Eat Well for Less This Winter With Our Top Tips for Saving Money in the Kitchen
How to save money in the kitchen
The Big Freeze
If you have a freezer, or freezer compartment in your fridge, when was the last time you did a stock take? Now is the time to either ‘eat your freezer’, or ditch what you don’t want or any out-of-date stuff to make space for new, appetising frozen food. The freezer aisle in the supermarket is a great place to find bargains. High tech fast-freeze technology also means that frozen food can be just as good for you as fresh too – in fact it can be better as frozen veg, fish and fruit can be fresher than the ‘fresh’ produce you pick up in the grocery aisle.
A Taste For Adventure
We have all been told to reduce the amount of red meat we eat for various reasons, including our own health and that of the planet. But if you are a committed omnivore one good way to cut costs is to halve the meat content of a recipe and bulk it out with good-for-you lentils, pulses or beans, and plenty of vegetables. Another tip is to go to the local butcher or meat counter and ask them about the cheaper, often less popular cuts of meat which can be just as delicious. Or seek out some alternative recipes and switch up your supper with liver, pork mince or other offal, all of which are tasty, and a darn sight cheaper than steak or even chicken which has gone up so much this autumn.
It’s obvious, but still some of us find it hard to switch from our favourite, well-known brands for value brands in store which are so much cheaper, and if you are cooking with them, who will even notice? Swapping shops is another obvious idea, and will save you hard-earned cash each time you visit. Buying in bulk is another option. If you have the space, discount supermarkets and wholesalers such as Costco and Makro are worth visiting, especially for basics and definitely if you are feeding lots of people. Don’t get carried away though, as any waste is a waste of money.
Generations before us learnt through hardship not to waste a single thing and we could do with taking a leaf out of their book. Leftover vegetables from the fridge drawer can go into a tasty soup or even a risotto. Excess bread and cheese can be frozen. You can pickle your own veg and make your own sauces from leftovers, which can then be frozen for when you need them. All you need is some imagination, some time and maybe a recipe book too.
A slow cooker can be a godsend, turning cheaper cuts of meat or leftovers into delicious dinners at a fraction of your usual cost. All it takes is a little advanced planning. Put everything into the slow cooker and leave on (it uses minimal power) during work and come home to the perfect one-pot supper. Why not try this chunky chilli recipe?
Fast and Furious
Get to know your microwave. Long seen as just a fast way to heat ready meals, a microwave is a lot less power-thirsty than a standard oven, and you can cook everything from scrambled eggs to cake and fresh veg to toast (butter first and microwave on high for 30 seconds each side). Yes really!
If you do use the oven, try and cook several things together to save turning it on too often, and always boil pans with their lids on as it’s much faster and more efficient.