In these challenging economic times, we’re all thinking of ways to save money and make our dollars stretch even further. To that end, I’ve come up with a few ways to make better use of the foods we buy and use. Here are some ideas:
- The Bay Area is blessed with a wealth of wonderful food artisans, among them bread bakers. Why throw out a loaf that’s almost gone? I recently came across a couple of broken pieces of seeded rye in the freezer. We got the bread at Trader Joe’s and it was still usable. Since it was too broken for toast, I cut it into cubes, added some seasonings, baked it at 350º for about 10 minutes, and voila – rye croutons, perfect for soup or salad.
- Real Food, our neighborhood grocery store, carries edamame, or soybeans, which are great dipped in soy sauce. The pods get slimy after few days. But that doesn’t mean the beans are no good. I pop out the beans, and throw them into a salad or baked pasta, thereby adding a healthy and tasty bit of protein. You can’t tell a book by its cover, and you can’t tell a soybean by its pod – that’s what I always say.
- Another way to save on your food bill is to cut out the moldy part of cheese, fruits, or vegetables. Why throw the whole thing out when just a piece of it goes bad? Simply slice off the moldy part of the cheese. Chop off the bad part of the apple and throw the good part into a salad. And when bananas start to get soft, peel them and freeze them. They’re great in a smoothie, and also great as the main ingredient in banana bread or muffins.
- A few days ago I bought a 20-pound bag of oranges from a guy standing on Delores Street. They are as sweet as can be, and I’m using them to make fresh-squeezed orange juice, which I love. Once I eat the remainder of the pulp, I am tossing out the rind. But I’m sure there are cooks who would use the rind to make some sort of candy. Here’s a recipe from AllRecipes.com for Sweet Candied Orange and Lemon Peel – http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/sweet-candied-orange-and-lemon-peel/Detail.aspx. It looks so good; I may have to make it one of these days.
- Speaking of rinds, although I also toss out watermelon rind, AllRecipes features recipes for that, such as Watermelon Rind Preserves – http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Watermelon-Rind-Preserves/Detail.aspx, Watermelon Rind Candy – http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Watermelon-Rind-Candy/Detail.aspx, and Watermelon Rind Stir-Fry – http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Watermelon-Rind-Stir-Fry/Detail.aspx. The author of this recipe claims that watermelon rind contains a lot of nutrients. Who knew? If I were to save it, I’d use it for a fruit salad bowl, cut in half and hollowed out.
My point is that there are dozens of ways to use foods and food parts that you may have just thrown out had you not known about alternate uses. So explore the possibilities online. Get creative and save a bit of money in the process. It’ll be a win-win for both your appetite and wallet.