July 7, 2008

Personal Post 20: Trimming Food Costs

Food costs keep rising. Here are some tips I've found work:

1. Brew tea (for iced tea) in the coffee maker. Instead of waiting for the water to boil in the kettle, then to steep in the teapot, I've taken to putting one decaffienated, family size tea bag in the carafe and letting a full water level run thru the Mr.Coffee. Faster tea, dense and not bitter, results -- saves time and money. (I put this with stevia into a gallon pitcher, fill with water, and sometimes add fresh lime juice. It's no wonder that iced, sweet tea is called the "wine of the south.") Keep this in the fridge - it's so much better than soda.

2. Check the dates on salmon, steak, etc. If it's close to the expiration date, then ask the butcher if he'll lower the price. Yes, they'll work with you. My friend Susan reports that her pal Catherine got a month's work of salmon (cut into individual fillets at home, and frozen) for less than $2/lb this way.

3. Learn recipes for those strange veggies and meats that don't cost much. Things like cabbage, fish, and beans are very good for you, and there's lots of recipes out there for great dishes your family will love. You have to find the recipes, and be adventurous. Remember how cheap skirt steak was before fajitas became popular?

4. Freeze things. You can't keep things indefinitely in the freezer, but with proper storage, you can keep things for several months. I buy those huge bags of almonds at Sam's for under $10, then break them apart and freeze them. Everytime I walk down the Planter's/Emerald's aisle of the grocery store, I smile.

5. Avoid prepared foods. The more that is done to your food before you buy it, the more it costs. A whole chicken costs less than one that's been cut for you; both cost less than buying a box of fast food fried chicken. You'll be getting more vitamins and nutrients this way, as well. Yes, you'll have to cook more. That's not really a down side, once you get the hang of it.

For more information:

How to Cook - 4: Beans Are Easy, Cheap, and Good

How to Cut Up a Whole Chicken

How to Fillet a Whole Fish

Cabbage Without Gas Masks

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sometimes when I see the store has lots of fish that will expire on the same day, I go back to the store (only 1 mile away) at night, say 11PM. If there are many pounds of fish that will be thrown out, I ask the manager to take even more of a discount.

Often fish is frozen, and cannot be frozen twice. So I explain to the manager that I will have to cook it tonight, or tomorrow, but I am happy to buy it and help them sell it, if they mark it down to say 25% of the original price.

Then after baking the salmon, for example, I can make salmon cakes, cold salmon salad, etc. There is plenty to share and we are keeping hundreds of dollars of fish (and the energy it took to transport it from the Pacific Northwest to Texas!) from the waste bin!

Katie