Over indulgence is practically law over the Christmas period but this often means there are plenty of leftovers come Boxing Day, even after the traditional bubble and squeak lunch. With food waste being such a big and expensive problem in the UK, knowing how to correctly store your leftovers for future use can be incredibly useful.
Keep cooked and raw produce separate
During the chaotic rush to get food out at Christmas, it can be easy to throw leftover food in the refrigerator or freezer without even giving it a second thought. The way you treat your food over the festive period should be no different to any other time of year, and keeping raw and cooked food separate is still very important.
Even with well packaged meat, you still run the risk of bacteria ridden leakages making their way onto pre-cooked goods. To combat this, keep raw meat at the bottom of your refrigeration or freezer unit, well away from the cooked stuff.
Invest in air tight packaging
Another storage faux-par that leads to expensive food wastage is improper packaging. When frozen, foods that are improperly wrapped will succumb to freezer burn, affecting quality, taste and texture. In refrigeration units, exposure to air and moisture will not only affect the quality of leftovers, it will also speed up the growth of harmful bacteria.
To protect yourself against these problems, always opt for fully sealed, air-tight bags that keep the risk of direct exposure to a minimum.
Don’t overload your appliances
It’s all too easy just to chuck everything in the fridge at Christmas, even if it doesn’t need to be there. If you want to keep your leftovers in good shape well after the big day, you need to pack more effectively.
Over packing cold appliances hinders their cooling ability, leading to a more rapid deterioration of your leftover food. This is not only costly but could cause sickness if bacteria ridden foods are consumed.
Firstly, check that everything in your fridge needs to be there. Many unopened jars and bottles are actually fine sitting in your cupboards. If it can survive at room temperature, take it out and free up space to allow your refrigerator to work at peak efficiency.
Next, separate off any foods than need to be or can be frozen and move them to your freezer unit as soon as possible. Spreading the load between your freezer and refrigerator takes pressure off of both appliances, allowing them to cool your leftovers more effectively.
Use labels to improve food safety
Finally, if you’re determined to minimise wastage this Christmas, investing in some quality sticky labels for your food packaging is a must. Many of us can be quite lazy when it comes to looking after our leftovers but we really shouldn’t be. Marking foods with a ‘purchased’ and ‘cooked on’ date is simple and if you do it as you’re putting food away, it’s less time consuming too.
Keep a marker pen and roll of sticky labels in the kitchen at Christmas and make the most of those festive leftovers.
You can find more fantastic articles, top tips and cold storage solutions on our website – www.crscoldstorage.co.uk.