Making the most of your leftovers

The period between Christmas and New Year can feel somewhat...miscellaneous. But the time spent recovering from one festive indulgence and preparing for the next does have one thing in its favour…leftovers! After all, you didn’t spend hours in the kitchen preparing turkey and trimmings for them to be tossed in the bin. 

Leftovers are a glorious thing. The glamour and gloss of Christmas Day have faded and what remains can normally just be shoved all together in a pan and gobbled up without ceremony. Any family fall-outs fade into the distance over some bubble & squeak and tantrums can be tuned out with a turkey wrap! 

So here’s our guide to how to make the most of them this year. Don't forget to check out part 1 and part 2 of the Rubies' team's favourite recipes.

How to store them

  • Cool them, then cover and ensure that they go in the fridge or freezer within 1-2 hours. If you have a lot of one type of food, splitting it into smaller portions will help it to cool quickly and means you can freeze and defrost only what you need for future dishes.
  • Make sure that when you come to use frozen leftovers, you defrost them thoroughly in the fridge overnight or in a microwave (on the defrost setting) and then reheat until steaming hot.

Think Ingredients, Not Recipes

Whilst the humble Turkey sandwich is always a winner, there are many more creative ways of using Turkey, including casseroles, soups, and curries. Check out our Leftover Recipe Ideas article for ideas on how to use your leftovers and how to spice them up with our very own Rubies in the Rubble condiments. Even leftover wine (as if) can be put into ice-cube trays and frozen to be used at a later date in gravy and sauces.

Find your waste a good home

Share with your community - Ever considered that your neighbour may want your unused bag of potatoes? Olio is the answer - a food-sharing app enabling you to give away or pick up others’ unwanted grub. It’s a two-way thing - so if you don’t have anything to give, use it to source items to revive your leftover recipes. 

Donate leftovers to a foodbank – use this link to find the nearest Trussell Trust foodbank to you and get donating to those that need it most. 

Compost your biodegradable waste – this includes fruit and vegetable scraps, potato peelings, tea bags, coffee grounds, eggshells, flowers and even your Christmas trees! Doing this will provide a nutrient-rich food product for your garden and will reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill.

Get Creative

After you’ve tried some of our leftover recipes, why not try some of these fun ways of enjoying them:

  • Host a potluck dinner party - there’s only so much soiree-surplus you can cram into the fridge or freezer, so why not use it as an excuse to host a dinner party with a group of friends? Get each of your guests to prepare a dish made from excess festive dishes and voila - a hassle-free dinner! 
  • Introduce "Fridge Fridays" to your household– at least once a week, make it a habit to make a meal out of whatever needs to be used in the fridge– why not make soup, salad or stew with your leftovers? Get the whole family or your flatmates involved and take it in turns to cook for everyone using your leftovers.
  • Get your Tupperware on – what you cook one night can form the basis of lunch the next day. Keep an eye out for our posts about pack lunch ideas in the New Year.