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Clever ways to store those Christmas leftovers

Get organised and win the war on leftovers this Christmas with our simple hacks and tips.

Updated

carrot cupcakes on red napkin on wooden board, carrot and glass pot on the table

In the throes of festive fun, it’s easy to forget about all that extra food we’ve amassed, and where exactly we’re going to store it. Don’t let it go to waste let us show you some clever tips for storing leftovers.

How to store leftover turkey

Given it’s the main event at Christmas dinner, it’s worth knowing all the tips on storing turkey leftovers so you don’t end up binning the big bird.

  • Your turkey needs to be covered and refrigerated within two hours of cooking.
  • Remove the stuffing from the turkey to store separately.
  • Pull the meat off the bone whilst still warm.
  • Ensure the meat is cooled before storing it. You can slice the meat up to help the cooling process along.
  • Cover with clingfilm or wrap in heavy-duty foil and put in a container for up to three days in the fridge. If you want it to last longer, freeze it.
  • The above methods also apply to storing cooked ham or beef.

Festive food storage methods

Aside from the turkey, there’s a whole range of culinary Christmas delights that’ll need to find a home in your fridge or freezer. Our simple storage tips will help you get those leftovers in order. But first, you might want to organise your fridge, ready for that extra food.

  • Cheese can leave a lingering aroma. Avoid transferring the fumes to other foods and keep stored in airtight plastic containers or zip-lock bags to keep your cheese fresh for around 30 days.
  • Cakes can dry out in the fridge after a couple of days. Instead, store them in a container at room temperature or cling film the cut sides and leave out on the counter for up to four days. You can also freeze them for up to three months if wrapped in cling film and put inside a freezer bag.
  • Sauces don’t need to be poured away – bag up and seal away the bread and cranberry sauces into freezer bags, stored upright in your fridge to save space. For a longer shelf-life, freeze your sauces in ready-to-eat portions.
  • Fish like salmon can be wrapped in foil and stored in a shallow covered container in the fridge for up to four days, or in the freezer for one month. Shellfish, spread out in a single layer on a plate, can keep for two days in the fridge or frozen in a container for three months.
  • Red wine leftovers can be used for casseroles and stocks if put into ice cube trays and frozen until needed.

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fruits and vegetables organized in the fridge

How to freeze leftovers

Not enough room in your fridge? Fed up with the sight of turkey? We’ve got some great tips for freezing leftovers that will earn their keep and reward you with delicious meals months down the line.

  • Food should be cooled down before freezing, and ideally within two hours of cooking.
  • Divide food into manageable portions before you freeze it. Freezing large amounts of leftovers will also mean you have to defrost large amounts.
  • If using airtight containers, add a layer of cling film between the contents and the lid to prevent freezer burn.
  • Think ahead and slice any meats you want to use for sandwiches or cut into cubes for casseroles and stir-frys.
  • Zip-lock bags are a great space-saver and ideal for storing meats and stuffing. Before freezing, squeeze out any excess air from the bag.
  • Ice cube trays are a clever way of storing gravy in the freezer and will last for up to four months.
  • Don’t forget to label and date your bags and containers so you know exactly what’s in them and when to consume them by.

With your Christmas leftovers safely stored away, your only job will be to sit back and revel in your canny forward-thinking.

Originally published