FOOD

LOOKING AT FOOD THROUGH AN ECOFRUGAL EYE

This is probably the most difficult section for me to write because there is so much to write about. Where to start to write with any continuity? I’ll just take a leap and go!

The first thing I want to be sure to say is for you to buy a freezer: Save to buy one new and watch for sales, or ask for a scratch and dent freezer in a store, or buy from an estate sale, but if you have room, buy a freezer. A freezer has allowed me to save on food in so many ways. It was worth the scrimping to save to get it. As food prices continue to rise and supplies continue to be spotty, my freezer becomes even more valuable to me. I own a 832 sq. ft. home so there is no room for a freezer in my house. My little one-car garage barely has room for my pickup, but I managed to find room for the freezer out there, thank goodness.

Having that freezer allows me to shop and cook and eat healthily in a much more frugal manner. I bought and moved into my home last May, so I am planning to grow my first garden here when summer arrives, but for now while it is cold weather, I am forced to shop and buy all my food.

The nearest city large enough to have good food choices is 30 miles from my house. With the price of gas, and to avoid releasing more carbon into the air, I grocery shop once a month and do my other errands there in the same trip. Once a month shopping requires good organization and planning, but I eat quite well on $100 or less a month. After all, if our great or great-great grandmothers could shop once a month, so can I! I keep a running list of things I will need attached to the front of my refrigerator. If I notice an item is getting low, I write it on my list. If I want to try a particular recipe, I look through the list of ingredients and write down on my list any different products I need to buy.

The day before I shop, I check my pantry and freezer and then organize my list. I spend some time planning the most efficient list of all my errands I need to do while I am in that city and the grocery store(s) are last, so the perishable foods don’t get harmed. I plan on buying fresh produce to eat the first half of the month ahead and frozen produce to be eaten the last half of the month. If I need to purchase meat, I compare the price per pound and usually buy a family pack that I divide, repackage, and freeze after I get home.

I always plan on using less meat in recipes than what is called for. Meat is very expensive and our bodies don’t need all the meat we are used to eating. I try to make my meals heavier on the vegetable and fruit side. Vegetable and fruit are less expensive than meat and medically better for us. I realize that I am only cooking for one but if I was still cooking for a family, I would still cook this way. I am not vegan or vegetarian but neither am I addicted to meat. I always plan on having one meatless meal a week. Beans and eggs are less expensive and a good source of protein.

I rarely buy processed foods. Look at the ingredients in processed foods. I don’t want those chemicals in my body. I plan to live actively for another 10 years and simply prefer taking care of myself.

I usually buy store brand canned goods. They are less expensive and often produced by large, popular name brand companies. I bought quite a number of canned veggies last fall before prices went up and store them in my garage beneath where the front of my pickup parks. I also bought larger amounts of fruit when it was in season (and less expensive) and froze it for winter consumption.

For Earth’s sake, I try to use as little plastic as possible so I am in the process of slowly buying and saving glass containers and jars for holding fruits and veggies for freezing.

I will continue with more food ideas in my next post. It is really cold and snowy in Missouri. I hope you are warm wherever you are!

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