Is it possible to cut down on what we spend without compromising on quality and provenance?
The last five years haven’t been kind to the economy and we could all do with making a few savings here and there. But does being frugal on your food shop mean you have to miss out on tasty, local, seasonal produce? Certainly not, we say!
To give you a head start we offer top frugal eating tips from West Country blogger Nick Livermore. Nick’s blog (www.frugalfeeding.com) isn’t about eating as cheaply as possible; it’s about eating good, well-sourced food as economically as possible. With that in mind, here are his top 5 tips:
#1 Seasonality is both frugal and tasty. This may seem obvious, but buying ingredients when they are in season, and therefore in greater abundance, can save you an awful lot of money. Another advantage to buying in season is that the taste of the food will be noticeably better since it won’t have been forced or shipped in from an obscure part of the world.
#2 It takes a little planning. By planning a weekly menu in advance you can avoid purchasing unnecessary items. Be wary of the allure of ridiculous supermarket offers, it is likely that you’ll end up buying food that will ultimately be wasted. There’s nothing more expensive than sheer waste.
#3 Bulk, bulk and more bulk. Help make your food go that little bit further by bulking-up stews, casseroles and other one-pot dishes with lentils and finely chopped vegetables. A stick of celery or a handful of red lentils can go a long way and may help you squeeze an extra serving or two out of each meal.
#4 Cooking in advance goes a long way. Meals needn’t be prepared one at a time – producing double portions can go a long way to saving you time and money. It’s important to remember that buying in bulk is often cheaper, so plan what you’re going to make and take advantage of seasonal ingredients. Cooking one meal and then reheating it will also require less energy and time than preparing two separate meals.
#5 There’s nothing wrong with a little familiarity. By using similar ingredients in different meals throughout the week you can save a little money and use up every last ingredient. Happily, this also avoids potential waste, since most fresh ingredients don’t enjoy sitting around waiting to be eaten. It’s also worth being conscious of which fresh foods can be frozen – bean-sprouts, for instance.