6 Kitchen Hacks To Stop You Spending
The UK has always been renowned for its lack lustre choice of food. From pub grub to soggy-bottomed pies, for many years poor Blighty had a reputation for some of the most unappetizing food on the planet. However in the past decade, and with the help of TV chefs such as Jamie Oliver, Mary Berry and Tom Kerridge, Britons all over the country have adopted a penchant for cooking up a storm!
London is now said to have the finest restaurants in the world, and rather than munching through meat and gravy of an evening, Brits are now chowing down on homemade Thai curries, Morrocan tagines and delicious pasta sauces – all created from scratch.
The downside to this? Food spending has increased dramatically (never before did we need to source tahini paste, fresh ginger or kaffir leaves!). The average UK family is now said to spend a whopping £215 a month on food – that’s over £2,500 a year! To make things worse, we are not only spending more, but are also wasting more food too. According to a recent report, people in England and Wales alone are chucking out almost 3.2 million tonnes of grub annually (most of which is fresh fruit and veg which goes off before we’ve even had a chance to eat it.)
For the sake of the planet and also our bank balances, we urge you to take note of our top 6 kitchen hacks which will save you a bob or two, and will turn unsightly scraps into delicious and healthy meals!
6. Be Clever With Shopping
Ok, so before you read on, the most important step to save money is to be smart when shopping. Take the time to sit down at home with a pen and paper and really think about what meals you will be cooking for the week. Writing everything out by hand will make you realise just how much you are spending and will also give you a clear focus for when you get to the supermarket. You would be surprised at how many people get to the supermarket and just randomly add products into their trolley which they don’t need. Armed with your list, you will be able to tick the items off as you go along, without being tempted to add in any extras. Another tip is to shop on a full stomach – it is a well-known fact that hungry shoppers are a supermarket’s dream! Don’t be fooled with end-of-ailse treats and snacks, just make sure you only hit the stores after you have had a meal.
5. Fresh Fruit & Veg
Fresh fruit and veg are important purchases for every household, and we have to accept that at the end of the week, it is likely that some of it will be on the turn. However, that doesn’t mean to say it is acceptable to chuck out 75% of what you bought! There are plenty of recipes on the internet to help you turn softening fruit into tasty treats – for example, mushy bananas can be made into beautiful banana bread, and floury apples can be saved and used in delicious apple crumbles. If you have over ripe tomatoes, simply squash them with a fork and incorporate them into a rich pasta sauce.
4. Onions, Garlic & Shallots
The three major components for most dishes! If you love using garlic and onions in your meals, you will also know how quickly they can turn bad. You can slow down the process by purchasing a plain brown paper bag and punching some holes through it with a holepunch. Place the onions and garlic inside the bag and roll down the top so that no extra air can get inside. The little holes will allow just enough oxygen in to preserve the garlic and onions, without letting them get over-ripe. By using this method, you will have healthy onions for up to 3 months! That’s a lot of money saved and also fewer trips to the grocer!
If you have some veg which is the wrong side of its sell-by-date, rather than throwing it away, why not create a delicious homemade soup? Butternut squash, pumpkin, tomatoes and carrots work particularly well but you could literally use anything! All you need to do is to chop the veg into chunks and place in a pan along with onions or leeks, plenty of garlic and some vegetable stock. Allow for all the flavours to combine for an hour, and then blend using a food processor. Add in a little cream for some indulgence or simply serve with bread. Gorgeous!
Stale bread is a recurring offender where waste is concerned. But it need not be this way! If you have a stale baguette, why not turn it into garlic bread? Simply slice the bread (not all the way through) along the length, and massage in butter, garlic, parsley and a sprinkling of dried oregano. Then wrap in tin foil and place in a hot oven. The moisture from the butter will be absorbed by the dried bread and the heat will turn the outside crunchy and delicious!
If you have sliced bread or pitta bread, we would also urge you to keep it in the freezer where possible. Pitta bread needs toasting before eating and can literally be kept in the freezer for months. When you need it, simply pop it in the toaster straight away – it doesn’t need to defrost first and will save you precious pennies next time you head to the supermarket.
1. Salad Dressing
With most salad dressings costing at least £3 in stores, why not make your own? Simply mix together olive oil with lemon juice and salt and pepper to create your own version. Lemons are packed with vitamin C which will make this super healthy for mealtimes, and also delicious too. Check out Jamie Oliver’s “jam jar” dressings which use this technique.
By using what is already available to you, you will save much needed money!