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Thanksgiving Chemistry

Celebrate Thanksgiving with Chemistry

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Are you looking for some chemistry associated with the Thanksgiving holiday or just some fun chemistry projects you can do on Thanksgiving? Here is a collection of Thanksgiving content all related to chemistry. Happy Thanksgiving!

1. Does Eating Turkey Make You Sleepy?

Large Female White Turkey
Scott Bauer, USDA
It seems like everyone feels like taking a nap after Thanksgiving dinner. Is the turkey to blame or is there something else making you snoozy? Here's a look at the chemistry behind "tired turkey syndrome."

2. Re-Use the Turkey Thermometer

Roast Turkey
Last Resort, Getty Images
That little pop-up thermometer that comes with many Thanksgiving turkeys can be reset so that you can use it again for another turkey or other type of poultry. Learn how the thermometer works and how to fix it after it 'pops' so that you can use it over and over again.

3. Make Your Own Christmas Tree Preservative

Keep your tree alive by using a tree preservative.
Martin Poole, Getty Images
A lot of people who put up Christmas trees choose Thanksgiving Day or Thanksgiving weekend as the traditional time to put up the tree. If you want the tree to still have needles by Christmas you either need a fake tree or else to give the fresh tree a tree preservative to give it the help it needs to make it through the holiday season. Use your chemistry knowledge to make the tree preservative yourself. It's really economical and easy!

4. White Meat and Dark Meat

Dark meat and white meat are caused by the different types of fibers in turkey muscle.
Jupiterimages, Getty Images
There's some basic biochemistry at work behind white meat and dark meat and why they are different. Here's a look at why the meat comes in different colors and how that applies to the way turkeys live.

5. Silver Polishing Dip

You can use chemistry to remove the tarnish from your silver without even touching it.
Mel Curtis, Getty Images
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to break out the fine china and silver. Laboring over the holiday silver isn't anyone's idea of a fun way to celebrate Thanksgiving, so use a little electrochemistry to remove the tarnish without any scrubbing or rubbing.

6. Are Copper Bowls Better for Whipping Egg Whites?

Copper Cookware
Gracey, www.morguefile.com
As it turns out, the answer is yes. If you're whipping up egg whites for a holiday treat, you may want to use a copper bowl. The copper from the bowl reacts with the egg whites to give you a more stable meringue, plus it's harder to overbeat the egg whites.

7. Baking Ingredient Substitutions

Baked Goods Made from Wheat
Keith Weller, USDA Agricultural Research Service
If you run out of an ingredient for your Thanksgiving baking, chances are you can apply chemistry to make a substitution. This is a list of ingredient substitutions you can make that can save you a trip to the store (which probably isn't open on Thanksgiving anyway).

8. Colored Fire

Green fire is easy to make and doesn't require any hard-to-find chemicals.
Anne Helmenstine
What's better than a cozy holiday fire? A colored cozy holiday fire, of course! Learn how you can color the fire in your fireplace using safe household ingredients. You can soak pinecones in colored fire ingredients and give them as gifts, too.

9. Snow Ice Cream Recipes

This girl is catching snowflakes on her tongue.
Digital Vision, Getty Images
Actually, you'll get flavored snow slushy unless you apply some freezing point depression to your ice cream-making process. When you make snow ice cream you can use snow and salt to freeze a flavored cream mixture or else you can use ice and salt to freeze actual flavored snow. It's a pretty great family project, either way.

10. Poinsettia pH Paper

Poinsettia
Emily Roesly, www.morguefile.com
You can make your own pH paper with any of a number of common garden plants or kitchen ingredients, but poinettias are common decorative plants around Thanksgiving. Make up some pH paper and then test the acidity of household chemicals.

11. Colored Fire Pinecones

It's easy to make colored fire pinecones.
Anne Helmenstine
All you need are some pinecones and one easy-to-find ingredient to make pinecones that will burn with colored flames. The pinecones are easy to prepare, plus they can be given as thoughtful gifts.

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