It really is the most wonderful time of the year; with the Christmas tree up, the fridge stocked full of festive treats and children’s nativity plays taking place up and down the country. Next stop – the all-important Christmas dinner shop!
Turkey, check; veg, check. But with countless relatives expecting a slap up meal how can you keep a hold of the reigns and stop the costs spiralling?
Here, savvy shopper pro and founder of unique discount online grocer Approved Food, Dan Cluderay, gives us his top tips on how to put on an enviable spread whilst keeping within budget.
“First things first,” said Dan, “check what’s already in your cupboard.
“If you are anything like me you probably always have a whole load of unopened jars lurking somewhere that you picked up when they were on offer – cranberry sauce, seasoning, even packaged stuffing. If you’ve already got it, use it, and don’t worry one bit if they are past their best-before-date. They are still perfectly safe to eat.
“I even glazed a ham with 10-year-old honey that was at the back of the cupboard. So if you find yourself finally getting around to enjoying that gift that Aunty Vanda gave you three years ago, don’t worry, that will be fine too!
“Fresh food with a use-by-date is obviously a bit different. Make sure you look for the best possible date when you brave the aisles so that if not everything gets used you can maybe do something with it a day or so later. That said, remember that when you have cooked something, put it in the fridge two hours after cooking to be cooled and only reheat once.”
Top Tips For A Savvy Christmas:
BEST-BEFORE-DATE TIPS: Dig out dried or tinned ingredients from the back of the cupboard – Stuffing, seasoning, cranberry or apple sauce, mustard and gravy granules are all firm favourites at this time of year and can all be safely used past their best-before-date.
LEFTOVER TIPS: Store in the fridge in sealed containers fridge (0-4 Celsius at all times) and keep tabs on when things will go off – this will save you from wasting food and spending money on items you already have.
Pop your leftover potatoes and vegetables in a sealed container in the fridge, this way they can last for up to five days and make the perfect leftover post-Christmas bubble and squeak!
Dan said: “Remember, best-before-dates are just a guide to optimum quality, the food itself isn’t aware of the date it’s been given! Use-by dates are the ones to really pay attention to, as they tell you whether it is safe or not to eat.”
Approved Food is an online discount grocer which sells surplus stock, from household essentials to food and drink, some of which is nearing or past its best-before-date – offering 70% off the usual retail price to customers.