This is how to store your Christmas leftovers properly to minimise waste

Roast turkey on a beautiful Christmas table
(Image credit: Carlina Teteris/Getty Images)

Christmas leftovers are the highlight of the festive season for many, but storing things incorrectly can often lead to unwanted food waste.

Be it leftover turkey (opens in new tab) sandwiches on Boxing Day (opens in new tab) or leftover stuffing to enjoy as a snack, there’s so much more to be made of your Christmas Day feast (opens in new tab). With the UK reportedly disposing of more than 4 million tonnes of food during December alone, it’s worth making the most of all your other leftovers too. Much of this waste could be avoided if food wasn’t incorrectly stored. 

Now storage experts Space Station (opens in new tab) have revealed their top tips for storing Christmas leftovers correctly.

Follow these simple steps and you can have fresh leftovers and minimise food waste this Christmas.

Turkey

Space Station suggests you cover your turkey tightly with foil or cling film, or store in a sealed bag in the fridge for no longer than three or four days. If you have a large amount, or if you aren’t planning on eating it within that time frame, then why not portion up your turkey and put it in the freezer ready for reheating in the next few weeks.

It is important to do this as soon as possible to avoid the meat being exposed at room temperature where it will start to harbour bacteria that could cause food poisoning (opens in new tab). When eating the next day, take only the meat out for your delicious sandwich, rather than leaving it sitting out on a plate as part of a Boxing Day buffet. 

Gravy

Gravy is a roast dinner staple, but since gravy shouldn’t be stored in the fridge for longer than a day, remember to leave it to cool. Then if you pour into ice cube trays, it can be used in recipes like stews and shepherd's pies for weeks to come. 

Mince Pies

These delicious festive treats (opens in new tab) can be enjoyed for months after Christmas, if stored in an airtight container in the freezer. They could even be used to make other desserts such as a wonderful mince pie cake or mince pie crumble. 

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Carrots

A reported 11.9 million carrots are thrown away each year, but with carrot soup (opens in new tab) a delicious winter meal, they’re well worth keeping. Simply add vegetable stock and some herbs or spices of your choice and you can enjoy a lovely bowl of it to warm you up. 

Sprouts

Whether you love them or loathe them, it couldn’t be Christmas without these seasonal vegetables. Sprouts (opens in new tab) can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for three days and made into dishes such as bubble and squeak. They can also be frozen in sealed bags for up to 12 months. This could even mean you don’t need to buy more next year, saving you some extra money. 

Christmas Pudding

Reports suggest that five million Christmas puddings (opens in new tab) end up in our rubbish bins each year, even though they will happily keep for two weeks in the fridge. Or if you’d prefer to enjoy your Christmas Pudding at a later date, it can also last up to three months in the freezer. Cut the cake into portions and freeze in zip-locked bags, and then defrost either overnight or in the microwave as and when you want to dive in. 

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Pigs in Blankets

It’s believed that around 7.1 million pigs in blankets (opens in new tab) get thrown out annually, yet they make great additions to turkey sandwiches or even eaten cold the next day. After allowing them to cool down, wrap them in tin foil and store in the fridge and they’ll be great to enjoy for up to three days.

Cranberry Sauce

If you prefer to make your own cranberry sauce (opens in new tab), then it’s best to store leftovers in a glass jar in the fridge. Mason jars or even empty jam jars would work. When fresh cranberries are stored correctly, they can last up to two weeks in the fridge or even two months in the freezer. 

Roast Potatoes 

This roast staple can be covered with foil or stored in an airtight container. Stored like this, roast potatoes (opens in new tab) will last a couple of days or up to a month if stored in the freezer. They can then be slowly warmed in the oven and eaten as is, or made into delicious dishes. 

Will you be giving any of these Christmas leftovers tips a try this year?