The price of food keeps going up, up, up! Even the fairies have discovered increases at their little local markets in the Grove. With the price of food so high, it makes sense to cut waste at every opportunity. One of the best ways to do this is to save all your leftovers so you are truly eating most of the food you buy.
~ Save your leftovers ~
First - Freeze
The best way to save leftovers is to immediately freeze any portions that you think you won't be able to finish in the next few days. The saving of leftover meals is of course thrifty in itself. Almost everything can be frozen nicely and most cookbooks have a section on how long it is safe to store different types of dishes. Save more money by reusing old margarine, yogurt or cream cheese tubs. When money runs low - don't reach for the credit card at the grocery store - turn to your freezer to make up a supper.
Second - Refrigerate
Put leftovers in the fridge that you know you will use in the next little while, but don't cover with that costly and wasteful plastic wrap or tin foil. The fairies, who simply don't have those type of factories in the Grove, use covered glass and ceramic dishes instead. Many vintage Pyrex and Fire King dishes were intended to be used first for cooking a meal, and then came with a fitted lid, providing a simple method for saving leftovers in the fridge. And even if you didn't prepare the meal in the dish; you can still use these beauties for storing leftovers! Estimate the amount you pay each year for disposable food wrap. It quickly becomes apparent how a covered dish, that you reuse year after year, makes good economical sense. Covered dishes are yet another way to work towards self-sufficiency and move away from the dependence on, and expense of, disposable products.
Third - Remember; leftovers aren't just cooked meals
Ever open a tin of crushed tomatoes or vegetables and only need half for your recipe? Freeze the rest immediately in a small tub. Freeze it, no matter how small the portion because you can always add separate portions together to make up a full portion at a later date. Likewise wrap up bits of cooked chicken, turkey, ham etc. to later use for soups and broths. And make sure to wrap up any leftover (and very expensive) cheese when cutting or grating! It makes a great pull-it-all-together macaroni and cheese at a later date. Save old bread bags and cut them up to use for wrappers and secure with a bit of masking tape.
Once you get started truly saving all your left-overs, you will be pleasantly surprised how much money you save, and how few ingredients you really need to buy in order to put together some sort of a meal when money is tight ... not to mention saved preparation time on those nights when you just don't feel like cooking at all!
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2017 / edited 2020
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