While we all love Christmas, it can come at a huge cost – not only to our purses, but also to the environment. Unilever’s research in 2015 revealed that on average we spend £112 on our Christmas meal – an amount that would usually feed an average family for four whole days. And then there’s the waste - 10 million tonnes of food are wasted in the UK every year but that shoots up at this time of year; the equivalent of 263,000 turkeys are thrown away, 9.8 million cups of gravy (enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool!), 10.9 million parsnips, 11.3 million potatoes, 9 million carrots – and 7.5 million mince pies!
And there’s no need for it. From soups, sandwiches, quiches, pasta sauces, salads, bubble and squeak, pies and curries – even ice cream, there are so many inventive (and easy) ways to re-use Christmas leftovers.
Even the more commonly discarded food items can be given new life: leftover cheese and potatoes can be used to make crunchy croquettes - or use uneaten apples to make a sauce that can be frozen for future recipes.
We’ve talked in a previous blog about our dedication to using locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. Our Sussex event catering business works hard to reduce food waste and we aim to make every bit of what we produce count, using leftovers to make whole new dishes. One way we do that is through fermenting and pickling which is a great way of storing vegetables throughout the winter months to create produce for exciting new dishes.
Fermenting is an ancient and easy way to preserve food; not only does it have a unique and complex flavour, and as well as being vegetables, there are added health benefits as it is packed with gut-healthy probiotics, antoxidants - and can also reduce blood sugar.
Our go-to book is The Noma guide to Fermentation, by the world-famous Copenhagen restaurant of the same name which really takes the art of fermentation to a whole new level!
One of our favourite fermented dishes is Kimchi, a traditional Korean side dish; it’s easy to make, versatile - and a great accompaniment simple grilled meats. We make ours with Chinese White cabbage, garlic, ginger, chilli, vinegar, carrots, radish, spring onions, fish sauce and coriander seeds.
So, before you’re tempted to just throw away your leftover Christmas food, think again – there are lots of fantastic recipes online to whet your appetite - it’s literally the gift that keeps on giving!