Ducks 'n a Row: Grocery Saving Tips for Your Family

27 April 2012

Grocery Saving Tips for Your Family

This is Part 2 of a enlightening three-part series by Mary Hudak-Collins of "Living With Food Allergies and Celiac Disease".   Did you miss Part 1?  Here it is:  "Money Saving Tips-Special Diets Don't Have To Break The Bank" 
In my last post I discussed buying in bulk and this carries over to today's topic: making your own foods as often as possible.  
Foods such as cookies, cakes, sauces, pizza shells, pizza with pizza toppings, meatloaf, lasagna, cabbage, corn, green beans, onions, pumpkin, squash, broccoli, etc. can be frozen for future use.  Again, I can't emphasize enough how buying in bulk will save $$ down the road.  

Visit your local farmer's markets for fresh food items.  Don't hesitate to bargain shop, even at a farmer's market. The local flea market's in my area now offer fresh vegetables and fruits at great prices. Be sure to check yours.

As Seen on TV
 6.  Grow a Garden.  You don't have to have a huge piece of land to grow foods.  Last year, I grew tomatoes and strawberries using the Topsy Turvy (which I found on sale in a Dollar Store).  Of course, there is costs with buying the plants and soil but the cost is nominal compared to what you spend buying these already packaged in a store.  It does take time though, as they need watered and tended to on a daily basis.  If you do have a small piece of land available, plant zucchini, summer squash, pumpkin, broccoli, cabbage, beans, and depending on your space, corn.  These are all food items that can be easily stored.

 7.  What are the herbs you frequently use?  Why not grow them?  It takes very little space, and again, requires daily attention.  There is nothing that compares to using fresh herbs (but use less than called for) in a recipe but, it's very easy to dry and store, or even freeze your herbs for later use.  We love chives.  It's funny how that when  I brought them in for the winter, they are still growing in my kitchen!  Mind you, they don't grow as fast, but they are still flavorful.
 8.  Buying meats is another expensive adventure.  Most stores have one day during the week that they clear out meat products that are about to expire.  First, you need to make sure that the store you are shopping in has meats that are free from additives and preservatives.  Next, ask your grocer what days they mark down their meats. There is nothing wrong with these meats other than their expiration date is getting close and there are great savings to be had by shopping like this.  Once you make a purchase, you will need to either cook or freeze the meats before the expiration date on the package.  This is when I make up meatloaf and meatballs and freeze in meal portions.  I try to look for 'family size' packages of chicken and pork chops so that I can break them down and freeze in portions.
Flour blend

9.  Make your own flour blends.  I find this to be a great $$ saver.  The Internet is flooded with recipes for flour blends.  Once you begin to get comfortable with different gluten free flours and their taste, you will begin to choose which blend is best for your cooking/baking needs.  Most sites recommend that you store your blend in an airtight container in the refrigerator, or in a cool, dark storage area.

Okay, you have either purchased your food items, or you have grown a garden.  
Now, what do you do with them?

a)  One choice is to can your food.  This is a great way to store food and save money.  It does take your time, but you don't have to have a huge kitchen to can, and a lot of foods can be done in a hot water bath which eliminates purchasing a pressure cooker.  I keep things simple.  Anything that can be done in a hot water bath gets canned.  Anything else, gets frozen.  But that's just me:)

b)  Another alternative is dehydrating your foods.  My sister purchased a dinky little dehydrator for me this past summer for $10.00.  It was a great deal!  I have already used it for making jerky.  We also made dehydrated bananas, put them in individual pint freezer bags and froze them.  They make a great snack to just 'grab and go' when you need them.
This is not an area that I have much experience at just yet, but am looking forward to working with it much more this summer.  It's my understanding, that just about anything can be dried and stored.  Again, there are several good books on the market giving you step-by-step instructions.

11.  Make your own condiments.  Salad dressings, Honey-Mustard Sauce, BBQ Sauce, Tarter Sauce, etc.  It is not at all hard, and you probably already have the ingredients in your cabinet.  I hope to get my recipes posted on my recipe page this week, but the internet is a great resource if you need help.  Be sure to check a previous post on making your own GF Vanilla and Almond Extract.

Be sure to stop back here for Part 3 this Monday!

Want to start making your own foods at home? 
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