Christmas table with leftovers

The ultimate guide to Christmas leftovers

If you’re anything like the Twisted team, Christmas food shopping fever often results in enormous over ordering. All appetite-logic disappears out the window, as you become convinced that four people can easily dispatch of a 100-pigs-in-blankets value pack, on top of an 11-kilo turkey. The result is a fridge full of half-eaten bowls and barely touched treats that can be an intimidating sight for even the most seasoned Christmas campaigner. To help you climb this mountain, here’s our guide to creating delicious dishes with your festive leftovers.

Storage is key

No matter how much we may wish it, Christmas food does not last forever. It may still be delicious, but slicing off increasingly green slices of ham to try and find a pink bit is extremely ill-advised. Fortunately, it is possible to postpone the inevitable. Turkey and ham can both be frozen, and will subsequently be edible for months afterwards, but if they are not sealed effectively and transferred to the freezer, they should be kept no longer than 29 December. Putting anything in airtight containers, rather than keeping them in loosely clingfilmed bowls, will help to preserve them, and it’s a good idea to label everything with dates so you can track just how old your food may be.

Frozen ham and sausage Credit: Pixabay

Let it go

Unfortunately, however hard you try, all things eventually decay. Some things are affected more rapidly than others. Fish and seafood should be kept for no more than two days, and exposed meat will last only a few days longer. It might be hard to say goodbye, but for the sake of your stomach, it’s best to give up the goose and other meaty morsels.

Plateful of prawns and seafood Credit: Pixabay

Stock up

It’s tempting to think that the skeletal remains of a once-proud turkey have served their purpose and are ready to be disposed of. However, turkey carcasses provide a great opportunity to create a hearty stock, which can be frozen and used in a variety of dishes throughout the year. Similarly, soups are a great way of using up leftover meat and veg, which can also be frozen to prolong Christmassy cooking.

Stock pots simmering on the stove Credit: Pexels

Think outside the box

The sheer variety of ingredients that many people have left after a Christmas dinner presents a great opportunity for inventive and experimental cooking. All over the internet, recipes for wacky creations such as stilton, walnut and cranberry croquettes and cheese board mac and cheese can be found, meaning that there’s plenty of inspiration out there for energetic chefs.

cheese on crackers Credit: Pixabay

Rework your puds

With so much savoury choice, it’s easy to neglect Christmas desserts. Sweet treats provide plenty of opportunity for experimentation. Leftover pannetone, for instance, can be used to make exceptional French toast. Those who enjoy Christmas pudding can recycle the traditional staple into a cheesecake to create something festive but sophisticated. The possibilities for innovation are limitless with festive desserts.

Christmas cake on a plate with candied oranges Credit: Pixabay

Invest in some extras

Some of the most popular leftover recipes revolve around curries and other traditionally Asian dishes. These recipes appeal as they are relatively straightforward to prepare, deliver bags of flavour and can provide welcome relief to the stodgy Christmas staples. However, in order to enjoy these recipes to the full, it is worth planning ahead. Stocking your larder with sauces, pastes and rice, as well as a variety of spices, will mean that you too can prepare cracking Christmas curries, without compromising on flavour.

Spices sealed into jars Credit: Pixabay

Christmas can often leave us feeling lethargic and completely devoid of the desire for outside-the-box culinary thinking. However, following a few of these tips should help you get in a great position for making the most out of your surplus supplies.

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