For many, one of the best parts of Christmas dinner is the turkey sandwiches on Boxing Day, not to mention the leftover stuffing and trimmings.
But there are many other parts of the traditional festive feast that are often unnecessarily left to go to waste, due to either being thrown away or not stored correctly.
The UK disposes of more than 4 million tonnes of food during December alone, accounting for 30% of the nation’s overall annual food waste in the UK.
But experts say that much of this waste could be easily avoided simply by storing food correctly.
Efficiently storing and saving leftovers could also save much needed cash for the new year, when purse strings are often tight.
To help reduce this waste, storage experts Space Station have published their top tips for storing Christmas leftovers correctly.
Cover your turkey tightly with foil or cling film, or store in a sealed bag in the fridge for no longer than three or four days. If you have a large amount, or if you aren’t planning on eating it within that time, put it in the freezer in portions ready for reheating in the next few weeks. Do this as soon as possible as any meat exposed at room temperature will start to harbour bacteria which could cause food poisoning. When eating the next day, take only the meat out for your delicious sandwich, rather than leaving it on a plate as part of a Boxing Day buffet.
Since gravy shouldn’t be stored in the fridge for longer than a day, leave it to cool and then pour into ice cube trays to be used in recipes like stews and shepherd’s pies for weeks to come.
7.5 million mince pies are thrown away each year, but did you know that they can also be frozen? These crumbly sweet snacks can be enjoyed for months after Christmas if stored in airtight containers in the freezer. You can even use them to make other desserts, such as mince pie cake or mince pie crumble.
11.9 million carrots are thrown away each year, but these could easily be made into a soup by adding vegetable stock and a few herbs and spices. Why not boil the soup on Christmas evening while watching a great film and winding down with the family?
Love them or hate them they always end up on our Christmas plates, yet 170 tonnes of sprouts are thrown away each year. Sprouts can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for three days and made into dishes such as bubble and squeak. They can also be frozen in sealed bags for up to 12 months – which could even save you buying them next year!
Five million Christmas puddings end up in our rubbish bins each year. This is despite the fact that they will keep for two weeks in the fridge, or up to three months in the freezer, and can also be made into many other delicious desserts. Cut the cake into portions and freeze in zip-locked bags, and then defrost either overnight or in the microwave as and when that sweet craving hits!
Pigs in Blankets
As one of the best parts of the meal who could believe that 7.1 million pigs in blankets get thrown out annually. These would be great to add to the turkey sandwiches, or eaten cold the next day. After they have cooled, wrap them in tinfoil and store in the fridge and they’ll be great to enjoy for up to three days.
If you’re making fresh cranberry sauce it is best to store any leftovers in a glass jar, such as an empty jam jar or mason jar, and put in the fridge. Fresh cranberries, stored correctly, can last up to two weeks in the fridge, or two months in the freezer, and help add a moist layer to turkey sandwiches.
Roasties are a staple of Christmas dinners the nation over, so it’s a puzzle why 11.3 million of them are wasted each year. Cover your potatoes with foil or store in an airtight container in the fridge and they will last a couple of days – or stow them in the freezer for up to a month. They can then be slowly warmed in the oven, mashed, or fried as a side dish for meals, or made into delicious dishes like potato and stuffing hash and patatas bravas.