At Christmas, there’s usually an oversupply of food as we celebrate the holiday with abundance. This usually means a surplus of leftovers!
However, instead of all those yummy leftovers going to waste, our 12WBT dietitian Erica Grandjean has put together her top tips on how to store those leftovers so you can enjoy the roasts, puddings, hams and trifle for the days (and for some, weeks or months) to follow!
Tips for Christmas leftovers
1. Act fast
Pack any leftovers up as soon as possible after eating. This will keep the food fresh. Putting food in the freezer or fridge sooner, rather than later, will reduce the risk of bacteria running wild in your beautiful salad or tasty leg of ham.
It’s also a myth that food needs to cool completely before storing. Just make sure it isn’t piping hot.
2. Out of sight, out of mind
Strategically place leftovers so that you can see them. Most freezers and fridges are packed to the brim with leftovers come Boxing Day, but try to place leftovers at eye level and toward the front of the shelf.
You’re more inclined to eat them in the following days and there is less chance of finding mouldy ham (or was it cheese?!) at the back of the fridge on Australia Day!
3. Go airtight!
Invest in some well-sealed containers and if using cling wrap, be sure to remove as much air as possible before storing.
4. Freeze how you intend to eat
Try freezing food items as they would be defrosted and eaten. Slice up meats and freeze a few slices in each zip-lock bag. Freeze stews in individual portions in takeaway containers – all you need to do then is defrost, reheat and eat! Store Christmas pudding in individual slices (great for longevity, and your waistline).
5. Get creative
Think of different ways to use up leftovers, to create new dishes with existing ingredients.
6. Label, label, label
Label any food you freeze with the contents and the date it should be eaten by. As a general rule, most foods will last for up to 3 months in the freezer.