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Food & Hunger

21 Delicious Recipes for Reducing Food Waste This Christmas

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Much of the glorious food piled onto tables on Christmas Day ends up lining the bin rather than your stomach. The equivalent of 4.2 million festive dinners were thrown away in the UK in  2014.  That’s 263,000 turkeys, 7.5 million mince pies, 740,000 slices of Christmas pudding, 17.2 million Brussels sprouts, 11.9 million carrots and 11.3 million roast potatoes. 

Meanwhile, 1 in 9 people worldwide struggle to find food to live a healthy life.  The world produces enough food to feed 10 billion people, 1.4 times the global population. Sounds like something's going wrong somewhere then?

We agree. Christmas food tastes too good to throw away, but more importantly, food waste is too unfair to get away with. It's time to take action. This festive season, here are 21 simple ideas to fight food waste from your own home.  


Meats 

Festive Sausage Rolls from Sorted 

The name of this recipe might be a little misleading since no sausage meat is required. Still, the guys from Sorted Food have found a straightforward way to turn your dry turkey scraps into a gourmet “sausage” roll — all you need to do is fold some turkey, brie, parma ham, cranberry sauce (and a little bit of egg) into a roll of puff pastry, bake it in the oven, and you’re pretty much done. 

Turkey Risotto 

If you’re looking for something more ambitious, try these risotto recipes using Christmas meats and festive herbs for a wholesome fusion meal: 

Turkey, Stuffing and Leek risotto

Turkey, Parmesan and Prosecco risotto

And if turkey’s not the bird for you, the Hairy Bikers have a goose risotto to warm you right up. 


Boxing Day Pasties from Jack Monroe 

Food poverty campaigner and budget cooking expert (chef) Jack Monroe’s leftover pasties sound far more appetising than a soggy Christmas sandwich 


Vegetables

There is so much you can do with leftover vegetables it’s impossible to know where to start, so let’s begin anywhere but the dustbin. 

Veg Peel Crisps from Rubies in the Rubble 

Stop! Don’t throw away your vegetable peels straightaway. They could be the perfect snack for an afternoon on the sofa or to satisfy your hungry guests when the food is running late. Turn them into vegetable crisps with Rubies in the Rubble’s simple recipe.

Bubble and Squeak from Love Food Hate Waste

If too many guests avoided the brussel sprouts this year, recycle them into Love Food Hate Waste's Bubble and Squeak for breakfast or lunch. It works with any vegetable, and if you’re a vegetarian, just skip the bacon or try this recipe for Bubble and Squeak fritters.

brussel sprouts.jpgImage: Rudi Riet

6. Pies, Pies, Pies 

With all the potatoes, gravy, and vegetables still desperate to be eaten, there’s probably no better catch-all dish than a pie. Try these if you think that everything tastes better in pastry: 

Gluten-free Curried Veg Pie

Puff Pastry Topped Vegetable Pie

Christmas Pie with Greens, Chestnuts and Feta

Desserts 


Sweet Treats with Cranberry Sauce 

cranberries.jpgImage: Pen Waggener

You’ve probably thought about pairing cranberry sauce  with meat or cheese, but what about that mountain of chocolate still lying around? 

Cranberry Brownies

More Cranberry Sauce Brownies

Cranberry Banana Cake

Cranberry Apple Crumble

Christmas Pudding 

Christmas_pudding_(11927926293).jpgImage: Wikimedia Commons

We all want some figgy pudding, right? Wrong. The marmite of Christmas, slices and slices of Christmas pudding are bound to be cast aside this year. See if you can transform its bittersweet flavour with these inventive dessert recipes.  

Christmas Pudding Cheesecake (This one is particularly great if you have some extra ginger biscuits and clementines lying around!) 

Christmas Pudding Ice Cream

Christmas Pudding Crumble


Extra hints and tips 

Too much cheese? 

Melt leftover rinds or stubs of cheese into a soup to add a richer flavour.  

Mull over some wine 

Even if you can’t imagine letting wine go to waste, there are far more creative things you can do with wine than pouring it into a glass — from freezing it to jellying it.

Lazy bones 

Some things do need to be thrown away, but not until you’ve squeezed every last bit of goodness out of them. Save any bones, potato peel or vegetable stubs to use as stock later down the line. 

Had more than enough now?  

If you have far more food than you could possibly eat, you can donate anything unopened to a local food bank or charity. Organisations  like The Trussell Trust and FareShare accept food donations across the UK, redistributing surplus food to those struggling to feed themselves and their families. 


That's it — 21 simple ways to reduce food waste this Christmas. Which ones will you try?