Money-Saving Tips on Food - From the files of Molly Weasley
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Money-Saving Tips on Food
I noticed that nobody's posted to this community for awhile, so I thought I would contribute some of my knowledge. It's is very hard to eat healthy food if you're dirt poor. Organic foods are extremely expensive. Even a variety of non-organic fruits and vegetables can get expensive along with meat. Cosco is actually a very good option when it comes to buying meat, but it's much better for families rather than if you're living by yourself. I found one solution that has helped me immensely: Japanese and Vietnemese cooking. A lot of the cooking is made up of mostly rice, which is relatively cheap. If you're avoiding white rice, brown rice is still an excellent option. You can buy it in bulk for low prices at a health food store or at an Asian Market (the better option). You can also check out a variety of cookbooks at the public library.
I also find that planting some vegetables and spices is also helpful. I live in an apartment, so it's potted plants for me! I'm looking at some library books to learn more about gardening.
Fish is very healthy, but also expensive. To save money, my grandfather took up fishing. No, he doesn't have a boat. He simply drives to a lake or river and fishes from the shore. Purchasing worms is not necessary. You can dig them yourself or if you don't have Ron's phobia, you can grab a nearby spider (make sure it's not a black widow or anything) or some other bug and use that as bait; I actually did this and caught a pretty big Blue Gill.
Have any others found ways of saving money on food that work for them?

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demiguise_lady From: demiguise_lady Date: May 28th, 2006 02:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have found that the freezer is my friend. I'd much prefer eating all fresh food but, as you say, prices are a deterent, moreso when shopping for one.

I wait for sales and stock up on things like fresh pasta. When I get home I divide the packages up into single servings, mark them and put them in the freezer. I tend to keep 4-5 meals on hand at all times like that.

Another trick my mother uses is to buy a family pack of chicken breasts, grilling steak or pork loin when on sale. She divides them up into single servings, adds some marinade, marks and freezes. It creates quite a few meals inexpensively for my step-father. In the morning she pulls one out, puts it in the fridge and as it defrosts the marinade flavors it. It's all ready to go into the oven or on the grill when he gets home.
bay_wolf From: bay_wolf Date: May 29th, 2006 04:01 am (UTC) (Link)
That is really good advice! It is true that the freezer is one's best friend! I forgot to mention that my Mom uses the same trick with meat.
djinnj From: djinnj Date: May 28th, 2006 04:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Keep in mind some areas require a fishing license, although they're usually not expensive. Also, some waters are restricted or contaminated, etc., so it's best to check with the county or whatever authority before going ahead and fishing. There's also clams, shellfish, etc., but those are even riskier and often in a bad way due to environmental contaminants so do some research first.

Spices, herbs, condiments, dry goods, and often produce and meats are usually cheaper at ethnic markets. It's a volume thing. Also, buy certain staples and luxuries in the largest sizes and then store them properly. Oil will go rancid, for instance, so buy the gallon jug, fill a small bottle for daily use, and put the rest in the refrigerator. Flour is basic, but it can go stale and buggy. So keep that big bag in the freezer wrapped in plastic.

Rolled oats toasted with honey and cinnamon makes a good breakfast cereal and is cheaper than commercial cereal which is all sugar. If you're not watching fat, toss in a bit of melted butter and it'll toast more thoroughly.

Learning how to cook cheap cuts of meat in a tasty fashion also helps. Chicken legs and thighs are cheaper than breasts. Whole chickens are cheaper than parts. Etc. Debone a whole chicken. Make soup right away with the carcass, wing tips, and such, or freeze them for stock later when you accumulate more bones. Then cook whatever meat you want right away and freeze the rest in cooking portions. The freezing in cooking portions is the key. It's not good to refreeze meat, so making sure it's a good amount to defrost for the next meal saves time and effort and reduces leftovers.

Tough, gristly cuts of beef are often less expensive, and become luscious with long braising or stewing and are hearty and filling, and reheat perfectly. They can also often be frozen cooked with little damage to texture.

Waste is expensive. Cook enough, not too much. Freeze what isn't going to be eaten in a timely fashion. Don't let food spoil. Optimize your refrigerator and buying habits so spoilage is minimized. A clean refrigerator is an efficient refrigerator, and reduces spoilage and contamination.

Think ahead. Canned beans are convenient and inexpensive, but dried beans are even cheaper, and are easier to cart home. Soak in the refrigerator and they'll keep for a couple days, although you'll need to cook them before they sprout.

Eat balanced meals of protein, carbs, fiber, and flavor so you feel good about your food and yourself and don't crave things you don't have too much. Cheap food does not have to be flavorless or nasty.
bay_wolf From: bay_wolf Date: May 29th, 2006 04:09 am (UTC) (Link)
The truth is that one doesn't need to be wealthy to eat healthy, just willing to do more work and planning. I should have remembered to mention that some waters are highly toxic so one needs to be careful where one goes fishing. Thank you for your input. I learned quite a bit! I never thought of using the bones to make soup, and the rolled oats with honey and cinnamon sound delicious; I'll have to try it!
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djinnj From: djinnj Date: June 7th, 2006 11:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh, it's basically just granola.

Melt the honey, butter, cinnamon, what-have-you together and then toss it into the rolled oats until it's evenly blended (less is more). Then spread it on a baking sheet and toast it at 350-400°F until it's lightly browned. If you find "old fashioned" oats too dense, try using quick oats which are processed into finer flakes. It's all to taste and such.

Nuts can be added before toasting, raisins and such can be added afterwards. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds and such can be added either before or after toasting.
clovecigarettes From: clovecigarettes Date: May 28th, 2006 06:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fresh fruits and vegetables are a -lot- cheaper here (UK) than in the US. But anyway, when I lived in Portland, we always went shopping at WinCo, where they have a bulk foods section -- you can get spices, beans, pasta, rice, dry tabooleh, cous-cous, tea (bagged, but I've seen loose tea in the bulk health section at Fred Meyer), flour, nuts, polenta mix, and all sorts of other things that are charged by the pound (and it ends up being cheaper than buying the pre-packaged stuff) so you can get as little or as much as you need.
I also used to go to the flea markets and get cheap fruits and veg from the locals.
bay_wolf From: bay_wolf Date: May 29th, 2006 04:11 am (UTC) (Link)
I'll have to start exploring flea markets!
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