It’s hard to not think about Christmas at this time of year. There’s already so much around to remind us that the big day is coming! I’m naturally a planner and a list-maker so I don’t need much encouragement to start thinking ahead to Christmas dinners.
I’m one of five siblings and we all have families of our own. Christmas dinner has fallen to me and my sisters for the last few years and cooking for a group of up to 20 can be a bit of a challenge, so we always need a plan.
I’ve already started to think about which components of my Christmas dinner I can freeze ahead of time. Accompaniments and sauces are a good place to start. Making your own sauces might seem like quite a lot of work but they can elevate your festive feast to a new level – they taste so much better than ready-made! Most gravies and sauces freeze well so they won’t add to your work on the day. Just cool them, then put in a tightly sealed container before freezing, and then defrost in a refrigerator the day before you need them. Our online recipe collection has great ideas for sauces that you can make ahead. Try these simple recipes for cranberry sauce and veggie gravy. Both will freeze and defrost really well. If you’re lucky enough to have an elder tree nearby, pop a handful of elder berries into your cranberry sauce too for a lovely seasonal twist on a classic.
Another tip for those of you who like to make ahead is to use the delicious seasonal veg and freeze it for family meals over the holidays. There are lots of tasty squash and root vegetables in season around this time of year; mashes and purées work best with these and will be just as scrumptious once defrosted and reheated. Make your vegetable mash in the usual way: roast or boil, mash them with a little butter or vegan margarine, season, then cool and freeze in a suitable container.