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How to Save Big Money in the Kitchen
The kitchen is the biggest area to blow or save money in your home- maybe even your whole life! Bad habits in this room are frittering away hundreds of - maybe even thousands of your hard-earned cash per year!
Here are some things I do in my kitchen to make sure my resources- and my money- go much further...
1. I buy most of my food on reduction. This saves me hundreds per year. I get most of it in the freezer as soon as I am back in my kitchen. The only things that stay out are the few things that cannot be frozen and anything I will eat that day and the next. A bonus tip to bear in mind is to freeze anything in large quantities into usable portion sizes. For instance, if I get a packet of chicken breasts I will separate them into individual portions in freezer bags so I can just take the amount I need out to defrost when I need it. As most of us know by now, most things cannot be frozen twice so if you freeze the whole packet of meat/ vegetable etc which you buy on special offers or reduction then whatever you don't use upon defrosting will spoil.Folks there is no point buying food at a good price just to waste it anyway! ;)
2. Many of us like to have fresh herb plants in our kitchens. I love fresh mind and chives especially. However, these have quite short lives and they often wilt and dry up long before we have had time to use all of it's seasoning. A good thing to make the herb plant last longer is to take the tinniest drop of antibacterial solution and drop this into the soil of the plant with enough water to make the whole plant bed slightly- only slightly!- moist. The main reason plants die is not because of natural causes ( shock-horror!), it is because bacteria infects the plant at its roots and this spreads upward killing everything in its wake. This is the reason that plants often feel slimy around the roots and is a sure-fire sign that your plant is infected. Since I started using a little anti-bacterial solution in my plants every few days they have lived literally weeks longer. No waste and no hurry to eat my lovely fresh leafy herbs!
3. Everyday kitchen life sees the use of large quantities of kitchen foil, shrink-wrap, freezer bags, sandwich bags, baking paper etc. Most times at least one of these will show up on the shopping list and we continuously have to replenish these. Not so in my kitchen! I reuse not only all of the previously mentioned things but I also save things that could be used in their place. Only earlier today I finished a bag of fries from the freezer and instead of popping that empty bag in the trash I gave it a quick rinse and stuck it in my kitchen drawer next to the freezer bags! Frozen packaging is especially designed to be the optimal packaging for frozen foods so it makes perfect sense to reuse these bags! If we always reused frozen foods packaging it wouldn't be long before we never had to buy another pack of freezer bags. *Lifetime Saving Alert!*
So simply instead of throwing away shrink-wrap, kitchen foil etc, in future, just (wipe if necessary) fold it into a neat package and stick it in that kitchen drawer!
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4. Magical regrowing food!!! So most of us don't know that there are some vegetables that keep growing after we have bought them if we put them in water, near sunlight.
Lettuce for instance re-grows if your put the bottom of the heart of it in water. Replace the water every one or two days and it will soon have new leaves springing up! Wow! Also FREE! :)
Salad onions/ Spring onions are the same. Just take the onion roots and put them in a glass of water with just enough to cover the roots. One again, change the water regularly and there you will have some new salad onions!
This can also be done with fennel, garlic that has sprouted and leeks.
Now enjoy growing your free food! ;)
5. Find a use for all food leftovers! You have heard it a million times I am sure. "Don't waste food", "always re-purpose leftovers", blah blah blah- but it's true! Using up everything you have spent your hard-earned money on and keeping yourself from having to spend out again to replace what you have thrown away WILL SAVE YOU MONEY. There's the obvious ideas like making soup, stews and casseroles out of your leftovers. Bag them up (with a reused freezer bag), freeze them and take them out next time you want to bulk out a casserole. That approach alone will save you a couple of hundred a year in veg etc to finish off that recipe for tomorrow's dinner.
BUT there is the super-creative ways to use leftovers that really get me going! Can you tell I love to save my money?? ha! I was especially pleased with myself after cooking some meat tonight when I saved myself time, effort and money by taking the meat juices that had run out onto the baking tray and pouring it into an ice-cube tray to make myself gravy stock for future recipe uses. Also this is a great way to get two jobs done at once. Meat juices contain amazing flavor AND fat so they are good for seasoning and for cooking in. This will save you money on oil as well as seasoning! One of the best things about it though is that most of the gruesome task of trying to clean the baking dish afterward is undone by removing the juices and fat ahead of time!
6. My final tip for today's money saving in the kitchen is to use every drop of everything that enters your kitchen! I just finished a jar of sundried tomatoes in olive oil and I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to using that sundried tomato flavored oil to make tomato pesto with now! Pesto is expensive, oil is expensive- and I just got my pesto oil base for free AND it's going to taste amazing after having been home to sundried tomatoes for the past few few weeks! I also like to use the fruit juices from any tinned fruit as a breakfast fruit drink and my olive juice from the jar of olives always gets saved to contribute towards one of my favorite Italian dishes. The crumbs from the bottom of my bread packet (which you can reuse a great freezer-bag) get stored in the freezer or fridge till I need breadcrumbs for crumbing something.
So there you go! Kitchen money saving tips that can save you hundreds in the kitchen- and in your household finances for years to come. If you followed these tips plus made some of your own along the way you would save thousands over the years to come!
I don't know about you, but that's incentive enough for me to get creative in my kitchen-life!
Hope you've loved my first article as much as I've loved writing it. I will be seeing you soon in tomorrow's edition where I show you how to make a curtain pole in two minutes and with only a couple $/£s!