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Frugal cooking tips

Frugal Cooking Tips

Frugal cooking doesn’t mean skimping on the quality of food you serve your family.  More cost effective cooking does not mean a loss of quality in your food.  Good and frugal cooking does require a little planning though.  
Shop for food items in season.  In season fruits and vegetables are going to cost less than out of season items.  You pay a premium for food stuff that are out of season every single time you buy them.  Stick with items that are currently in season and you’re sure to save a few dollars.  The availability of the produce will also make sellers price their products competitively.
Shop local.  Support local farmers.  You can be assured that the produce is fresh since they don’t have to travel far.  Fruits and vegetables get bruised when traveling long distances.  Or, go straight to the farm gate to buy your vegetables and fruits.  Farm gate prices are so much cheaper than market or grocery prices.  Bring a friend along so you can share your food finds.
Grow your own herbs or spices.  Using herbs and spices in your cooking can really make a difference in taste.  Fresh or dried, herbs and spices add a depth of flavor to your cooking.  You can grow your own herb garden using various techniques, including hyrdroponics.  Or, if you have the space, create room in the backyard for herb and spice growing.  Better yet, grow your own vegetables!  Now you’ll never run out of your favorite greens.
If you must buy, buy your herbs and spices whole.  Grind them up using a mortar and pestle whenever you need them.  For more flavorful herbs and spices, use them within six months or less.  After that long a period of time, the herbs and spices slowly lose their flavor.  If you’re frequently cooking for a large family or if you just use a lot of your favorite, buy the larger containers for more dollar value.  If not, buy the smaller containers as these will run out before the six month period, retaining maximum freshness and flavor.
Less meat will mean less expensive meals.  If you must have meat though, avoid the more expensive choice or premium cuts.  Tougher but no less flavorful cuts include chuck roast, flank steak and London broil.  You can cook beef stews and other beef based recipes for less than the usual.
Check out your local market.  Groceries tend to be more expensive than local markets.  You’re more likely to get fresher fruits, vegetables, fish and meats there.  Forge a relationship with a seller there and you just might get the items cheaper than the going rate.  How can you beat fresher and cheaper food items?
Check out the ethnic markets and grocers in your area.  Look around and you’ll find a lot of good deals that your grocery may not be able to offer you.  You no longer have to go to a Korean restaurant to satisfy your kimchi craving.  There are several variants available at every Korean grocery.  Love Chinese food but trying to save on take out?  Hit the Chinese grocery and look up recipes on the web.  You save money and enhance your cooking skills.
Frugal cooking allows you to cut back without sacrificing quality.  The savings you make can now be applied to other things.  Or, you can have dinner at your favorite restaurant.
And don’t forget, leftovers can make great meals, too!

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