Christmas food waste tips: Christmas is often referred to as being the most ‘wonderful’ time of the year, but it’s also the most wasteful, creating a huge rise in the amount of waste materials being produced and disposed of during the festive season. Continuing our theme of encouraging a sustainable Christmas for everyone, this week’s blog focuses on food waste. Let us run you through some foodie Christmas tips that can help minimise waste and over indulgence.
Christmas food waste tips – In the lead up and during Christmas, our kitchens go into overdrive. There’s are millions of Google searches for cooking the perfect turkey, the largest pans get dusted down and potatoes and vegetables get peeled, chopped and soaked to within an inch of their lives. The turkey baster become the Chef’s best friend and the sprout cynics amongst us, start to get anxious as the smell of Christmas hangs in the air. What’s more, we have such a plethora of choice and shopping for Christmas food is becoming easier each year, with supermarkets staying open later and vast home delivery options from the major retailers. It’s very easy to slip into the ‘must buy everything mode’ and forget you don’t actually need a sack of carrots or shares in a parsnip mountain.
According to Love Food Hate Waste, in the UK we waste the equivalent of more than 4m Christmas meals, including 17.2m sprouts, almost 12m carrots, untold numbers of potatoes and somewhere in the region of 7.4m mince pies. How and who is being this wasteful?! When you break it down by our population of 66 million, that’s only a very small amount per person (a quarter of a sprout each, say), but, importantly, this demonstrates the impact of our collective actions, multiplying our modest waste into a food waste catastrophe.
Love your leftovers and get creative!
- As obvious as it may sound, calculate the quantities you need per head: 125g potatoes, 80g of each vegetable and, if you eat turkey, about 250g.
- Cool any leftovers at room temperature, then cover them and ensure that they go in the fridge or freezer within one-two hours.
- If you have a lot of one type of food, splitting it into smaller portions will help it to cool quickly. It also means you can freeze and defrost only what you need for future dishes.
- You can freeze cooked turkey, other cooked meat and meals made from cooked and frozen meat. But once defrosted, you should eat the food within 24 hours.
- You can also use previously cooked and frozen turkey to make a new meal, such as a turkey curry, soups from roasted vegetables, stock and so on.
- Good news! Turkey has a lower carbon footprint than beef, but a nut roast will have an even lower one, consider going against tradition and trying something different this year.
- Or go even one stage further, A handyman has revealed this week that he and his girlfriend will serve a Christmas dinner made from roadkill after a year of scouring the roads for dead animals. (OK, maybe this one is a bit extreme!).
- Think about checking in on elderly neighbours who may be spending Christmas alone. Plate up a meal and pop round, or better yet, invite them over. You’ll have less food waste, but more importantly, kindness and spending time with others is at the heart of Christmas.
The more waste we send to landfill the more methane and carbon dioxide (CO2) that gets released into the air, and the more the temperature of the Earth rises. So, this year, as the problem of food waste rears its head once again, go against the grain and don’t be one of those households that throw away vast amounts of perfectly editable food.