One of the highlights of the year - every year - is the big, delicious family feast we all enjoy on Christmas Day. And, while 2020 made for a very different year and a very different Christmas, most of us still got to sit down with someone we love and enjoy a celebratory Christmas Dinner.
Even in the few days after Christmas, we all still gratefully and enthusiastically nibble on leftovers, relishing the opportunity to pig out and savour every mouthful.
However we all reach our point of no-return. That moment when you sigh at the sight of more turkey sandwiches, shudder at the thought of more stuffing and push away the dessert.
So what do you do with all of the leftover food? It seems like such a waste to throw it all away. Of course, you could simply freeze some of it but even that doesn’t extend the lifespan of a lot of it for much longer - and worse, ruins the flavour of a once delicious feast. The answer is to vacuum seal it.
By now you’ve probably already frozen some of your leftovers and thought ‘that will do’, but in truth, freezing your leftovers is a temporary solution. Freezing can only extend the shelf life of your leftovers by a couple of months at best, so unless you’re confident you’ll be ready to tackle another Christmas dinner with all the trimmings by mid-February, you’ll end up throwing away your frozen leftovers anyway.
Another downside to simply freezing your leftovers is that you can almost certainly guarantee freezer burn. Food isn’t supposed to be exposed to such frigid cold temperatures for long periods of time. When you throw food into the freezer the frigid air causes the moisture in the food to migrate to the surface of the food. The food then begins to deteriorate and develop ‘freezer burn’. While it is safe to eat food with freezer burn, you’ll find that the food will be tasteless and a different texture than it once was. Often, freezer-burned food ends up going to waste because it simply doesn’t taste good.
To prevent freezer burn and keep your leftovers tasting just as fresh and delicious year-round, you need to keep air away from the food. Even keeping your leftovers in tupperware won’t suffice as you’re still locking in the produce with air. The only way to effectively do this is to vacuum seal the products.
Vacuum sealers work by sucking all of the air out of a plastic bag, creating an airtight, sealed and safe environment for your food.
A vacuum sealer will keep your food tasting and feeling fresh for up to 3 years. This means that you’re more likely to save time and money as you can re-use what you already have in the freezer, and you’ll be producing much less waste. With the planet running lower and lower on resources every year, properly utilising your leftovers can really make an impact. What’s more, having a freezer full of leftovers means that you can save time and energy preparing food later in the year. You’ll be able to quickly pull a meal together at the drop of a hat.
Vacuum sealing your food is very simple. Simply break your produce into single size servings and seal each serving individually so you can thaw the correct amount for your recipe or requirement. You can buy special chamber sealing bags that allow you to store single portion sizes of a product all in one place. This makes it easier to label and find the leftovers you’re looking for.
Turkey – Remove it from the bone. Use the bones to make stock and vacuum pack the stock in single servings.
Gravy – Flour-based gravy can be frozen in ice cube trays and then vacuum sealed in plastic storage bags.
Cranberry sauce - Vacuum pack in single servings.
Stuffing – Separate your stuffing into individual balls and store in serving sizes.
Desserts – Pies and cookies can be vacuum sealed.
Veg - Parsnips, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and carrots all freeze well. Either mix up the vegetables into medleys or vacuum seal separately.
Moisture rich foods such as cabbage, celery, salad greens, sprouts, watermelon, apples and oranges don’t freeze very well so it’s best to avoid sealing and freezing these items. Cream-based soups and sauces can separate when vacuum packed and frozen and fried foods can be affected too.
So, whether you get the sudden urge for a full roast dinner in the middle of July or you’ve got enough leftovers to feed a small army for the next 3 Christmases, a vacuum pack allows you to keep the spirit of Christmas alive year-round.