This recession just shows no sign of ending. I know technically the economy is recovering but to many of us it doesn’t feel that way. Prices only go one way, up and incomes are static at best. The growth in food banks and people depending on them is proof of this.
We’re very lucky, we manage to live on our income but that means we don’t have a lot of slack and have to make the most of things. Sometimes it’s hard to know where saving things that may have another use stops and becoming a hoarder and ending up on a TV program ends. I’m sad enough to come back from a recycling centre with more than I took there!
It always made me smile on the allotment when the rubbish skip came. On the first day people loaded the skip with their unwanted junk, old plant pots, pieces of wood and metal, you name it.
On the second day along came more plotholders who’d start tatting the skip and heading back to their plots bearing old plant pots, pieces of wood and metal and what to others was unwanted junk.
It strikes me that allotment sites could benefit from recycling point and save the bother of getting a skip. I really should remind you that stuff thrown away in a skip is not actually free for the taking, ask the owner. I’ve never been refused but it’s their rubbish.
Saving on Food
One area we really save on is food. If statistics are to be believed, then nearly a quarter of food bought from the shops ends up in the bin. Sometimes it doesn’t even get unwrapped! Maybe it’s our age, but we feel it’s positively sinful, not to mention stupid to waste food.
We had some calabrese the other day, one of my favourite vegetables. When you harvest calabrese, don’t uproot the stem but leave it in the ground, More often than not you’ll get a second flush of spears in a couple of weeks and a free portion for the plate.
It’s true that the stems below the spears are tough and often end up in the compost bin but they’re actually full of flavour and ideal for soup. Now, after Christmas, the supermarkets often find themselves with lots of goodies left over which they discount to clear before their use-by date.
So last year we loaded up with, amongst other things, a load of stilton cheese reduced to less than a quarter price and it’s sitting in the freezer. A load of double cream reduced later in the year was transformed into butter (see making your own butter) which can be frozen along with a lot of buttermilk.
So, from the stems that many would throw away, 50p worth of stilton cheese and some frozen buttermilk we’ve ended up enough soup to provide 4 meals at a cost of perhaps 75p.
Incidentally, when buying cheddar cheese it’s worth paying a little extra for a strong flavour. You can get away with using less in cooking and still enjoy the flavour.