There is a myth that you have to buy cheap ingredients or tasty ingredients. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Sure, good food does cost a little bit more, but only if you’re willing to pay the price. For the most part, you can replicate delicious dishes at home without breaking the bank. How, do you ask? Well, you can start by taking a look at the tips underneath. For all you frugal master chefs out there, here’s how to create meals that are as inexpensive as they are tasty. Yummy!
Grow Your Own
The reason ingredients taste a little funky these days is because of chemicals which preserve food. As the demand is so high, supermarkets lace their products with them so as make more money. The result is that food is nowhere near as fresh as it was in the past. Of course, there is a way around this, and it is to grow your fruit and vegetables. That way, everything that touches your palate is fresh and delicious and doesn’t have any untoward chemicals lurking in the background. What’s better is that growing food doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, it’s pretty cost effective as seeds are cheap and the weather does most of the hard work. If you want to take it one step further, you can even rear animals so that the meat is also free range.
Buy In Season
Although supermarkets make money from out of season products, it does cost them a lot to source them in the first place. As a result, they have to charge more to make up for any potential losses. That means out of season produce is automatically costlier, which adds to the weekly shopping bill. The trick is to focus on food which is in season so as to lower the overall price. All you have to do is spruce up your knowledge and you can avoid the bad deals and exploit the good ones. For instance, strawberries are a summer food. Now, they are at their cheapest as British suppliers flood the market to compete with their foreign rivals. The competition isn’t as strong in the autumn and winter months, however, so the prices are higher.
Store It Properly
It is worth noting that supermarkets aren’t always at fault. Some do sell great ingredients, yet it can still go south if you don’t look after it with care and attention. Unless it is in a tin, you need to come up with cheap food preparation ideas or else it is going to lose its pop. The good news is that you have an appliance which is ready to help: a fridge. By turning the fridge to the correct temperature, the cool air should stop your produce from going bad. If you cover it, the process should take a lot longer than usual. In the end, you will have to use the ingredients sooner rather than later. However, there is nothing wrong with keeping it fresh for a later date.
Use Tinned Back Ups
Thanks to Jamie Oliver, there is an idea that everything has to be fresh. Well, that isn’t true because tinned food is just as tasty and healthy. Not to mention, it’s even cheaper. Vegetables are an excellent example. You can go to the greengrocer and ask for a bunch of carrots and peas, or you can buy them in a tin. As long as you mix them with other products, there is no reason for the cost to have a bearing on the taste. You can also do the same with frozen food as freezing it halts the ageing process. As such, frozen produce can be the freshest possible ingredients if it is frozen at the right time in its lifecycle.
Hit The Markets Late At Night
Okay, late at night is a bit of an exaggeration as most stalls shut before 6 o’clock. But, the moral of the story is to go as late as possible before they close for the night. In fact, a Friday or Saturday evening is the best possible time. The reason for this is because of the wait from the weekend to the weekday. Simply put, they won’t get to open the tills again until Monday or Tuesday, which means they want to exploit customer sales. Because of this, they will lower the prices if you’re willing to buy in bulk. All you have to do is haggle, buy as much as you can carry, and freeze the rest for later.
Use Herbs And Spices
Most ingredients don’t just come together alone. They need a helping hand, which is where herbs and spices come into play. Quite simply, you use them to season the dish and transform it into something special. And, you don’t have to buy anything expensive and exotic because the basics are usually enough. Salt and pepper are the two main examples, but paprika and coriander are also very popular. Buying them in readymade packets should only cost a pound or two, and they last for a very long time. The more you add to your collection, the tastier and cheaper your meals will be when you put spoon them onto your plate.
Hit The Charity Shops
How does going to a charity shop help on your quest to create cheap and delicious food? The answer is with cookbooks, second-hand ones to be precise. Before you can make anything, you need a recipe to follow. Otherwise, there is a good chance the dish won’t turn out as you imagine in your head. Plus, you’re not a professional chef, so you can’t rely on your natural flair. The only thing with cookery books is that they are expensive. In Oxfam, though, there are used ones which are obviously not as costly. Sure, the recipes aren’t as modern, but you can always use your initiative to give them a makeover.
Anyway, the oldest ones are the best ones!