~ Never throw food out ~
Save Vegetable Peelings/Cuttings & Leftover Bits of Chicken
Chicken broth is relatively inexpensive at the store and available in tins or tetra packs. But why pay for anything that is so easy to make and for which you already have the ingredients? You do have the time if you remember your freezer. Just keep a bread bag in the freezer closed with a twist tie. Next time you are chopping or peeling vegetables (especially carrots, onions, broccoli and celery), toss all the good bits that you would ordinarily throw away, into that bag and keep them frozen. Wrap up any leftover bits of cooked chicken and freeze separately. Now, and at your leisure, you may make up a batch of chicken stock whenever you choose. Simply tip the various little bags of frozen veg and chicken into a large pot. Add black pepper, parsley and a bay leaf. Cover, bring to a boil and simmer. When ready, pour over a strainer into ceramic bowls. Use immediately or transfer, when tepid, into plastic containers for freezing. And if you are lucky enough to have a left-over chicken carcass, you can immediately add the frozen veg directly into the pan to make your broth. Don't forget to check the bottom of your crisper bins in the fridge! Often there are some veg "on the way out" that can be easily added to the broth.
Save Soft Tomatoes
Tomatoes starting to soften in the refrigerator? Bad on one side? Put them in a large metal mixing bowl, boil a kettle and pour over top. When cool enough to touch, make a slight cut -- the skins should peel off easily. Slightly chop, discarding any spoiled pieces, and place the remainder in a medium pot. Reduce to mush over medium to low heat. Ladle into sterilized mason jars (just boil jars and lids rapidly for a couple of minutes in a large pot of water), add a small squirt of lemon and sprinkle of rock salt on top and seal jars. Freeze when they reach room temperature. Now you have some wonderful crushed tomatoes for your next spaghetti, lasagna or other pasta dish!
If you are in a hurry, simply wash the whole tomatoes in cool water, dry and freeze in a bread bag. You can then add the frozen tomatoes directly to any pasta sauce or soup you are making at a later date - just takes a little longer to break them down.
Save Bits & Pieces of Cheese / Odds & Ends of Bread
Cheese is so incredibly expensive ... at least in Meadow Sweet Grove. The fairies in Britain often come to visit their little cousins in the Grove and are shocked at the price of cheese! So, every time you slice cheese for snacking, or grate cheese for a meal, make sure you save the little leftover bits, wrapped up tight in the refrigerator. Start a bread bag in the fridge for left-over bread - that last slice no one seems to eat, the broken crust, etc. Also, don't throw out that last bit of sour cream, cottage cheese or unflavoured yogurt - unless it truly is off of course!
Banana Bread of course! A tasty snack anytime and perfect for kid's lunchboxes.
These are just a few ways to save food that you might otherwise have thrown out. Once you get used to the idea, you will discover many, many more ways to use up food that you thought had no life left in it, or was too small to save - and start saving lots on that shocking grocery bill!
Next week for you: Two recipes -
"Pull-It-All-Together Macaroni & Cheese" & Delicious Banana Bread
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2017
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 ~
The saving of leftover meals is of course thrifty in itself. The best way to save leftovers is to immediately freeze what you think you won't eat in the next few days. Almost everything can be frozen nicely although dishes containing potatoes and eggs don't freeze very well. While it's nice to have freezer containers that are purpose built in varying sizes, stacking ability, etc - you can also use old margarine or yogurt tubs and the like to save money. When money runs low - don't reach for the credit card at the grocery store - turn to your freezer to make up a supper.
Storing in the fridge
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. Many Pyrex and Fire King-type dishes were intended to be used for preparation of the meal directly in the oven, and then provided a simple method for saving leftovers by adding a lid on top before placing in the fridge. Of course even if you didn't prepare the meal in the dish, you can use it for storing leftovers! Estimate the amount you pay each year for disposable food wrap. You will quickly see how a covered dish, that you use year after year, makes good economical sense. Mother Nature will love you too when you consider the waste involved in manufacturing those wraps, transporting them and finally disposing of them. Covered dishes are yet another way to work towards self-sufficiency and move away from the dependence on, and expense of, disposable products.
And 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 left-over, you can always add them all together to make up a full portion at a later date. Freeze the left-over portion before preparing - just use what you need and freeze the rest. 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 shredding! It makes a great pull-it-all-together macaroni and cheese at a later date.
Once you get started truly saving all your left-overs, you will be pleasantly surprised how much money you save, or how few ingredients you need to buy to make up some type of 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
The merry Yule gatherings have been successful in chasing away the darkness! The fairies in the Grove have noticed the dazzling pink sunsets glittering on the snow have moved from the late afternoon to the early evening. We also find that the joyful winter celebrations around the tables have somewhat exhausted the fruits of harvest and it is time to take stock of our larders. January often marks a month for tightening our belts!