Saving in the Kitchen

When we price recipes here on our blog, I am using the most recent price paid. We try to buy all staples only on sale – and buy  enough to last until the next sale. I keep a price book on staples so I know if I’m getting a bargain. 
We shop at the store that regularly offers the best prices – they have less selection, but I don’t care as I only buy a few convenience foods. This store has an excellent meat department with butchers on hand, and will cut and wrap suitable for the freezer for free, saving me money on wrapping supplies as well. They also accept most coupons from the other stores' weekly sales and match prices without hassle. We try to use seasonal produce when it’s at the best price.
Thrifty cooking means several things to me.
  • Control expensive ingredients. Don’t use a large slab of meat or poultry; cutting it up for stew, stir-fry, finely chopping it for salad, loaves, in sauces or gravies, casseroles, etc. , stretch the expensive ingredient. Stretch expensive fruit by adding it to rice pudding, cakes, cobblers, salads, etc. 
  • Don’t focus on too much protein; keep portions small – 2 to 4 ounces of protein is actually a serving! Hungry eaters can have another slice of bread - Grandma’s solution!
  • Buy produce that is readily available in your area; exotic fruits and vegetables shipped a long distance almost always cost more and the quality usually isn't as good.  Bananas and lemons are probably the exception.
  • Don’t waste anything. Broccoli and asparagus stems can be thinly sliced and cooked and pureed for delicious soups. Many washed peelings and tough parts of vegetables can be used the same way. Keep a stock “box” in the freezer to add to these until you get enough for a soup.
  • Scraps of meat and poultry can also be added to a “stock” container.
  • Make the day before shopping day “clean out the fridge and freezer” day – find creative ways to use anything left. Soups and salads are my way to use odds and ends. Maybe you can have a “leftover buffet” every week before shopping day – consider it a break from cooking.
  • Use the “pantry principle” – buy things you regularly use only on sale, and just enough to last until the next sale. Know the prices of your staples.
  • Don’t buy large quantities of foods you can’t use up before they spoil. For me, that includes fats and oils and frozen vegetables that might get freezer burned.
  • When I purchase foods to can, I may buy the meat on sale and freeze it until I can purchase the other items, like mushrooms, on sale; then I can it up.
  • Don’t get carried away planting more garden than you can handle or eat.
  • Similarly, don’t can or preserve more than your family can eat in a year’s time or so.
  • Does it need saying – Don’t plant or can anything your family doesn’t like!
Try one new idea for saving money in the kitchen until it’s a habit, then try another idea.

1 comment:

  1. It's true that you only find coupons for junk food. Ever see a coupon for milk, eggs, or vegetables? I didn't think so!

    ReplyDelete

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