Christmas is the season of parties, celebration and family feasts. It’s the time of swapping presents and spending evenings cosied up with your loved ones, watching classic movies, playing games and eating far, far too much. But with all that overindulgence comes extra waste, and around this time of year we create a whole lot.
The energy from the 848 tonnes of annually scrapped roast potatoes in the UK alone is enough to power the average home for fifteen years. When you add in all of the sprouts, the mince pies and the Christmas puddings that we also throw away it’s over 1400 tonnes of food, and that’s without the turkey. If you include all the turkey that gets tossed out its almost double that number.
It’s never been more important to make the most of our resources and start recycling what we can, so fighting food waste should be a year-round mission. Luckily, it’s perfectly possible to have a happy holiday without being wasteful. Read on for some handy hints on how to celebrate the holidays while doing your bit to protect the planet.
A great start is writing shopping lists. This might seem obvious, but less than 25% of adults do this, which is how so many of us end up with more perishables than we can eat. We are all guilty of buying a big bag of tomatoes, only to get home and realise we already had plenty in the fridge drawer. Before you go out on your holiday grocery shop, take stock of what you have already and go easy on buying a lot of things that will perish quickly. It will help you cut down on waste and save money (always a good thing around this time of the year). There are also lots of other tips to help you shop for the festive season and cut down on the left-overs: check out this at this article for more hacks on waste-free shopping.
Bought or made to many mince pies and Christmas puddings? Even after these have been cooked, you can always freeze them. When you have a mince pie craving come February, simply defrost them and pop them back into the oven to reheat. In general, your freezer is your secret weapon around this time of the year.
A lot of wine gets opened at Christmas, but not all the bottles get finished. If you have opened wine knocking around that is still drinkable, throw it into a pan with seasonal spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice) and make a classic gluh wein. It’s a warming party drink and a delicious way to get the most out of every bottle.
The Christmas dinner leftovers should be savoured. Bubble and squeak is a great British classic for finishing off your roast, and a Christmas dinner bubble and squeak is arguably the best there is. Simply toss the veg and turkey into frying pan, season and fry until it starts to get golden and crisp. Try serving with a fried egg and a dollop of leftover cranberry sauce.
You could also try making epic boxing day sarnies (your roast with all the trimmings, stuffed into your bread of choice). These are perfect if you like to take a brisk walk on the 26th to try start working off some of that seasonal overindulgence.
Once there’s no meat on the turkey and it’s down to nothing but bone, boil up the carcass with the leftover veg to make a great, simple and tasty broth. You can then freeze this and use it whenever you want for soups, gravy or anything else your hungry heart desires in the coming months. Or if you’re a vegetarian or vegan house and don’t have the turkey you can always make a warm and hearty leftover vegetable soup or blitz it all together for a creamy pasta sauce.
With proper planning and clever use of your freezer, your holiday leftovers could keep you well feed for the first few months of the new year, meaning you can cut down on food waste and keep feeling festive way after the decorations are down. Here’s to a happy , and eating Christmas pudding in April!