Guest Post by Megan from SaverQueen.com
Not too long ago, an
article was written in a national newspaper documenting the trend towards
so-called "cheap" convenience foods. I sighed, disappointed that shoppers naturally assume single-serving, prepackaged foods like macaroni and cheese are cheaper than
Convenience foods can, in fact, be most costly, and they are almost
always less healthful than their homemade counterparts. But perhaps what bothered most about this trend is that
shoppers are "buying-in" to the belief that being frugal means sacrificing
taste and quality.
Eating well on a frugal budget is entirely possible. A lean grocery budget does not require
reliance on freeze-dried, tasteless food. In fact, home cooking can bring a whole new world of flavors.
There are many ways to add flavor to your food without a
lot of cost, but one of my favorite techniques is to use fresh herbs. Not only do fresh herbs add flavor,
they bring out the natural flavors in other foods too. And they have many health benefits, as
After attempting to learn how to grow herbs using window-boxes
or terrariums, I have concluded, it just doesn’t work for me. Failing this, I now bite the bullet and
pay full price at the grocery store.
However, the key to making the herbs affordable, I have learned, is to make the
most of your purchase by properly prepping, storing, and preserving your
herbs. Here is how to do it:
1) Wash your herbs immediately after purchasing and dry in a
salad spinner. If you purchase herbs that are still attached at the roots, snip the roots off
and clean them as well. Then store
the roots in a sandwich bag or plastic container in the freezer–they can be
added to vegetable or chicken stock, yielding a lovely flavor.
2) Take the rest of the washed and dried herbs
and spread them out over a few sheets of paper towel. Roll the paper towel up with the herbs inside and place in a grocery bag and keep inside
your crisper. The herbs should
last for several weeks like this.
3) When your
herbs are nearing the end of their freshness, freeze or dry them. Many herbs can be frozen by placing the leaves in an ice cube tray and
filling it with water. When you are
ready to use them, simply defrost an ice cube and you have "fresh" herbs to use! To dry herbs, you can hang them in bunches. And don't throw away the stems–you can use parsley or cilantro stems when making chutneys
or sauces in the food processor.
With rising food costs, it is not necessary to sacrifice
taste or quality. Simply make the
most of what you have. Rather
than sacrifice the delightful flavor and health benefits of fresh herbs, I
recommend making your investment count by using every part of the herb
and reducing waste wherever possible. The result will be a tastier mealtime and a budget boost.
Megan (aka "Saver Queen") loves the fulfilling, frugal life. She’s shares her best recipes, tips to
save at the grocery store, and other money saving secrets at her blog, SaverQueen.com.