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Love food but hate waste?

Here are six ways to get those leftovers eaten.

I cannot waste food. I gasp – audibly gasp – when someone throws away a broccoli stalk. Picture me dive-rolling in slow motion to catch a brown banana before it hits the bin. 

Big family occasions like Christmas are a real hurdle for me – my mum and dad are massive over-caterers (because is there ever really such a thing as too many dumplings?). They want to make sure people feel fed and watered and welcome. That means abundant, glorious food, but also cold sweats as I picture it mouldering in their fridge. Lucky for me Im not the only person in my family who hates food waste – were our own mini support-group slash food-savers. 

And we could do with a few more of those – 4 million festive dinners are thrown away each year, just in the UK alone! And us Kiwis? Well, we throw out over 155,000 tons of food each year, with nearly 13,000 tons being leftovers. Thats one heck of a doggy bag. 

Here are my top tips from my years of obsessive food saving – so together we can get those numbers lower.

         1      Prep your fridge and freezer 

Leftovers are great! Some dishes taste even better the next day, but yes, they need to be wrapped properly and kept cold to keep them in tip-top condition. In the lead-up to the big event, free up space in your fridge and freezer – its about to get really cosy in there. Get rid of space wasters – slicker packs, half-empty ice trays, almost-empty ice cream containers (you might need to eat the last few mouthfuls, sorry). 

You might be surprised by what can be frozen and for how long. Check out our blog on how to store food here.

Having meals frozen doesnt just save food – its also awesome for lazy days when you dont feel like cooking, or to bulk out dinners when people drop in unexpectedly.

Dont forget to label everything! 

         2      Send home doggy-bag containers 

If youre absolutely stuffed, it can be inconceivable that youd ever want to eat again – especially the food you’ve just eaten. If youre left with a pile of leftovers, dont just shove them into the fridge and forget about them until it starts to smell like feet in there. Instead, get out all your old jars and containers, and send guests home with make-their-own doggy bags. Along the same lines, you can take your own containers to help your hosts clear the food. 

         3      Get creative in the kitchen!

Despite your careful planning and giving out everyone their own container of food to take home, there might still be leftover food that isnt suitable for freezing. Nows the time to get creative. Get those Googling fingers working and search using up <insert food here>” for heaps of recipe ideas. Turn roast veggies into salads and frittatas. Chuck things on pizza, put it in fritters, or fill up wraps for lunch. And in the unlikely event of leftover cake? Well, just add coffee for the breakfast of champions. 

         4      Dont dress salads

Who said you cant save salads? You can! Just get guests to dress their own portion – that leaves any leftovers untouched by the wilting power of vinegar, and easily stored. 

         5      Have a second party! 

You dont have to tell me twice. How about starting a leftovers-party tradition for after big events? Invite friends to BYO leftovers and share each others bounty.

         6      Feed your wormy friends 

Sometimes food just has to go in the bin (cry), but it doesnt have to go to waste! Pop it into your compost or worm farm – remember that things like citrus, garlic and onions arent worm-friendly, but will be ok for them after being broken down in a compost heap.


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  3. This is exactly what i was looking for, thank you so much for these tutorials

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