Oh, how I love this time of year. All the food, lights, cosiness and then some more food again.
When it comes to the Holidays, most people like to go all out, right? I think it’s amazing how people channel their inner chefs for the occasion to create a feast for their loved ones. Out come the wild birds, game, artisan cheeses and heirloom veg. Yum.
We’ll be spending Christmas with the family and we’re all bringing something to the table – I kinda like that style of buffet, although I’ve been known to cook a seven course meal as well. There’s a time for everything; this year we’re keeping things simple so we can make the most of our precious family time.
With all this food we’re buying and preparing, there is bound to be a lot of waste as well. We don’t really like to think about that much, but I’m too often to blame for wasting food myself. It breaks my heart knowing other people are starving while I throw food out, when I haven’t cared enough or have overbought. So this Christmas I’m making an conscious effort to cut down on my food waste, and I’m sharing a few tips so you can join me!
How to Waste Less Food This Christmas
1. Make a plan
You know how the shops are laden with the most gorgeous and tempting food options around Christmas? Well, just like you shouldn’t go shopping when hungry, you shouldn’t do your Christmas food shopping without a plan. Think about your Christmas dinner, but also plan ahead for the few days afterwards. Make a clear list so you’ll know what you need to get. Stick to it so you don’t end up being tempted by every yummy Christmas bread, cheese platter or dessert you see.
2. Don’t overbuy
It kind of goes with the first point – make a plan and stick to it – but remember that you don’t need to feed an entire army. Stick to reasonable portions (and write them on your list!), especially when you cook multiple courses or have a big buffet. If you doubt about having enough, think about stocking up on extra’s that will keep longer, like frozen foods or bake off breads that you can pull out if needed.
3. Clear out your fridge before adding the Christmas shopping
Try to find a spare 10 minutes to clear out your fridge before adding all the shopping. Research has shown that this actually helps a ton, as it’s much harder to keep track of food’s degradation in a packed fridge! Put any fresh foods that need to be eaten soon at the front. Any sauces or condiments that don’t need to be chilled before opening can be left in the cupboard to keep the fridge uncluttered. This way you won’t have food end up in the back of the fridge and go off unnoticed.
4. Freeze what you can
After your big meal, have a good look at your leftovers – what can you freeze to keep for later? Think about cakes, breads, meat cuts, soups, sauces, vegetables, even unused dough or pastry – it can all be frozen! Any bones with bits of meat can be used for stock or soup and small meat cuts make great wrap fillings or pizza toppings.
Don’t forget to also look in your fridge – are there any ingredients you didn’t end up using and that could be frozen? Keeping too many leftovers in the fridge often ends up in wasting the food; by sticking it in the freezer you will be able to keep it for much longer!
5. Use your leftovers wisely.
Now I personally get excited about leftovers – french toast for brunch & turkey sandwiches the day after! But if you have a lot of food leftover and you can’t or don’t want to freeze it, get your guest to take a big plate of food home, as well as opened bottles of wine or fizzy drinks. Only keep in the fridge what you can’t freeze, and use up food with the shortest shelf life first. There’s a ton of great recipes online on how to cook with leftovers – get creative and enjoy your delicious Christmas food a little longer!
Hope these tips will help you fight our waste this Christmas. Do you have any tips to add to the list?
Let’s waste less food together!
This post is part of our ‘a greener Christmas’ series, which gives you some ideas and tips to make this holiday season that little more sustainable. Some simple changes can go a long way to reuse, reduce and create less waste. Check out our other posts on eco-friendly giftwrapping and using cloth napkins.