10 ways to use up Christmas food over Christmas

Two million turkeys are headed for the rubbish bin – but Love Food Hate Waste has some great ideas for using up leftovers to prevent wasted food

Christmas food costs the average family £162, but 35 per cent of us admit to throwing a lot of it away – far more than at any other time of the year.

According to research by Unilever, two million turkeys, 74 million mince pies and five million Christmas puds are headed for landfill.

If you want to save a few bob and do your bit for the environment, Love Food Hate Waste can help you reuse, not refuse, your leftovers:Two million turkey's worth of wasted meat is heded for landfill ©Rex

1. Left with too much Stilton cheese once the festivities are over? Did you know that it freezes well and lasts for ages? Defrost it in the New Year for a cheese board, 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. Loads of sprouts left? Use them with leftover roast or boiled potatoes to make delicious bubble and squeak. Simply chop or fry together in a pan with some butter.

[Yahoo! Search: Bubble and squeak recipes]

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

5. 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 dust with soft brown sugar. Cover and bake in the oven at 180°C (350°F / Mark 4) for 40 minutes and serve with cream, yoghurt or ice cream.

[Related: 10 of the best Christmas Cracker jokes of 2012]


6. Control your portions and minimise your food waste when cooking Christmas dinner with this simple formula. Simply multiply it by the number of people you are hosting:
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

7. Get ahead with your food preparation by starting early on the roast potatoes and parsnips. Just parboil them, cover in fat and freeze them. Once frozen, pack them into freezer bags, seal, label and return to the freezer.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. Make these spicy nuts out of any half-opened packets. Take a mixture of Brazil nuts, almonds and 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.

[Related: More ways to use up your Christmas leftovers]


Mum Kathy Cope, 39, has joined the Unilever Sustain Ability Challenge and reckons she’s saving around £15 by reducing her family’s food waste. She gives her tips in the video below.