It’s Boxing Day and if you’re anything like us, your fridge is right now overflowing with leftover ham, chicken, salads and other festive foods.
While making a mental note to buy less food next year, you might also be wondering what to do with all this food. If you can’t eat it all for lunch or dinner today, what will still be fresh – and, more importantly, safe – to eat tomorrow?
To find out, we spoke to food waste expert Amanda Kane, who runs the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s Love Food Hate Waste program.
Kane says there are some foods that last better than others, but all can be kept safer for longer is their stored properly.
“It’s really about keeping your food as cold as possible, as often as possible… from when you’re shopping at the supermarket to when you’re packing things away on Christmas Day,” she says.
This starts with when you do your Christmas shopping. (A lesson for next year). Kane recommends taking chiller bags or an esky to the supermarket, butcher or fishmonger and even turning down your fridge a degree (to 3 degrees) to compensate for the extra food and the amount of time it will be opened and closed Christmas Day.
So let’s get down to it, how can you keep your Christmas leftovers?
Eat within: 2 days max.
Seafood, including oysters, prawns and other shellfish, have a pretty short shelf-life. Kane says prawns are safest eaten within two to three days of purchase. So if you bought them on Christmas Eve, you’ll want to be eating them today.
So keep them tasting as fresh as possible, store them in an airtight container and leave the shells on. And if you’re looking for a different way to eat them, prawns go great cooked in a curry or stir-fry. You could also freeze them for up to three months if moved there today, just be aware they’ll have to be eaten the day you thaw them.
However, Kane has one disclaimer: “If your seafood spent longer than two hours out on Christmas Day, I wouldn’t eat it.”
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Lasts up to: 3-5 days.