A special Thanksgiving HFCS food of the week

>> Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What two side dishes are practically synonymous with Thanksgiving? Why, stuffing and cranberry sauce! There are tons of great stuffing and cranberry sauce recipes out there, but sometimes it's easier to turn to stuffing from a box and cranberry sauce from a can. Heck, cranberry sauce from a can is a tradition in itself for many families. So, let's take a look at these two Thanksgiving staples in a little more detail.

First, stuffing. I've talked in the past about how HFCS is ubiquitous in bread products, so it should come as no surprise that most commercial stuffing products contain HFCS. Take a look at the Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Chicken ingredient list:

Enriched Wheat Flour [Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid], High Fructose Corn Syrup, Onions (Dried), Salt, Contains Less than 2% of: Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Yeast, Cooked Chicken and Chicken Broth, Maltodextrin, Monosodium Glutamate, Parsley (Dried), Celery (Dried), Spice, Sugar, Corn Syrup (Dried), Caramel Color, Turmeric, Disodium Guanylate, Disodium Inosinate, with BHA, BHT, Citric Acid, and Propyl Gallate as Preservatives.

What a list! And there as the second ingredient is HFCS. It also contains partially hydrogenated soybean oil, another ingredient I'm striving to avoid now. As tasty as it is, best to just avoid the Stove Top.

Next, cranberry sauce. I personally have never cared for cranberry sauce, but I know lots of people who really prefer their cranberry sauce to come from a can. I guess the texture of the sauce from the can is hard to duplicate. If you buy canned cranberry sauce, though, beware! Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce has a very simple ingredient list - Cranberries, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Corn Syrup. Unfortunately, a main component of that list is HFCS.

So, what can you do? Well, there are options for cranberry sauce that do not contain HFCS. Most organic varieties - such as Grown Right Organic Jellied Cranberry Sauce - won't contain HFCS. Or, if you have the time, you can make your own. VeganYumYum has a very yummy looking recipe for homemade jellied cranberry sauce.

Finding a stuffing mix without HFCS on your grocery store shelf might be a little harder. Luckily there are tons of delicious stuffing recipes online. We started making a bread-free wild rice stuffing a couple of years ago when my daughter had a wheat intolerance (one that she has since outgrown, thank goodness). It's easy and delicious and has become a new family tradition for us - one that I don't mind sharing with you.

Wild Rice, Sausage, and Apple Stuffing

1 cup wild rice (I use a wild rice/brown rice/white rice mix from the store)
3 cups water (or however much water the rice package indicates for a cup of rice)
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 TBSP butter or olive oil
1 medium onion
2 cooking apples, peeled and chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp ground thyme
pinch ground nutmeg
pepper to taste
1/2 lb turkey breakfast sausage links, casing removed

Combine wild rice, water, and 1/2 tsp salt in medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer until the rice is tender and just bursting, about 30 min. Saute the onion, apple, celery, garlic, thyme, nutmeg and remaining 1 tsp of salt and pepper. Cook until softened. Stir in sausage, breaking it up, and cook until done. Combine the rice and sausage mix.

Hope everyone has a wonderful, HFCS-free Thanksgiving! I'll be taking the rest of the week off from blogging to enjoy all that this week has to offer. See you next week!


Rachel November 25, 2008 at 10:39 AM  

I wanted to cry when I read about my favorite stuffing containing HFCS. I am trying to cut it our as much as possible and have been doing rather well. But this is just too much!!! Do you think that maybe since I only eat StoveTop about three times a year it would hurt to cheat??

cathy November 25, 2008 at 11:26 AM  

Rachel - I turn a blind eye at Halloween candy that the kids got trick-or-treating. And, I'm sure that I could learn a few things from you about feeding my family healthy and creative meals. So, I'm not going to tsk-tsk you for eating a little Stove Top a few times a year!

Lori November 25, 2008 at 11:55 AM  

I was shopping last week and went to pick up a bag of Earth Grains stuffing croutons and saw the HFCS. I almost DMed you.

Then I almost did again today because I was wondering about my favorite cranberry sauce. You answer the question, but I'm not surprised. I figured since i like it so much. :) I like making my own so I'll stick to that this year.

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm thankful for your blog! ;)

laura November 25, 2008 at 12:44 PM  

Kind of a shame cranberries are so very tart that they so often need some kind of sweetener. Thanks for the links and recipe. Happy Thanksgiving :)

Mark November 26, 2008 at 6:29 AM  

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

liz November 26, 2008 at 8:01 AM  

I too was surprised about the Stove Top having HFCS. What a bummer! I definitely need to pay more attention to what is in those foods that I would never suspect would have HFCS in it.

Pursewarden December 7, 2008 at 12:55 PM  

I know I'm a little late for Thanksgiving but, I just wanted to say I made my own stuffing (out of my own home baked french loaf and cornbread) this year because of the HFCS in Stovetop. My stuffing actually came out smelling like stovetop, and tasted 100 times better. And it was easy and fun.

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Anonymous November 25, 2015 at 11:29 AM  

That why whole foods is so important during the holiday season's as there 365 cranberry sauce is sugar based and not to expensive and I can get maraschino cherries with out high fructose there as well but I can also get then much cheaper at trader Joes

Anonymous November 1, 2016 at 6:11 AM  

Trader Joe's stuffing mix does not contain HFCS.....and it is delicious. However, it only comes in cornbread, not the regular herb type.

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