Money-saving? Buy the Basics


The best grocery money-saving advice I've seenfrom a chef"buy a basic, affordable ingredient and think of all the ways you can use it."
Our parents and grandparents knew this.They used what they grew in their gardens or orchards and what they could raise, fish or hunt for first.
We need to apply this advice the same wayif we dont raise our own food, we need to buy the basics and learn to cook them in at least several ways that our family likes.This is a good project to start in the new year.
When I say basic,I mean three or less cuts of each kind of poultry, seafood or kind of meatbasic canned and frozen vegetables (without sauce, etc.), basic shapes of pasta, unseasoned rice or other grains like barley, the least expensive, in-season fresh fruits and vegetables.I do keep a choice of dry and canned beans, peas and lentils to help add fiber, vitamins and inexpensive variety to our meals.
Buy what is inexpensive and abundant in your areapork in Iowa, salmon in Alaska, pecans in Texas for example.Fresh tomatoes in August, not December.Expensive, imported and out-of-season foods are not basic! Locally sourced in-season food will be of the best quality next to your own garden, orchard or farm.
Basic herbs and spices helpI eliminate recipes that dont call for what I usually keep on hand because I dont want expensive spices going to waste.How many of us have had dry, dusty spices to throw away!
Learning to bakeyour own bread, biscuits and muffins, pancakes, breadsticks, buns and rolls, pie crust, cookies, etc. will help tremendously.When you see photos of bread shelves empty before a weather crisis, you could probably still find plenty of flour, baking powder and yeast on the shelves.
If you look at older cookbooks, most of these baked goods used whatever was on hand for any additions.One lady who contributed her mothers recipes toTaste of Homesaid her mother raised 8 or 9 children on one plain sugar cookie recipe, one plainbread recipe, etc.That always stuck in my mind, as my husband, sister-in-law and Myrna and I can tell you our mothers all probably used the same bread recipe, as they all made 5 loaves of white bread each time.The recipe was probably on the bread sack or was from flour or yeast advertising.TheFleishmans master bread dough recipeis the one that my husbands first reaction to wasThis is Moms!
When you practice reducing the variety of groceries you buy, you can have better control of your food inventory.You dont have as many choices and can keep a good stock of what you do buy or produce yourself.If you have partial cans or packages, you know you can make another recipe from those use-it-up ingredients that is different from the first run.
By buying basics, I dont have little packets or packages of things attracting pests or getting lost.I can keep a big canister of macaroni or rice instead of little pre-seasoned packages, for example.I have less stuff in my storage, and I can make anything I want with the addition of a little seasoning of my own. I also reduce the amount of trash when I buy in bulk.
Do I need to mention you need to store those basics so you dont get pests in them and they are not exposed to light.Thats what cabinets and closets are for.Keep them rotatedI dont buy more than we can use in a year so I dont find old stuff that hasnt been stored properly languishing in the back of my storage area.
Look for the best prices on your basicswe remember our Mom and Dad searching the grocery ads for the best price on sugar during fruit canning season, and the best prices on flour that they purchased in the fall for winter and holiday baking. We try to buy enough to last until the next good sale. December is a good time to stock up on baking necessities.If you buy less variety of basics, you can keep a list of good prices so you can stock up at the lowest price.
Look for basic cookbooksolder cookbooks have simpler recipes with more ingredients you can find easily. When I say older, Im talking about cookbooks from the 1940s or 50s that werent yet focused on gourmet and imported ingredients. Although we dont belong to their religious group, we like cookbooks from Mennonite sources like the More-with-less Cookbook and Practical Produce and The Basics and More. We also use The Farm Journal Country Cookbook . All of these books show recipes with creative ways to use basic ingredients and produce and how to use leftovers and preserve your abundance.
Did you find this post useful? Save THIS PIN to your board and check it later at any time!

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a Comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published