Cooking and Reuse

Celebrate National Leftovers Day!

Ah it’s Christmas! Decorations in the windows, lights on the trees – it is a time for friends, family, fun and food.

But let’s be honest, Christmas can be pretty wasteful, particularly when it comes to food. We tend to go a bit mad! We buy traditional Christmas foods many people don’t actually like and cook too much for fear there will not be enough. We often overestimate portions, and pile food on plates. Every year huge amounts of turkey, brussels sprouts, puddings, mashed potatoes and mince pies end up in the bin.

This Christmas, we invite you to celebrate National Leftovers Day, also known as St. Stephen’s Day. While we want you to have plenty of leftovers for National Leftovers Day (and beyond), we don’t want you to have plenty of food waste. So, to help you get through the obstacle course that is Christmas, here are some simple tips we hope will help you save time and money.

The run-up:

  • Make sure you have space for storage before stocking up. Use up the food that’s in your fridge and freezer. Check if you have enough containers to store leftovers – there is nothing worse than leftovers with no home to go to.
  • Plan portions! How many people are you cooking for? Estimate what you need for your Christmas dinner with this online portion calculator. For example, it is recommended that you need 450-600 grams of turkey (on the bone) per person. There’s no need to buy too big a turkey. After all, it will take longer to cook. If you have a quiet house at Christmas, buy loose vegetables rather than big bags.
  • Beware of deals! It is hard not to get attracted by special deals and things you don’t need just because of a 2 for 1 offer. Remember, it is not a deal if you end up wasting the food instead of eating it.
  • Don’t buy things just because of tradition. This is a hard one because Christmas is all about traditions. This year, think of what you traditionally throw out ever Christmas and buy accordingly.
  • Remember, the shops are closed for 2 days, not 2 weeks. Don’t lose your head in the run up to Christmas. The shops will open again!
  • Much of what is wasted is fruit, vegetables and bread. Learn more about storing these properly to make them last for longer.

Over Christmas

  • Serving smart saves! Most of the food waste from Christmas dinner is from plates that were loaded with too much food. This year, serve food in dishes in the middle of the table. This way people can serve themselves and there will be more food for National Leftovers Day!
  • Don’t leave perishable things out of the fridge for too long. As a rule of thumb, milk left out of the fridge for an hour deteriorates as much as it would over a whole day stored in the fridge.
  • If you have the family coming for Christmas dinner but they will be heading off after, then why not ask them to bring storage containers so you can share leftovers. That way they won’t take your good plates!

The Big Day!

  • National Leftovers Day – woohoo! No stress, no need to cook, plus time to enjoy a free and delicious meal! For all sorts of leftover recipes (even the turkey curry!) have a look at our Christmas leftover recipes.
  • Do you know how to preserve a turkey? Strip the meat off the turkey bones and put it in small bags or plastic boxes. Break up the carcass and bones so they take up less space. You can store in the fridge for 3 days or freeze for later.
  • FREEZE! It’s like a pause button, your food will be safe for months! You can freeze turkey, mashed potatoes, fruit pies and even gravy. Remember, once defrosted eat within 24 hours.

Feel free to download and use our Christmas Recipe Booklet!

Enjoy this lovely time and have a Happy Christmas.

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