In our mission to be more sustainable and less wasteful this Christmas, we’re already thinking about creative ways to use up leftovers so that they don’t end up in the bin. Despite festive feasting often being one of the most eagerly-awaited aspects of Christmas, it often results in an astonishing amount of food waste. According to Unilever, the UK alone amassed the equivalent of 4.2 million Christmas dinners’ worth of waste last year, which amounts to £64 million worth of food. Gross, right?
Well, not this year, folks! Here are our best tips for making sure you get maximum return on your Chrissy dinner for the rest of the festive period.
The freezer is your friend
Ok, it’s a no-brainer, but it’s really worth reiterating. The vast majority of traditional Christmas fayre—we’re talking turkey, ham, vegetables and roast potatoes—are all ripe for freezing, meaning you can make meals out of them for weeks, if not months, to come. The beauty of freezing your leftovers separately is that you can wait until you’re ready to use them to see what you feel like making. From pea and ham soup to ham fried rice, you’ll have time to work out your plan of recipe attack before you use up those leftovers.
Get creative with your recipes
After you’ve had some time and distance from all of the festive excess that worked its way into your freezer, it’s time to work out what you want to do with it. This spiced veggie rice with poached eggs looks like a great way to use up some of those leftover vegetables, while this ham ribollita or turkey curry sounds like a delicious way of relieving your freezer of some of the leftover meat.
When it comes to turkey, use it in whichever way you would use chicken or pork. It’s a rich source of protein, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus and selenium, which means it’s the perfect meat to add into stirfrys, tacos, soups, wraps, salads and more.
While you cook each of the elements of your festive feast, make sure you save all of the peels, stalks, offcuts, bones, leave and other leftovers in bags or containers to make stock. If you want to save them for a while, chuck the bags in the freezer ready for when you need them—so simple but a great way of reducing your food waste a whole lot more.
The majority of Christmas feast elements like potatoes, meat and vegetables can combine to create a great breakfast dish. Simply add your leftovers to a fry pan with some coconut oil, and either turn into an omelette by adding a few eggs or fry an egg to have on top. It will feel like an entirely different meal!
Reduce leftovers in advance
Another obvious one, but one to really keep in mind if you’re serious about reducing your food waste this year. Keep a close eye on what’s being bought for Christmas lunch—because things quickly get out of control, which is when you end up with way more than you ever needed. Work out exactly what you need, how many people you need it for and buy accordingly. It’s unlikely anyone will go hungry, and it’s another big step towards a more eco-friendly Christmas.