Help reduce the stress of cooking for Christmas

fsalogoIn the run-up to Christmas follow the Food Standard Agency (FSA) Freezer Fairy’s tips on how to prepare your festive food in advance and reduce food waste from leftovers by making the most of your freezer. Their useful tips will help you plan your meals and work out what and when to cook, freeze and defrost to help you have a less stressful and wasteful Christmas.

Visit the FSA’s website for more information on the following:

  • Top freezer tips
  • Cooking turkeys
  • Love leftovers

Freezer Fairy says..

Freeze up to the use by date

It’s safe to freeze food up until the use by date. Freezing acts as a pause button. You can freeze pretty much everything. This includes your meats and meals cooked from previously cooked and frozen meat – your Christmas turkey leftovers for example. Once defrosted, the pause button is off. So, just defrost your food as you need it – and eat within 24 hours.

Plan portion sizes

Before you plan your Christmas meals, think about how many people you’ll be cooking for and how big the portion sizes should be. This portion planner covers all sorts of foods and tells you how much you need to cook, so that you can avoid the temptation of buying too much

Separate raw foods when shopping

When you do your Christmas food shopping remember to take at least two bags with you so that you can separate out raw and ready-to-eat foods to avoid cross-contamination. A good tip for carrying all of your raw meat safely might be to use a ‘bag for life’. You may need to have an extra-large one if your turkey is big! Here’s some advice on packing food safely when shopping.

Cook in advance and freeze

You can get most of your Christmas cooking done weeks in advance by storing cooked foods in the freezer. It’s best to place food in an air tight container or wrap it well in freezer bags, freezer wrap or cling film before freezing it, to stop the cold air from drying it out. Expel as much air from the freezer bags as possible.

Remember that you can also prepare all of your vegetables in advance. If you don’t want to spend Christmas morning peeling potatoes, you can parboil them for five minutes, then drain and cool them before freezing. You can do the same with wedges of carrot and parsnip, or even Brussels sprouts, which will need slightly less cooking time than usual.

Label food in the freezer

It’s a good idea to date and label any foods that goes into the freezer so you know what it is and how long it has been in there.

Find out more about food safety and read helpful tips and advice on ABC’s website.

Ashford Borough Council 25 november 2016

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