The cost of living crisis is affecting shopping carts across the country.
Millions of households skip meals or struggle to put healthy foods on the table. Which ? research suggests.
Of the 9% who said they had “very difficult” coping, half (50%) said their household skipped meals, and almost half of all consumers (46%) said they had more difficult to eat healthily compared to before the crisis.
If you wanted to save a little money on your weekly shopping spree, it might be worth looking at all the food you throw away. Although they may not be the most glamorous ingredients, they can be cooked into delicious dishes, drinks and snacks…
Chef Mary-Ellen McTague of Eat Well MCR (eatwellmcr.org) recommends saving unwanted fruit skins.
“Boil them with sugar to make fruit jelly or cordial,” she says, suggesting adding gelatin to make jelly.
“Wash or scrub vegetables before peeling them, so you can use the skins. Roast the rinds and add them to meat broths, or make vegetable broth,” says McTague.
Otherwise, she says, “Fry or roast until crispy and eat as a snack. Or don’t peel the vegetables and cook them – the vegetables taste much better with the skin on.”
Avoid buying a cheaper cut of meat because it contains too much fat or throw away the fat from the meat you buy? There are simple ways to use it.
“Roast it, and [then] simmer with caramelized onions and leftover roasted vegetables [and water] for a few hours to make a broth,” suggests McTague. You can use it as a base for soups, or the chef recommends reducing the broth, adding packet noodles and greens (fresh or frozen) to make a hearty meal.
You could even make a meat treat from any unused fat. “Fry or roast in a very hot oven to make crackers. Salt and eat as a snack,” says McTague.
Purchasing filleted fish tends to cost more. Not only could you save money by buying it whole, but you can also make delicious sauces from any piece.
“Fish [heads and offcuts] make a really great broth,” says McTague. Cook with white wine and water for 20 minutes over low heat, then strain. Reduce until concentrated then add cream and a little lemon juice for a truly luxurious fish sauce, delicious with any poached fish.”
Similarly, McTague says, “I always keep the bones and make broth – [it’s] really handy to have in the fridge for a quick soup.”
Simply cook the broth with canned or dried beans and legumes and a handful of veggies – making this “a really quick, easy and healthy lunch”.
Cores and seeds
Discard the seeds and pits of the fruits and vegetables you buy? No need – they could become a tasty snack.
“Pumpkin and squash seeds are deliciously roasted, and apple pits can be boiled into syrup or cordial, like fruit skins,” says McTague.
Instead of spending money on a prepackaged salad, you can make a delicious side dish from vegetables you already have.
“Beet greens are really nice as a vegetable – treat them like spinach or chard and lightly steam them or wilt them in butter,” advises McTague. “Use finely grated spring onion tops as an herb garnish. Carrot tops are delicious dressed in a mustard vinaigrette and served with the carrots.”