Food waste is an ongoing issue in Australia but one we were slightly improving at until you-know-what occurred. Yes, aside from causing death, global economic destruction and an opportunity for Donald Trump to appear even more incompetent, COVID-19 also saw Australia’s food waste skyrocket. Between stockpiling groceries and getting experimental in the kitchen, the household annual food waste bill is at an all-time high of $1043 per household – up $170 since 2020 BC (before COVID).
Christmas is often a time of increased food waste and while leftovers can be handy for a few nights, you want to try and avoid having too many in the first place. Preferably they should be all gone before everyone starts groaning with your latest ham-laden creation or you are having to roll the dice come New Year’s Eve on whether or not that turkey is still good. Some years it has gotten to the point where even the chickens look at another bucket of scraps coming over the fence with a shake of their heads and an expression of, “Mate…I just can’t eat another thing.”
Preparation is key. Plan, plan, plan. Be realistic…try and drown out that perfectionist voice that fears being labelled The One who Ruined Christmas because every guest only had 6 prawns at entrée instead of 7. Good advice is to keep the menu simple – prepare proteins and salads you are familiar with to avoid meal mishaps and the rebuying of ingredients. Once you have decided on a menu, remove one dish because I guarantee you will still have too much!
Plan your shop – you know we love the shop local principle for many reasons, including less food waste and low food miles. Study your recipes, make your list and check it twice just like Santa does then hit the shops and stick to it. Popping back for that one thing you forgot will definitely result in you buying more.
Food storage is essential when getting the most mileage out of your leftovers and keeping them safe to eat. Refrigerate them as soon as possible, try not to overcrowd your fridge as it won’t stay as cool and follow food safety guidelines when reheating.
Television doctor Michael Mosley says, “You can actually reheat your leftovers as many times as you like, as long as you make sure every morsel is piping hot all the way through.” I get the theory Dr Mosley, but I’m not about to test the infinite reheating idea.
When storing leftovers, ditch the plastic wrap for air tight containers, beeswax wraps, or these super simple bowl covers (below), which Marita at Stock Your Pantry in Moora, has kindly offered to give away to one lucky reader! Keep an eye on the NVN and Stock Your Pantry Facebook pages to find out how you can win. You can buy from Stock Your Pantry online at www.stockyourpantry.com.au or pop in and see their range of waste-free and low tox products at at 65 Roberts Street, Moora (inside the Gull Service Station).