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12 tips to help you waste less food this Christmas

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Did you know that an astonishing 74 million mince pies are thrown away every Christmas? That's more mince pies than there are people in the UK. I personally don't like the things so don't buy them, but it is a shame that so much food - not only mince pies - is wasted during the holidays.

Every Christmas, British consumers throw away an estimated 2 million turkeys, 74 million mince pies and 5 million Christmas puddings, according to research. Think about how many hungry people that could feed...

We're great believers that with a few tricks and a little thought, people could easily reduce their food waste - and not only for Christmas.

But it is the holidays and if you've bought lots of yummy food for the family to enjoy, here are 12 top tips to help you waste less this Christmas from Love Food Hate Waste and Unilever.

1. Left with too much stilton cheese once the festivities are over? Did you know that it freezes well and last for ages in the freezer? Defrost it in the New Year for the cheese board, a quiche or soup.

2. Cooked meat like turkey and ham can be frozen so if on Boxing Day you have lots left over, pop it in the freezer and then thaw it in the fridge when you fancy making a casserole, curry, stew or ham, turkey and leek pie.

3. Sick of Christmas pudding? Try turning it into a tasty strudel.

4. Loads of sprouts leftover? Use them with leftover roast or boiled potatoes to make bubble and squeak. Simply chop or fry together in a pan with some butter.

5. Bought too much mincemeat? Heat a small amount in a pan and spoon over ice-cream for an alternative Christmas pudding.

6. Use up Satsumas with this quick pudding. Peel and place the whole fruits in an oven proof dish, sprinkle with a little ground cinnamon, spoon over a tablespoon of Cointreau or whisky and sprinkle with soft brown sugar. Cover and bake in the oven at 180°C (350°F) mark 4 for 40 minutes serve with cream, yoghurt or ice cream.


7. Control your portions and minimise your food waste when cooking Christmas dinner with this simple formula. Adult (140g turkey + 2 tablespoons carrots + 2 florets cauliflower + 4 brussels sprouts + 1 parsnip), child (100g turkey + 1 tablespoon carrots + 1 floret cauliflower + 4 brussels sprouts + 1/2 parsnip). Simply multiply it by the number of people you are hosting:

8. Get ahead of the food preparation by preparing roast potatoes and parsnips. Just parboil them, cover them in fat and freeze them. Once frozen, pack them into freezer bags, seal, label and return to the freezer.

9. Leftover fruitcake you don't know what to do with? Add a spot of mayonnaise, custard and Flora, along with a sprinkling of sugar, to make a delicious fruity bread pudding.

10. Collect sandwich crusts in a plastic bag and store them in the freezer. Once you've got enough, whizz them in a food processor and use them for making the Christmas bread sauce or keep for toppings.

11. Make these spicy nuts out of any half opened packets of nuts. Take a mixture of Brazil nuts, almonds, pecans and put them in a roasting tin. Sprinkle over ½ tsp each of cayenne pepper, ground cinnamon, sea salt, black pepper and 2 tsp caster sugar. Drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil and bake for 15 min. Cool before storing in air tight jars or tupperware containers. They will keep fresh in a screw top jar until the big day.

12. Have a rummage around your kitchen cupboards; you might be surprised that you can make free foodie gifts from packets of sea salt and sugar. To make spicy salt, add a few dried chillies, red peppercorns and star anise to the sea salt and put into a nice jar and decorate with ribbons. For spicy sugar, add cinnamon sticks to a jar of coffee sugar and dress up in a pretty jar.

With the average Christmas food bill said to land on £169 per household, it is time to cut down on the waste and be a more sensible shopper.

And if you find that you have bought too much food this holiday, why not donate anything that can be used to your local charity. We're sure they'd appreciate it.

Images via Love Food Hate Waste.

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