Saturday, January 21, 2012

Frugal Food Tips

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Part of food storage on a budget is to use all the food that you have in your pantry and fridge before it expires.  Sometimes with produce that is hard to do.  "On average, Americans throw out 25% of the food they bring home, worth an astonishing $2,200 per year!!" (All You Feb. 2012 pg. 18) Think of all the long-term food storage you could purchase with $2000.  

I have a subscription to All You magazine, it's great for clipping coupons, and they had a great article called "Stop Wasting Food". After reading it I knew it would go perfect with our food storage on a budget for 2012 and I had to share their ideas with you.  I love to serve and cook with fresh produce, but if I knew how to make it last longer it would save me a ton of money.  Here are a few tips from All You to help stretch your dollar when using fresh produce.

Broccoli Stems-- Make broccoli slaw.  Shred the stems and mix with coleslaw  dressing to change up your regular salad.

Citrus Peel-- Make a habit of zesting citrus before you juice.  To save zest, cover with water in an ice cube tray and freeze.  To use, add to beverages or defrost and drain.

Mushroom Stems-- Finely chop and use to stretch ground beef.

Parsley Stems-- Toss into a juicer, or add to simmering chicken broth.  (Strain both before using)

Wilted Carrots-- Refresh soft carrots in ice water for a few hours before eating.

About-to-Expire Eggs-- If they're just at their expiration date, hard-boil for a nutritious snack.  (eggs do last a couple of weeks beyond the expiration dates)

Softening Fruit-- Freeze bananas to use in baked goods.  If you have extra apples or pears, peel, core, and cook until soft.  Mix with jam and spread on toast for a breakfast treat.

Fennel Fronds-- Use fennel fronds as you would dill--on top of salads, in soup or to flavor coleslaw.

Limp Spinach or Arugula-- Blend past-their-prime greens with walnuts or pistachios, olive oil, and garlic for a nontraditional pesto.

Extending the Life of Lettuce-- I learned this from Lisa at Honeyville Grain.  Chop your Romaine lettuce and then seal it in a jar with your food saver.  You can have fresh salad for up to 14 days.  It has to be sealed with a vacuum sealer for this to work though.  Click HERE to see more info on sealing a salad in a jar.

And my favorite new tip is for green can grow them inside on a window sill!!!  I have tried this and it works.  I may be the last person to know this but if I didn't know maybe someone else out there can use this tip too.

 Don't throw away your green onions after using the green parts.  Place the white part of the onion in water and place in a window.  I just added water when it would get low and didn't do anything else.  I don't have a green thumb so this was so exciting for me to learn.

This is a week and half of growth.  I would have grown more in the glass but I couldn't find the bag of green onions that were in my fridge.  (no one would admit to throwing it away)  I am excited to have green onions on hand all the time now. I used to dehydrate my green onions to have some on hand, but this is so much better.  Next time green onions are on sale I am buying a bunch and growing new ones all together in a glass!!

--One more tip for green onions is to use an empty water bottle, chop the green onions and store them in the water bottle in the freezer. Just use what you need and put back in the freezer.

There are so many ways to stretch your dollar and these are only a few ideas.  If you have any great ideas please leave a comment and I'll write another post about stretching the food dollar. 

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