Making the most of your summer party food
On the barbecue
You can treat barbecued meat just as you would roast meat. If you’ve made more than your guests can eat, it’s great for eating in sandwiches or serving with salad for lunch next day. Cooked meat will last two days in the fridge, and you can also freeze it to use in another dish, such as a curry or stir-fry, in future. Read all our advice on freezing your way to a brilliant barbecue.
If you’ve grilled corn on the cob, wrap it in aluminium foil and store it in the fridge ready to eat cold or reheat in the microwave. You can also scrape off the kernels to use in a pasta dish or soup. Barbecued veg is great for a couple of days and can be served cold in salads or reheated.
Eating what’s in season is a great way to make the most of flavourful produce fresh from the fields, which hasn’t had to travel far to get to you (for maximum kudos , check out your nearest farm shop!).
Summer is salad season, and there’s no better way to get your five a day in the warm months. Tomato salad will last well even with dressing on, as will chunks of cucumber, slices of pepper, radishes and steamed and chilled French beans.
Lettuce leaves can go soggy if they’ve had salad dressing on them, meaning that they don’t last so well for lunch the next day. To make sure you can still use what’s left , serve salad dressing and lettuce separately, adding the dressing only to the leaves on your plate.
Avocado may not be locally grown, but it’s another popular feature of summer salads. It tends to go brown and mushy once it’s been peeled and sliced, but you can cut out waste by slicing it in half, preparing one half for your salad and sealing the other half (with the stone in and skin still on) into to a reusable bag for the fridge. It’ll keep well enough for the next day!
Baby potatoes are in season and make a wonderful potato salad, complete with the skins so that nothing goes to waste. Just add some finely sliced red onion, mayonnaise and perhaps some sweetcorn or grated carrot for a little crunch. Why not make enough to serve with lunch tomorrow? Remember to store your raw spuds in the fridge to help them last three times longer than in the cupboard.
Seasonal fruits make a wonderful summer dessert, whether heaped onto a pavlova, mixed in with a decadent Eton mess or served ‘au naturel’ in a fruit salad. Soft fruits such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are all in season over the summer, and they’re also lovely served whole with yogurt or ice cream or blended into a smoothie or milkshake.
Store soft fruits in the fridge so that they last longer, but feel free to take them out a few hours before you want to eat them if you’d rather enjoy them at room temperature.
Picnics are one of the summer’s greatest pleasures, and they’re all about the food! Picnic food is designed to be easy to transport and enjoy in the park, on the beach or even just in the garden, so it stands to reason that it will usually last well if you’ve ended up with too much.
Mini quiches, fresh sandwiches, sausage rolls, pork pies and cakes will all keep for a couple of days of quick and easy lunches, or you can freeze them in an airtight container if you’re not going to get through them all. Boiled eggs will be fine in the fridge for a couple of days with the shells left on, so you can peel and slice them and put them in sandwiches or salads when you’re ready.
Finally, if you’re in need of some inspiration for your summer party food, you need only consult our recipe bank, where you can type in the ingredient you want to use and bring up some tasty recipes to enjoy with your nearest and dearest. Bon appétit!