent option for roasting or in a hash.
The Stuffing or Dressing
Every stuffing recipes begins with the bread. It’s not stuffing without bread. Whole Foods carries several stuffing mixes. Arrowhead Mills Organic Savory Herb Stuffing sales for $2.99 for an 10 oz package. Do the math that is about $4.64 a pound. I would skip the package and instead for the stuffing cubes (look for them near the meat department) that are made right in the store. They sell for $3.99 a pound and you can get the exact amount you want. I think this is a fresher option. Also make sure to check the bakery and see what bread is on sale that week that you can cut up yourself – I don’t think you are going to get cheaper per pound than the stuffing cubes.
If you are looking for a gluten free option and don’t want to bake your own bread, they do have a gluten free cornbread for stuffing made by Glutino. That sells for $4.69 for a 8 oz package.
Notes on Chicken Stock
For your stuffing recipe you are probably going to want some type of stock or broth as well as for your gravy. I cook multiple turkeys for blogging reasons each year, so I have homemade turkey stock from the bones on Thanksgiving Day, but I don’t expect other people are going to do the same. A little reminder, stock are made from bones, and broth are made from meat (and/or vegetables). Here is a list of prices I found on chicken stocks and broths.
365 Organic Chicken Broth | $1.99 for 1 qt
365 Organic Chicken Broth | $2.99 for 1.5 qt
365 Chicken Stock | $1.99 for 1 qt
Imagine Organic Chicken Stock | $4.99 for 1 qt
Imagine Organic Low Sodium Chicken Stock | $4.99 for 1 qt
Imagine Kosher Chicken Broth | $4.99 for 1 qt
Imagine Free Range Chicken Broth | $3.69 for 1 qt
Pacific Organic Free Range Chicken Broth | $3.69 for 1 qt
Pacific Organic Free Range Low Sodium Chicken Broth | $3.69 for 1 qt
365 Vegan Vegetable Broth | $2.29 fir 1 qt
Since we are on the topic of broth, let’s talk gravy. You will need something to thicken your gravy. And yes you can use the flour you have sitting at home, but I have some better recommendations. I like using potato starch in gravy. Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch sells for $4.39 for 24 oz. I combine it with flour in my gravy. By using two different starches you can prevent the gravy from becoming a solid mass shortly after it hits the gravy boat. Also you can use all potato starch for a gluten free, non-GMO option.
The Cranberry Sauce
Organic cranberry sauce can be a part of your Thanksgiving Day. They do carry 365 Organic Jellied Cranberry sauce ($1.99 for 14 oz can) that contains no high fructose corn syrup, which is what you get in Ocean Spray and most store brands. But if you know me, I won’t be getting anything out of a can this Thanksgiving. Head over to Produce and pick up a container of organic fresh cranberries. To make things really fun, try making your own cranberry sauce by mixing in a can of 365 Brand Ginger Ale for 99 cents.
Related Post – How to Make Jellied Cranberry Sauce
Whole Foods produce departments carries a wide selection of vegetables for any side you are making. Items like green beans and celery will be very well stocked and easy to find. They have a good selection of organic root vegetables ready for the roasting. They have some unique roots too like black radishes, sunchokes, scarlet turnips, etc. along with your parnsips, rutabagas, and purple top turnips. Their frozen department carries some cheap frozen vegetables with organic and non-GMO options available. You can also pick up some organic shallots, an ingredient that seems to find it’s peak usage time at Thanksgiving.
Need mushrooms for your side dish? Whole Foods is one of the best retailers for buying mushrooms. They sell them in bulk so you can get exactly what you want or make your own mushroom mix. They also sell a lot of varieties of dried mushrooms not available fresh, these should be located near the fresh mushrooms in the produce department.
Note on Spices
I think one area in which people end up wasting a lot of money on the Thanksgiving meal is with spice and dried herb purchases. They go and buy a container of something that they use for the meal and then never use again. You can save a lot of money by just buying what you need by purchasing your spices in the bulk department. They carry spices from Frontier Nature Products. The size of the bulk section depends on the size of your store, but you should be able to find anything you need.
I am all about cheese being a part of any special meal. It’s nice to have a cheese on hand for guests to snack on as they wait for the big meal to make it’s appearance. Whole Foods has a special cheese that fits right in with the holiday meal – Henning’s Cranberry Cheddar. It’s on sale for $7.99/pound at my store. You can also pick up a chiptole edition.
No good Thanksgiving meal ends without a delicious slice of pie. Of course they sell a lot of already made pies, but you are going to make your own from scratch, right? You can find canned organic pumpkin and organic pie pumpkins ($1.69 a pound). The bulk section is one again your best friend when it comes to pies. You can get the flours and thickeners you need there. You can buy your pumpkin pie spices or pecans in bulk. As for apples, all stores should have organic Granny Smith and Braeburn apples as well as Honeycrisp that could work in an apple pie.