Thrifty Thursday | Fresh, frozen or tinned?
I find fresh fruit, vegetables and meat in the discount supermarkets but you should try outdoor markets too when you’re searching for bargains. This week I found grapes at 1.25, down from 1.99 and fresh vegetables to make a chicken stew. I also bought fresh chicken on offer for 1.99 a kilo and I had 400 grams of diced lean pork for just 1.34. The pork will make a nice stir fry later if I add rice, bean sprouts, soy sauce and 5 spice! I’ll add some finely chopped red onion to my stir fry too. I bought a basil plant that I now keep on my windowsill that adds a fresh flavour to soups and stews now.
I also bought king prawns that were frozen. The one vegetable that I like that is frozen is peas. Frozen garden peas are so versatile too. I can add them to both my stew and add a handful to my stir fry that I’ll cook later. I used a few prawns to make a gourmet salad for dinner on Sunday; that was reasonably frugal at under 2 pounds and extremely yummy! I also buy frozen oven chips because they are easy to do and not as messy as chipping potatoes to fry chips. You can also grow runner beans in the garden in summer because they freeze really well.
Tinned food isn’t as good as fresh, but is useful to keep in the food cupboard. Baked beans in tomato sauce will make a quick meal if you like beans on toast and that’s frugal. I like sardine salads and I bought some tins of sardines for just 39p. I bought mackerel too, but I didn’t like those as much as sardines. I had smoked kippers in vegetable oil and one of those on a salad with some king prawns, lettuce, beetroot and a few chips made me an interesting dinner on Sunday! I also bought a tin of new potatoes 23p. I like tinned plum tomatoes too and sometimes cook chopped bacon in the tomato sauce and that is good served with eggs or on toast.
It’s not often that I buy food in jars, maybe some pickled beetroot to go on my salad; but I did buy a plastic ‘jar’ containing a kilo of peaches and they were nice. Canned peaches are good too and an addition to your fruit and veg if you’re trying to get your 5 a day.
Lots of stuff comes in squeezy bottles now, even jam. My favourite is Branston pickle but I also buy tomato ketchup and salad cream. I’m told that mixing ketchup and salad cream gives you a prawn cocktail flavour; I must try that!
Dried in packets
There are lots of foods like herbs that come dried, pulses are great too. You can also buy rice dried and many flours, pastas and even noodles. I like the microwavable rice which can be stir fried straight from the packet. Split peas can be used straight from the packet if you’re cooking them in a pressure cooker, but otherwise you’re better soaking them overnight, first. Dried goods can be bought in bulk and stored in your food cupboard; I often see a kilo (or more) of rice at a bargain price. I tend to use potatoes as a staple food, but rice is much easier to store.
I hope I have given you some shopping and food ideas that you can use to become a thriftier shopper. I find it better to shop around for everything and stock up. I suspected I was getting damp in the engine of my car last week and WD40 oil can cure that. I jumped at the chance to buy some at a bargain price and I used it a few days later when my car wouldn’t start. The car seems fine now and so that might have saved me a garage bill.
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