The festive season is a time for abundance and celebration, which, unfortunately, isn’t the best for the environment. We’re getting out and about more. We’re buying and receiving more gifts. And we’re having more gatherings, which sees us buying more entertaining supplies and generally creating more waste.
It’s a truly terrible time for our surroundings. But one of the worst parts about this time is the huge amount of food waste. From prawns, to panettone and puddings, we’re making and then wasting 30% more food than we usually do over the holidays. And it’s coming at a major cost to not just our pocket, but also our planet.
But the good news is that food waste over the holidays is mostly avoidable — it’s just about getting into good habits. Ahead, Australia’s leading food rescue organisation OzHarvest shares just some of the many ways you can avoid food waste this festive season.
Start planning your festive food menu ahead of time. How many people are coming? Which days? What food needs using up? If it’s after Christmas Day try menu planning to use up any leftovers… there will always be too much ham.
Clear Out Your Fridge and Freezer Beforehand
No space to store your leftovers? Get your fridge and freezer ready by having a clear out the week before and eating up what you already have.
Try ‘Use It Up’ Tape
Stock up on OzHarvest’s ‘Use It Up’ tape and create your Use It Up shelf in your fridge. Also, make sure you have plenty of storage containers, ready for delicious leftovers.
Write a List (and Stick to It)
One of the biggest reasons for waste is overbuying. Before shopping, write a list of exactly what you need (check what you already have first) and then stick to the list. The shops will be open again on Boxing Day.
Chill Leftovers Immediately
Keep leftovers fresher for longer by getting them into the fridge as soon as possible (especially if they’re hot). Keep leftover meat and peeled prawns in airtight containers, but be sure to remember to eat them up.
Get Creative With Ham Leftovers
Keep whole ham in the bottom of the fridge wrapped in a clean damp cloth. Use your leftover ham to make fried rice or serve with eggs for breakfast. Get creative with it, and if you’re stumped for ideas, take advantage of Google for fun recipe ideas.
Transform Sweet Treats
If you have lots of odds and ends of leftover sweet treats like Christmas cake, nuts, nougat and biscuits, turn them into yummy Rocky Road by combining them with melted chocolate and butter. A fun activity to do with the family one holiday evening.
Use Fruit Leftovers for Smoothies
Use any leftover fruit from platters to make smoothies. Simply place leftover fruit in the freezer until you’re ready to blend it up with yogurt and milk – a perfect light breakfast for Boxing Day.