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A Deep Fried Debate

COMMUNITY CENTERGreen Homes & BusinessesRecycling & ReusingDec 18, 2013Sarah Crawford

Author: Sarah Crawford

This Thanksgiving we fried a turkey.  My brother likes to deep fry, well, everything. Even though we had Thanksgiving dinner at our house this year, he brought his fryer so we could all partake in this great American pastime.  Now, normally I am not one to fry things, but it was delicious!  Plus there was the added bonus of having the kitchen freed up to prepare the rest of the meal, not to mention the super quick cooking time. I even managed to find a great gravy recipe that didn’t require turkey drippings (thanks to an Emeril YouTube video) and my grandmother’s stuffing recipe was just as delicious in a casserole dish as it would have been in the bird.

The meal was fabulous and we all ate way more than we should have.  Just look at the photo of my brother and my husband when the turkey was done. You would have thought they hunted down the turkey themselves. They were so proud!  Everyone settled in to watch some football after dinner, another American pastime I normally never partake in (that’s right, I said it), and I even enjoyed the game towards the end, so sometimes breaking with your Thanksgiving traditions can be a good thing!

However, being “green” is one tradition I refuse to break with.  You should have seen my face after dinner when the conversation with my brother went something like this:

My husband (left) and brother (right), proudly displaying their work.

My husband (left) and brother (right), proudly displaying their work.

Me:  “So, are you guys going to pour the fryer oil back in the original containers?”

My brother:  (With a deer-in-the-headlights type look on his face) “Ummm….”

Me:  “Well what do you normally do with your used fryer oil?  You know you can drop it off to be recycled, right?”

My brother:  (A sheepish grin comes across his face, as he realizes where this conversation is headed) “Actually, I normally just dump it over the fence.” (He chuckles nervously).

Me:  “WHAT!  You can’t do that!”


As you can imagine, I quickly stood on my virtual soapbox and started lecturing about how that oil is washed into the stormwater system when it rains and pollutes local waterways.  As the Community Educator at HRSD, this is something I tell people all the time, but apparently my family had not gotten the memo.  Although I’m pretty sure he realized that dumping a vat of oil over his fence was not the right thing to do, I don’t think he realized all the reasons WHY it was bad, and the connection it had to water quality.  Sometimes people just need a little more knowledge to make the right decisions.

So the next time he breaks out that fryer, I hope he thinks of his big sis.  And I hope instead of rolling his eyes, he pulls out the original containers and pours the oil back in, which is exactly what we did the next morning.  OK, he will probably roll his eyes while he is pouring it back in but as long as it doesn’t end up on the ground, I’m happy.

Our used fryer oil ready to be recycled.

Our used fryer oil ready to be recycled.

A few days later my husband loaded it in the car and took it to our city’s fryer oil recycling location.  Yes, your city or county has one of those!  It’s an easy step that makes a big difference.  You can also check out our Turkey Frying Facts for all of the ways you can properly reuse or dispose of used fryer oil.  If you only have a small amount of oil (maybe you were just craving fried pickles or fried ice cream), pour it into a heat-safe container, freeze it, and then put it out with the trash.

Not everyone has an older sister to constantly remind them about these things, so make sure to check our blog often for all kinds of easy ways to be green.  Until then, happy frying!



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