Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Money Saving Food Prep tips

September is harvest season! Hopefully you have been enjoying produce from your garden, or you are taking advantage of someone else's hard work and you are getting some great savings this time of year. Yesterday at a farmers market I bought a Zucchini for 50¢! I know, know, you are thinking "why on Earth would you pay for a Zucchini?!" Well, my Zucchini plant did not make it this season, and neither my neighbors nor my family planted any this year. I really want to make Zucchini bread with the amazing recipe I just got, so I broke down and bought one for 50¢.

With all the produce this time of year, I thought it would be a great time to post some great tips for storing fresh produce:

Let's start with the obvious...Frozen fruit.
I like to freeze fresh fruit for use in smoothies later. It helps to freeze the fruit individually on waxed paper on a cookie sheet prior to bagging. This makes it easier to take out what you need later. I did that with the Strawberries above, but not the Peaches or Raspberries. I should have done that on the Raspberries, they fall apart when you try to separate them off the frozen chuck.

Next we have Basil. I planted a few Basil plants this year. Now I have a plethora of Basil. When Basil is frozen it turns black, and although it is still usable and delicious, it's not too pretty. I have been using the "individual freeze" method with my Basil. After picking a ton of Basil, I put it all in my food processor. I add a little Olive Oil (this helps is not turn black when it's frozen) and chop/puree the Basil leaves. Use a Tablespoon measurer to scoop 1 Tbl (or whatever size you would like) onto waxed paper to freeze.

Freeze 1Tbl spoon Basil on the waxed paper ~ After freezing, place in bag and put in freezer
These quick measurements of fresh Basil will be great for soups, or any recipe asking for Basil.

Yogurt Smoothies
My kids love the idea of yogurt, but every time I buy it, it goes uneaten. But when I buy "Yogurt Smoothies" they down them as soon as I get home. I have decided to make my own yogurt smoothies with yogurt that I buy on clearance, with coupons so it's really cheap. After I find a killer deal on yogurt smoothies and my kids have finished them, I wash the bottles, and keep them in the pantry.

When I get yogurt on sale, or I have some that will not get eaten, I put the yogurt in my blender, add milk till it's a drinkable consistancey and then pour it into the recyaled smoothie bottles. My kids think it's great and drink it up! These Fusion bottle work wonderful because they have lids. If you use the "Dannon" type containers they don't have a lid and the smoothie gets thick again in the fridge.

Frozen Chicken Broth
Finally, what do you do with the "chicken juice" that is left in the crock pot after you cook chicken in it? I pour the Chicken Broth into small containers, and freeze them. Once they are frozen solid, run hot water over the container to release it, take them out in "puck" form and store them in a freezer bag. They are then ready to be used for broth later, or to flavor rice. Old ice cube trays would work WONDERFUL for this! I do not have any, so I make due. ;)

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  1. I've been doing the smoothie idea for about 6 years now. But I use it for my toddlers. All my kids refuse to eat from about 9 months through age 4, I worry about them getting adequate protein, so I started making them 'shake' for breakfast...half yogurt, half milk, shake in a sippy cup. Sometimes my 6 year old still asks for this when his sisters get it!

  2. Nice! It's amazing what a different venue can do to a kids appetite. I bought some cheap plastic gobbets and made my kids fruit smoothies in them. They called them "Goblets of Fire" after the Harry Potter movie. They LOVED them. I swear I could have served them green beans in them and they would have eaten them....ok, maybe not. :)


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