There are many ways to make the Christmas kitchen process a bit easier but perhaps the most basic one (and often the most underrated) is to make enough space in your fridge and freezer to handle the extra food.
Let's begin with the freezer
It's not the most glamorous or festive jobs to do (although I guess you could don your favourite bobble hat and mittens to really embrace the cosy spirit of Christmas), but there's no denying that the secret to being able to make the most of your freezer is to have some available space in there. It's about getting organized in there. After all you're going to want to fill that space with all those delicious seasonal goodies and stashed away meals.
Make some space in the freezer. It's what every kitchen needs in the run up to Christmas.
So here's how I tackle making some space in the freezer -
- Work out what you have in there - Take everything out and group the frozen food into similar items.
- Sort out all the half tubs and bags - Be realistic about whether you will use it and chuck it if you won't. In our freezer, 'almost empty' tubs of ice cream are often the things that take up the most space. Having said that, I never struggle to find someone to dispose of them.
- Throw out anything that has got freezer burn or has been hanging around for way too long.
- Is your freezer jammed up with ice? - if so (and you have the time), it could be a good time for a defrost. Think of it as an early Christmas present to yourself.
- Make yourself a list of what you have left - It's useful to stick it on the freezer door. You can't use what you have, unless you know what you have.
- Stack everything back into the freezer - You really want to be able to find what you need in there so try to have a plan of where everything will live and stick to it. It's dull, I know, but it really does help.
- Declare an 'eat from the freezer' week - There's something very satisfying about doing this and you'll be amazed at how much space you'll create in just a few days. Dinner will come together without much effort too. It's a winner all round.
- Cross each item off as you use it - And that way your freezer list will remain up to date. And before you know it you will have the space you are looking for.
Clear some space in the fridge. You're going to need it.
And then it's the turn of the fridge to get some attention.
It's at this time of the year that the fridge will be seriously overworked, so it's time to step in. Bottom line - once the cook-eat-leftovers-cook-eat-leftovers train leaves the station, you are going to need space in there, and lots of it, so let's get to work ...
Here are a few tips to make clearing out the fridge a bit easier -
- Eat up whatever you can.
- Throw away anything that's passed its best.
- Consolidate duplicate bottles and jars to save on space.
- Remove from the fridge anything that doesn't strictly need to be there - I'm thinking sauces, jams, pickles, olives etc. And if your fridge is anything like ours, they'll be taking up loads of space. Gather them in a box or on a tray and they will be completely fine at an ambient temperature for a few days. Eggs can handle being out of the fridge too.
- Use this opportunity to give the fridge a good clean too - think of it as an early achievement of a New Year's resolution. And a fresh new look for the fridge in with the bargain.
So there you have it. How was that? Possibly strangely satisfying? Might be an opportunity for a couple of 'before and after' photos, or is that the saddest thing I have ever suggested?!