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As I’m writing this we’re quickly approaching the festive period. A time where many of us end up making more food than needed and a lot of it goes to waste. I know I’m guilty of preparing enough Christmas dinner to feed half the street, however, none of it goes to waste so I’m going to give you a few ways to not waste food this Christmas (or ever, really).
Meal Plan For The Week
Now, I hate meal planning more than anything but around Christmas, when I know I’m going to be busy and I’m going to cook more than I need, I try to do it.
I know that on Christmas eve I always make a gammon joint which is there to be picked at and goes with bubble and squeak on Boxing day. The bubble and squeak is made from all the leftovers of Christmas day. However, I save some meat from Christmas dinner (and sometimes a few veggies) that will go into a curry on the 27th. After that, dinners are picky leftovers such as cheese and gammon or bread and pate.
A few other meal ideas could include:
- Turkey: use the bones and other non-edible parts to make a stock for soup
- Salmon: take any left over mash (or make fresh) and turn it into fishcakes
- Beef: reheat it in gravy with vegetables and serve it in a giant Yorkshire pudding
- Nutroast: roll into balls for festive fallafals
You get the idea.
Bubble & Squeak
There are many recipes on the internet for bubble and squeak, as well as many different versions. Some turn leftovers into patties, some are almost like a frittata and then there is me, who just throws it all into a pan and fry it until hot.
I prefer this method as there is no added egg or flour, all you literally have to do is take all of your leftover veggies, meat and potatoes, chop them into smaller pieces, throw them in a bowl, give them a mix and add to a heated pan. Stir until everything is thoroughly heated through and serve.
Over the years my Boxing day bubble and squeak has had everything from leftover lamb and roast potatoes to pigs in blankets and cauliflower cheese – I’ve even had a vegan one when I did Mushroom Wellington a few years back. I usually serve it with the roast gammon I make on Christmas eve and gravy or baked beans. The most important thing is that your Christmas dinner isn’t going to waste.
Freeze What You Don’t Eat
Once you’ve cooked up your Christmas dinner and everyone has had their fill, throw the leftovers in the freezer for another time. You can freeze your cooked meat, vegetables, roast potatoes and even gravy. At the end of the day, Christmas dinner for most is just a massive Sunday dinner so save it for the next one.
Food needs to be stored in sealable bags or *Tupperware containers with lids – to prevent freezer burn. Just ensure that you thoroughly defrost it and reheat it completely before serving it up as another meal.
Offer It To Others
There will be many people this year who won’t have the luxury of being able to cook themselves a Christmas dinner this year so, if you have enough then consider reaching out to those less fortunate.
If you know in advance that you will have more than enough, get in contact with a local food bank or food charity to see if they know of anyone who would want to pick one up on Christmas day. If you have friends or family who you know will struggle this year then reach out to them to offer a plate or two.
If you have unexpected leftovers then consider listing them on the OLIO app where local people can give away and receive food items that are no longer needed. Alternatively, give local Facebook groups or the Marketplace a try.
Whatever You Do, Don’t Waste
Food waste is a huge issue that is affecting us all. Every year UK households throw out 6.5 million tonnes of waste, of which 4.5 million is still edible. If food waste was a country then it would be the third-largest contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. A disproportionate amount of this is at Christmas time.
In the UK alone, we waste around 5 million Christmas puddings, 2 million turkeys, and 74 million mince pies each year!
Infographics Credit: WRAP
These Tips Are For Life, Not Just For Christmas
Due to the severity of food waste and its contribution to climate change, these tips are good to use all year round – not just Christmas. Each one can be used every day, for almost any meal. If nothing else, stop throwing your money in the bin and plan your food use a little more carefully.
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