December is a period of indulgence and huge expense. Often getting caught in the trap of having the 'perfect' gifts, extravagant parties, new outfits and endless trays of food. We can forget to make the most of what we already have.
Up-cycling in a period filled with over-indulgence and expendability can not only save your rapidly dwindling bank account but also put your mind at peace and drastically reduce your household's waste. It has been calculated that the UK throws away 4 million tonnes of perfectly edible food in December alone. It's time, not just to celebrate the end of the year, marking accomplishments with all the festivities, but celebrate with what we already have, and make the most of it. It's not about going cold turkey [pun intended]. Be patient with yourself; the small changes we make, add up to be large ones.
With this in mind let's aim to avoid the bin [if anyone in your household likes a challenge, set them this one]: turn those vegetable ends and chicken/turkey carcasses into a stock and freeze for a later date. Lots of Christmas ham leftover? How about turning those leftovers into a ham and mushroom tart for new years day. Or into sandwiches for that boxing day hike [to the top of the mountain, or your TV, you're choice].
Good food doesn't have to end at the Christmas showstoppers, and Jamie Oliver has some superb recipes to inspire
Anything delicious. Magazine touches is generally gold, and they've got 39 Christmas Leftover Recipes to peruse.
Quality Over Quantity:
Select fresh ingredients that will last some time in the fridge and store them well. Remember, things often last longer than their Best Before dates - trust your senses. Buy small and often, only what you need. If possible go to a local farmers market or support your local community.
Sharing is Caring:
A good tip: get family and friends to bring containers/tupperware to take leftovers home. Bonus, leaves you with a cleaner house and our idea of the perfect gift.
Additionally, if you're in London, you could give Olio - the food sharing app - a try; share more, waste less, and meet the neighbours.