I’m always on the look out for ways to save money and cut day-to-day living costs. Until now, the only thrifty cooking advice I’ve been able to give you is to make your own meals from scratch (rather than buying pricey takeaways or ready-meals) and to buy food when it’s in season. But today is different. Today I’d like to share another method of cutting costs in the kitcken and it’s as simple as this; reducing waste = less money in the bin. How do we reduce waste? By buying frozen food of course!After so many years of being told to ‘eat fresh’ and to ‘buy seasonal’ (and now it’s all about ‘raw food’ and ‘clean eating’) it may see like a rather outdated idea to buy frozen food at all. But I’m not harking back to the era when my mum first got a freezer and piled it high with cheap pizzas, ice cream and steak ‘n’ kidney pies. We’re not going back to the days when mum would freeze loaves of bread in order to keep the double-height freezer full and working more efficiently. No, this blog post is about using frozen food in order to reduce waste and therefore save you money. But how does that work? Let me tell you…
It’s always fresh
The trouble with buying fresh veg is that it’s perishable. It’s likely that the huge bag of carrots you just bought will go off before you get a chance to use them. And when you throw them into the compost bin, you might as well be throwing your money in with them. It’s the same with fish, meat, potatoes, even fresh pasta. It all has a use-by date and a limited shelf life – or should that be fridge-life? Unless you’re a whizz at planning your meals every week, or go to the shop daily to buy what you need, or never change your plans just and nip out for dinner on a whim, you’ll probably end up with some surplus supplies in your fridge that have to be thrown away. With frozen vegetables, fish and meat, they are always fresh. In fact, frozen veg is more likely to be fresher than the vegetables you find in the fresh section of the supermarket because it’s prepared and frozen almost as soon as it’s harvested.
With frozen food, you can just take out the portion you need and return the rest of the pack to the freezer. With fresh food, it’s likely that you’ve bought a whole tray of chicken, a whole pack of fish and a whole bag of vegetables, yet it’s unlikely that you’ll use it all up in one meal. So you’ll be storing the rest in the fridge until the next meal – and hope that it’s still fresh and edible by the time you get round to it – or it’ll end up in the bin. The only other way to keep your fresh food edible for another day is by freezing it! With already frozen food, you don’t have to do any of the work (preparing, bagging up, labelling etc) so it’s not only saving you money but time too. You can just take out the two chicken grills and portion of veg that you need for tonights meal – no waste – plus it’s already sliced, diced and ready to cook so takes no time at all.
You’ve always got something ‘in’
There’s nothing worse than looking in the fridge after a long day at work and finding nothing to eat. You don’t want to have to go out again to buy something for dinner – you’re already hungry and tired – so you resort to toast. I get really sad if I don’t have any food available when I need it. Frozen food to the rescue! It’s reassuring to know that I always always have something in my freezer to eat. PLUS when unexpected guests stay for dinner, I’ve already got enough portions for them too, phew. Nothing makes you feel more unwelcome than your host having to nip out to the shop for some more food to accomodate you. Plus, it’s so quick to throw a meal together that I can spend more time with my guests too!
It’s really healthy
Having a pack of vegetables in the freezer means that you can always add a portion of the healthy green stuff to any meal. Throw peas into a shepherds pie, add sweetcorn to a pasta dish and a side of broccoli, carrots or fine green beans to your sunday roast. I’ve got lean chicken breasts, fresh omega-packed fish, Steamfresh rice and even soya beans in my freezer. No longer will I have to turn to a packet of biscuits because I’ve not got anything else ‘in’ – I’ve always got a healthy option for dinner. And I’m not just limited to ready meals just because I’m eating food from the freezer; I can use my frozen food to make hearty soups, healthy pasta dishes and even chicken salads. Yum!What do you think about frozen food? Do you already have a freezer full of healthy meals at home or are you struggling to keep on top of a fridge full of fresh? Are you already a huge fan of Birds Eye and have tried all their healthy frozen dishes? I hope my suggestions and ideas for reducing waste in the kitchen will help you save some money in the future. Fingers crossed I might have given you some news ideas for family meals or using your frezer compartment for something other than ice cubes! Let me know what you think and please share your own ideas for freezer-based healthy meals by leaving me a comment below or tweeting me @Cassiefairy.
This handy money-saving blog post has been sponsored by Birds Eye but, as always, all these thrifty ideas and opinions expressed are completely my own!