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Living Lightly column

Dealing with Festive Food Fallout

By Lauren Salathiel

Australian households are waking up today with fridges brimming to the seals with Christmas leftovers – salads, cold meats, seafood and sweets.

However, dealing with festive food fallout doesn’t mean eating ham sandwiches for every meal.

Provided you’ve stored your leftovers properly and are a little bit adventurous with your leftovers, you can eat like a king into next week…and maybe if you’ve got a good freezer, the next time you just can’t be bothered cooking!

Oh happy day! In fact, Happy National Leftovers Day!

Today is a day for us to put our collective noggins together not just to dream up exotic things to cook with yesterday’s Christmas leftovers, but also to pledge to make better use of our leftovers.

(For those who like stats, Aussie households throw out 345 kg of edible food per year – enough to fill the average household fridge three times! Most of this edible food is wasted because we have overcooked, we don’t know how to use leftovers, or we mistakenly throw things away before the used-by date.)

To get the creative juices flowing, here are a few tidbits to think about:

  • sad and wilted lettuce leaves? It’s probably just dehydration – chuck those babies in iced water and welcome them back to the world of the living!
  • too much cold meat from that Chrissy roast? Shred it and warm it in the oven with its juices (or gravy) and make tacos, with some salad greens, feta and sambal sauce.
  • roasted spuds are not just a godsend when it comes to midnight snacking, but also make for a mean potato hash – grate them up, add some cheese, salt, pepper, a little flour and herbs, mix and form into loose potato cakes, then fry. If you’ve got fish on hand from yesterday, omit the cheese, add the seafood and you’ve got fishcakes!
  • a stale breadstick still lurking under a teatowel on the bench? Blitz it into breadcrumbs (which you can freeze and use later), or bake it up as bread and butter pudding with lashings of butter, your favorite marmalade and some custard. That’s dessert covered!

Don’t stop there, though! Let today be a day to feel inspired – check out foodwise.com.au/foodwaste/national-leftovers-day – and to venture into the world of slightly experimental and completely revolutionary leftovers cooking!