Well, I can't say I didn't have my suspicions that something like this would happen, but I was really hoping that it wouldn't.
It is Sunday 20th December 2020, and my family now find ourselves in 'Tier 4' (aka Lockdown).
I've been sharing tips about Christmas Dinner prep for a little while now, but I know that for a lot of people it won't have entered their minds until the last few days.
There is so much to organise, and Christmas Dinner shopping is usually always dealt with the weekend before the Big Day.
So, what if you went to the shops yesterday? You've now got enough food for fourteen, but you'll now be spending your Christmas as four?
Well, if you have a freezer, you're golden (and even if you don't, please read on for my BONUS TIPS).
Here are a few of my top tips to avoid any food going to waste this Christmas.
1) MAKE SPACE
If your freezer is packed to the rafters, you'll need to make some space.
If you've got any big Tupperware stored meals, dig them out and eat them this week. You want to start off by tackling the stuff taking the most space first.
Let the kids eat the ice lollies (it is nearly Christmas after all!).
Accept defeat if there's anything you're genuinely never going to eat (no I don't advocate freezer food waste, but if you're simply renting space in your freezer to something that's no longer edible, it's time to evict...).
Look at how much packaging is in your freezer and skinny it back wherever you can. Cut the instructions off boxes and transfer everything to freezer safe bags to help create space.
2) PREP AND FREEZE
Check out my Can I Freeze It Christmas Playlist to see just how much you can prep and freeze. Or, if you don't want to make up and freeze in advance, why not freeze your surplus food to enjoy another day?
You can also check out Prep Now, Party Later, in which Ann Storr (from Storr Cupboard) and I chat with special guests Jenna Brown and Hayley Steere, about prepping, food safety, leftovers and helping others.
Finally, if you have the energy and enthusiasm to crack on with a more elaborate Christmas feast, the Stress-Free Christmas Dinner download is packed with advice and links to some fabulous freezable recipes.
BONUS TIP #1: If you were planning to host grown up kids who live nearby, why not get the food prepped and drop some to them, for them to freeze and then cook themselves on Christmas Day?
3) LOVE YOUR LEFTOVERS
If you are resigned to the fact that you have too much food and you're just going to have to cook it all, fear not!
To avoid too much 'plate waste', don't load up your plates (and particularly little kids' plates!) with stacks of food. Let everyone take a modest portion, then go back for more if you really want it.
Seeing as there'll be fewer people around the table this year, the risk of being too slow and missing out on the last roast potato is pretty unlikely!
By doing this you'll have untouched leftovers that can either be eaten over the following 2 days (Ann Storr has some great recipes!), or frozen for the future.
Be sure to get your leftovers into the fridge as soon as possible though to avoid any risk of food poisoning (even veggies!).
Turkey, stuffing and homemade gravy leftovers can be frozen (you can freeze store bought, but these should only be reheated once, so if you've already done this it's not a good idea to re-freeze leftovers).
Leftover cooked veggies can be frozen, but won't reheat well as they are. This Boxing Day soup is a great option which can be whizzed up and if desired, frozen for another time!
BONUS TIP #2: If you hate leftovers and don't have local family members to share your surplus with, why not save a Stranger's Christmas?
Free My Meal is a wonderful service which connects cooks and recipients that are local to each other.
Could you spare some of your pre-Christmas haul? Or share some of your leftovers?
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