This Christmas, it's time to tuck in to some of your favourite treats. And as you may have a fuller fridge, freezer and kitchen cupboards than normal at this time of year, our Morrisons Chef Jon has some top tips for making the most of your space. 

Take a look at the tips below, and make the most of your festive feast for a Christmas at home this year. 

Food Storage

  • Potatoes are best kept somewhere cool, preferably dark and well ventilated - a cupboard or wardrobe is a good option, or even a garage. You can also store onions and garlic the same way.
  • Store your mushrooms in a paper bag or a lidless plastic container lined with kitchen roll and covered over the top with paper towel. The paper will keep the mushrooms clean and dry as the plastic containers can make the mushrooms sweaty and slimy over time - by storing them in paper you can extend the life. You can also store mushrooms in a cupboard rather than in the fridge.
  • Don’t keep bananas next to other fruit as the bananas release a gas called ethylene that will cause your fruits to ripen too quickly. Don’t keep ripe bananas in a plastic bag either as this seals the ethylene in and causes them to go brown/black. (If you store a few apples with your potatoes the same gas will help keep the potatoes for longer.)
  • Tomatoes can be stored at room temperature and don’t need to be refrigerated; they will ripen better and it improves their flavour.
  • “Display Until” is an indication to stores as to when to take the product off shelves and not a food safety issue. The product can be eaten after this date (before the product is spoiled/deteriorated).
  • With a “Best Before”, the date indicated is to do with quality as opposed to food safety and products may be used after this date without affecting safety (before the product is spoiled/deteriorated). Check the label for guidance on how to store once opened. Products that must be stored in the fridge once opened should not be consumed after the number of days stated is exceeded.
  • A “Use By” date is a food safety issue. The product should not be consumed after this date.

Menu Planning

Menu planning is a great way to plan your shopping and to get the most out of the food you buy. Here are Jon’s top tips for good meal planning.

  • Check your cupboards, fridges and freezer when planning your shopping list and meals.
  • Plan your week’s meals each day, remembering to think about lunchtimes as well.
  • Plan one meal that is all vegetables and meat free, sometimes these meals can be cheaper and a great way of introducing more vegetables into your diet.
  • Look at planning your meals with a way of using up the leftovers, so for example if you are making a stew can you then use the leftovers for a pie the next day?
  • Consider using a portion planner tool to help you make sure you’re finding the right balance of protein, vegetables and carbohydrates in each meal.

Freeze It

  • Always ensure that food is placed in an airtight container, freezer bags or wrapped up well before freezing.
  • Remember to label your products with what it is and the date that it was frozen - this will help you easily identify the food that you are looking for when it comes to getting out for future meals.
  • When you freeze products, look at whether you will want to use the whole pack on defrosting, or smaller portions. If you don’t need the whole pack, split it into individual portions so it's easy to defrost only what you need.
  • Leftover food is perfect for the freezer - ensure that you cool the leftovers down as quickly as possible after cooking and only freeze when cool - these make easy meals for another day.
  • You can freeze most foods, but where there is a use by date, freeze them before this date, then defrost in the fridge when needed, ensuring that you use it within 24 hours of defrosting.
  • Bread can be frozen to make it last longer - just take out a slice as you need it for toasting or if making sandwiches, take out the slices of bread at least 30 minutes before you need it and wrap in clingfilm to stop the bread from drying out.
  • Milk can be frozen, simply make sure the lid is on tight. It will keep for months when frozen - to defrost, take out and defrost in the fridge for at least 24 hours.
  • Hard cheeses, like Cheddar or Wensleydale, can be frozen. Make sure you wrap them up or place in an airtight container first.. You can grate cheese into individual portions, wrap into little cling film parcels and just pop them out of the freezer as and when you need them.
  • You can freeze eggs, but don't freeze them whole in their shells otherwise they will pop in the freezer. Eggs can be beaten with a fork and then frozen individually in little containers
  • Most products bought fresh can be frozen with little effect on the nutritional values.
  • If you have any leftover fruit or vegetables, these can all be chopped and frozen for use at a later date. For example apples can be chopped and frozen in food bags or little cling film bags which can then be defrosted to make smoothies or fruit crumbles from the frozen fruits. Soft fruits like strawberries and raspberries can be frozen and will be perfect for making smoothies or stirred through natural yoghurt. Bananas also freeze well, and can be eaten straight from the freezer or used in smoothies.

Chill It

  • Check that your fridge temperature is set for optimum freshness at below 5 degrees C, anything above this is too warm and will speed up the spoilage of perishable foods such as milk and salad leaves.
  • Certain products can last for longer by ensuring that once opened they are sealed well - tupperware containers can help keep products for longer, or you can make sure you cover them well with cling film or foil to protect exposure to the air.
  • Celery will last longer by wrapping it in foil and just using a stalk at a time. Wrapping in foil works on lettuce and broccoli too.
  • If you want berries such as raspberries and strawberries to last longer, wash them in a mix of 100ml of vinegar to 300ml of water, this will reduce the microbial spoilage and should extend the life as long as they are dried thoroughly before refrigerating.
  • Fresh herbs can be stored in the fridge but bunch them together much like a bouquet and store them like you would a bunch of flowers in a clean pot of fresh water. Fresh basil is the exception to this, and is best stored in a cool dry place rather than the fridge. If you have left over herbs, look at chopping and freezing them in little parcels of cling film till they’re needed.
  • Eggs are best stored in the fridge and, if so, will often keep fresh beyond their Best Before date. Keep them at a constant temperature to avoid condensation forming on their shells.

More Festive Leftover Inspiration 

Check out more ideas and inspiration for festive leftovers below.