The kitchen is very appropriately deemed as the most sacred part of any home – all the members of a family invariably depend on it as a crucial means of survival.
But did you know that by rectifying the methods we use in the kitchen we can cut down on a lot of unnecessary expenditure?
Additionally, judiciously reusing waste items from the kitchen that we tend to throw away makes a huge impact on not just the environment, but also the economy.
Those who live by themselves, or are simply not very fond of cooking, more often than not rely on takeaway food and spend large amounts of money every month.
But here’s what most of us fail to realize – money saved is money earned. Cutting down on expensive junk food items on a regular basis might help us accumulate just enough to buy an expensive article that we always wanted to, apart from encouraging a healthier food habit.
In essence, we can efficiently manage our food items, kitchen waste, and plan meals to help save a little bit of extra money that can take us a long way.
There are many ways to do the same, with a few tried and tested hacks given below.
1. Stock up on essential pantry goods
Having these cheap staples in your kitchen helps you in the long run because it makes it really easy for you to create a variety of inexpensive meals at a moment’s notice.
Apart from the essentials such as Flour, Eggs, Milk, Butter, Oil, Sugar, Oats, you can try to include: Beans, Dried herbs, Vinegar, Ketchup/Mayo/Mustard, Tortillas, Cheese, Frozen Veggies and Ground Meat.
2. Buy season-specific produce
Keeping in mind the concept of demand and supply, buying fruits that are specific to a particular season is beneficial in many ways. These fruits are of richer flavor as they don’t go through the process of being packaged and transported over long distances.
It is cost-efficient as the produce in that particular season is more abundant. Consuming seasonal fruits helps reduce the carbon footprint, too, as there is no requirement of transportation. It additionally imparts a sense of reliance, knowing exactly where your produce is coming from.
3. Freeze for later
There are several food items that you can throw in the deep freeze and use as and when required to whip a meal up.
Dried breadcrumbs, pizza/cookie dough, buttermilk, cooked pasta, wine, broth/soups/gravy, nuts, fruits, and veggies are but a few items that you can store in the fridge to increase their shelf lives.
4. Reusing (don’t throw it out!)
A lot of items in our house get thrown out because they seem to be unfit for consumption. Surprisingly, there are plenty of ways we can avoid an unnecessary trip to the grocery store and use these items to our benefit! If your jar of honey looks like it’s crystallized, simply place it in a bowl of warmed water and stir at regular intervals.
Incorporate overripe bananas into your cake batter for a loaf of delicious and satisfying banana bread.Throw in the heads, stems, and leaves of vegetables along with bones of chicken or fish into some boiling water to make your very own stock. Prepare your own fertilizer for your garden by combining eggshells and coffee grounds!
5. Prepare meals for the week and refrigerate
Most people resort to ordering restaurant takeaway for various reasons – not being free enough to cook meals, because of the effort preparing meals actually takes. But planning ahead for the weak may actually encourage you to cut down on the junk you consume regularly and also help save money.
On a Sunday, when your schedule is not too tightly packed, you can whip up some of these delicious meals beforehand. Sort them into different containers for different days of the week and once you fall into a routine, you’ll be amazed at how easy and simple it really is!
6. Try to recreate restaurant-style meals to avoid spending on takeaway
While everyone deserves a treat or two – time and again, the money we get carried away spending on takeaway junk food has the potential to cause a severe dent in our monthly allowances.
Making the act of cooking an enjoyable task is easy – you will be surprised at how delicious the food you can cook at home tastes, with not too much impact on the flavour!
There are various ways to do so – you can try recreating your favourite Chinese takeout meal by using rice, soy, your favourite vegetables, and meats or even whip up some fried chicken meals resembling KFC’s using panko breadcrumbs.
7. Don’t waste cooked food, store leftovers and get creative
There are many ways to turn the remnant of a cooked meal into something even more fantastic.
Use up the crusts from bread to turn it into a delicious, crunchy topping for pasta, or throw in the leftovers of stuffing into a pie.
You can slice up some meat form a previous dish, place it onto bread to create a gourmet sandwich! The best way to use up both vegetables and meats to create a new and satisfying meal is by creating a casserole.
8. Get the most out of your produce
A lot of produce gets thrown away without us realizing that there is still use left of it! For example, freeze and then microwave your citrus fruits and roll them on the countertop to successfully extract every last drop of the juice.
Rinds from such citrus fruits are a great way to add an extra burst of flavour to many dishes.
Blend those slightly odd-looking tomatoes to create an extraordinarily flavourful marinara sauce or make a tangy pickle out of the watermelon rind you were planning on throwing away.
9. Last but not least – clean up!
Mix together some baking soda and a few drops of lemon and vinegar to create your very own eco friendly sink cleaner.
To clean your sponge, either throw it into the dishwasher or put it in the microwave for around fifty to sixty seconds.
To loosen the grime on baking sheets, use baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to easily clean them.