In December alone it’s estimated that a staggering 60million meals will go uneaten.
Among this figure are seasonal favourites that include 3.5million mince pies, more than 240,000 Christmas puddings and over 100,000 turkeys.
If saved from going to waste, this could feed the entire population of Scotland from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day and represents a potential collective saving of over £90million to Scottish households.
In his first official engagement since being appointed Scotland’s first National Chef, Gary Maclean joined Zero Waste Scotland to share his festive checklist – designed to help minimise food waste and time spent in the kitchen.
Gary’s tips and ‘hacks’ include cooking turkey upside down to prevent it from drying out, serving Christmas lunch ‘buffet-style’ to enable guests to choose their preferred portion size and using up leftovers in tasty, easy-to-make party recipes like turkey spring rolls.
Father-of-five, Gary, explained how he gets the most out of Christmas dinner: “For me, Christmas Day isn’t about slaving away in the kitchen, it’s about spending time with family and the kids playing with Lego on the living room floor!
“Planning ahead, not overcooking the turkey, getting portion sizes right and using a serving-style that makes the post-dinner tidy up incredibly easy are all on my festive food waste checklist.
“I encourage Scots to give the checklist a go to save time and money, and ultimately get the most out of their Christmas Day.”
Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, said: “It will no doubt provide Scots with food for thought that some 60million meals are wasted in December every year. That’s why the Scottish Government has set an ambitious target to cut food waste by 33% by 2025.
“I hope people will pay attention to these simple tips and advice so we can all do our bit to combat unnecessary food waste while enjoying the festive season with friends, family and loved ones.”
Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, added: “The Zero Waste Scotland website is fully stocked with tips, tricks and advice on how to save time and money while preparing your Christmas dinner.
“Earlier this year we were delighted to have the backing of Olympic curling family, the Muirheads, who encouraged Scots to go for gold in the fight against food waste by using their freezers.
“A simple solution to a nationwide issue – we encourage Scots to wrap up warm and get freezing.”
Chef Gary Maclean’s festive checklist for tackling food waste includes:
- Buy a turkey that’s smaller than the size you think you need & cook it upside down. Christmas sees us inclined to over-buy which leads to food waste. When preparing the turkey, cook it upside down, ensuring the juices stay in the breast meat. Dried-out turkey isn’t enjoyable or palatable for you or your guests; meaning it often goes uneaten.
- Serve your guests ‘buffet-style’. Present side dishes, sauces and desserts on individual dishes in the middle of the table. This means people can choose what they please which is great for fussy eaters or those with a smaller appetite.
- Use zip-style sandwich bags, a home vacuum-packer and containers to store leftovers in your freezer or fridge. Serving buffet-style means you can easily decant and store leftovers for enjoying at a later date. A home vacuum-packer helps make the most of space in your freezer at a busy time of year.
- Do your bit to tackle the 100,000 turkeys that go to waste in Scotland every year by making turkey & cranberry spring rolls. A great recipe for party season that uses up leftover turkey meat and vegetables.
- Help reduce the 240,000 Christmas puddings that go to waste in Scotland at Christmas by making this simple and quick dessert. Mix leftover Christmas pudding into chocolate fondant mix to create a sensational seasonal dessert.