Storing and Using Common Holiday Ingredients
How to Prevent Food Waste this Holiday Season
The holiday season is a wonderful time to share good times and good food with friends and family. Unfortunately, it’s also a time when household food waste increases. We know it’s a busy time of year, so we want to make preventing food waste easier for you this holiday season. Here are our top tips for using and storing common holiday foods to help you enjoy every last morsel.
Whether it is a creamy, spreadable soft cheese like brie, cream cheese, or blue cheese, or a hard cheese like cheddar, Parmesan, or gouda, the best place for cheese is in the fridge. For detailed storage tips read How to Store Cheese.
Another option for hard cheese is the freezer. We recommend grating it before freezing because it does get a little crumbly; perfect for pizza, pasta or creamy soups.
Use extra cheese to:
- top salad, pizza, or sandwiches
- make the best mashed potatoes (try it with Brie!)
- make creamy soups
- add extra flavour to pasta and egg dishes
- bake into savoury breads, muffins, and biscuits
For more ideas read 5 Ways with Cheese
Did you know, the white rind on soft cheeses is edible. It adds an earthy flavour and complements the soft interior.
Deli meats have a very short lifespan, so have a specific use in mind when you buy them. Roast beef, ham, turkey, chicken, and soft meats like bologna, mortadella, and pastrami will only last a few days. Keep them well wrapped in the fridge, or freeze them. For details, read How to Store Deli Meats.
Hard, salty cured meat like dried salami, pepperoni, prosciutto, smoked summer sausage, etc. will last a little longer depending on how they’re made. Check the label to be sure and always store them in the fridge.
Use extra deli meats to:
- make pizza or calzones
- add to all types of salads – pasta, potato or leafy green salads
- add to soups and casseroles
- make freeze ahead sandwich fillings – layer deli meat with cheese slices in between parchment paper in the shape of your favourite bread and freeze.
It’s the crunchiness of crackers that we love the most. To keep that crispiness, keep crackers in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Do not freeze crackers as ice crystals will cause them to become soft and soggy when thawed.
If your crackers have lost a bit of their snap, re-crisp them in the oven by spreading in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake at 225°F/107°C for 20 minutes.
Use extra crackers:
- use sweet crackers to make crumbs for cheesecake crust, apple crisp or streusel
- make a crumb bottom for an egg frittata
- use crumbs for to coat chicken, fish, or pork
- use crumbs in meatloaf and meatballs
- mix with parmesan and herbs to top casseroles or pasta dishes like mac and cheese
- add pieces to trail mix or homemade snack mix
For something extra special to put on your Charcuterie board this holiday, use day old bread to make your own Garlic Bread Chips.
Fresh cranberries have a surprisingly long shelf life. When kept in the original package or in an airtight container in the fridge they can last several weeks. For even longer shelf life, freeze them just as they are. For details read How to Store Cranberries.
If you have extra cranberry sauce, freeze it for another dinner, use it instead of syrup to top waffles or pancakes, use as a topping for baked brie, add to oatmeal, or use in place of jam in many baked goods.
Use extra cranberries to:
- add to baking recipes like muffins, scones, loaves, cake
- add to holiday beverages
- perk up the colour and taste of smoothies
- make a tart cranberry salsa
- add to oatmeal
For more ideas read 5 Ways with Cranberries
A classic holiday beverage made with a tasty combination of heavy cream, milk, eggs, nutmeg, and sugar. Homemade eggnog should be enjoyed right away as it has a shorter shelf life than pasteurized, store bought varieties. You’ll know eggnog has turned bad if it’s lumpy and has a sour smell or taste.
To keep eggnog at its best, store it in the fridge like any other dairy product. For longer storage, freeze it in convenient portion sizes. Thaw gradually in the fridge and give it a good stir when ready to drink.
Use extra eggnog to:
- replace some or all of the cream in your favourite baking recipes
- mix with cream cheese for eggnog cheesecake
- use it in place of milk in French toast, pancake or waffle batter
- mix with icing sugar for a sweet drizzle on muffins or scones
- add to oatmeal
- make a smoothie, hot cocoa or fancy latte
You probably have a few ideas of how to use up holiday ingredients too; we’d love to share them. Tag us inyour photos and your tips for using up extra ingredients on Instagram or Facebook at @lovefoodhatewasteca.
P.S. If you do any holiday baking, check out our top tips for storing holiday baking staples.