Wasting food costs the average household £470 a year. During the festive season the volume of food being prepared (and potentially wasted) peaks, when many consumers are catering for large groups of friends and family.
Here are some tips which will help you reduce the amount of waste you produce and give you more value for money:
Freeze leftovers – you can make festive food go further by freezing leftovers. Just make sure any warm dishes are cool before putting them in your freezer. It’s best to place leftover food in an air tight container or wrap it well in freezer bags, freezer wrap or cling film before freezing it, to stop the cold air from drying it out. Expel as much air as possible from freezer bags.
Divide food into portions – remember when you’re freezing food to divide into portion sizes so you’ll only defrost what you need and to write the date so you know when you put it in the freezer. This will help you to reduce waste.
Only reheat cooked meat once – you can even freeze turkey, other meat and meals cooked using previously frozen raw meat. Just make sure you only reheat cooked meat once. But once defrosted, the pause button is off and you should eat the food within 24 hours. So you can turn your leftover dinner into a tasty meal for another day.
Leftover wine can be frozen for sauces – if you have leftover wine you can pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze it for use at a later date in sauces, gravy or (if it’s white) even as an alcoholic ice cube to chill your wine.
Make use of leftover fresh herbs – you can puree and freeze them in an ice cube tray to add to dishes as and when you need them.
To help make food go further you can make your leftovers into new meals then freeze them. Go to the Love Food Hate Waste website for some exciting recipes.
Entertaining food tips:
Less cooking time – if you have house guests over the festive period, think about preparing a bolognaise, stew or casserole and freezing it in advance, so there is less cooking to do when your guests are there and more time to entertain them.
Prepare handy snacks – if you like baking why not make some quiches or sausage rolls, once cooled you can cut them into portions then freeze for handy snacks.
Freeze milk/bread – why not keep an extra loaf of bread and pint of milk in the freezer so that there is always something for breakfast
Make use of leftover fruit – ensure you always have an ice cold ‘slice’ when serving drinks by slicing up leftover lemons and limes, layering them between non-stick paper and freezing them in a freezer bag.