Zero down your fridge and freezer for Christmas
It’s a busy and expensive time of year with gifts to buy, meals to plan, parties to attend and decorations to hang.
We’ve got one helpful tip that will not only make the Christmas period easier but will also save you money, time and food.
Take the time now to zero down your fridge, freezer and pantry by eating the food you already have.
Challenge yourself to see whether you can live off the contents of your fridge, freezer and pantry for a week- without buying any more food. This will help you clear out all those odds and ends that are taking up space or have been hanging around for way too long.
You will also have saved a whole lot of grocery money which you can use to buy those last minute extra Christmas treats or gifts.
Emptying your cupboards, fridge and freezer also means that you’ll have plenty of room to store your turkey, ham and drinks in the lead up to Christmas and then room to freeze those post Boxing Day leftovers.
Whether you can make it for a week, two weeks or even just a few days, it will help you save money to buy those extra Christmas treats.
Read on for our tips on how to zero down your fridge, freezer, and cupboards.
Make a list of everything that you have and then use that to plan your meals
If you need inspiration or are not sure how you can create meals with what you already have, do a google search (or check out our recipe collection) to find some recipes that use the items you have
Make substitutions and be adventurous
Unless you’re baking, most recipes can be treated as a guide. Using frozen spinach instead of silverbeet or beef mince instead of pork won’t make much of a difference to the overall dish.
Embrace the randomness
Be open to putting together a random collection of foods and calling it a meal. This is great if you have lots of single portions of leftovers in your freezer or small quantities of dry goods that need to be used up. You can always add some toast to bulk out the meal, if necessary. If you have half eaten dips or relishes why not use them as a pizza topping?
Chances are you have some unlabelled items in your freezer that you don’t know what they are. This is a case of pot-luck at its best. Instead of throwing away frozen food, defrost it. Once the food has defrosted you should be able to tell what it is. Make sure you eat it within a day of defrosting it. You can turn almost anything into a pie or made into a pancake filling.
Don’t worry about dates
There is likely to be an item or two in your pantry that has passed its best before date – but you don’t necessarily need to throw it away. Best before dates refer to the quality of the food, not the safety of it.
Give it away
If you have a food item that you know you aren’t going to use, give it away to someone else. This is the perfect time of year to donate to your local food bank – although if your item is a little obscure, it’s best kept for someone you know who loves it.
Tip: While you’re at it, make sure your fridge and freezer are running at the right temperatures to keep your food safe. Click here to find out the optimal temperatures and how you can check the temperature of your fridge and freezer.