Frugal food and eating on a $25 weekly budget.

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Frugal food

This is a series of post on eating on a $25 weekly budget.  Click here for the beginning post.

It is somewhat hard to give an example of a “normal” week or month of frugal food around here. It can change on what is most available. For example, to purchase apple butter is expensive and something we haven’t ever eaten much of until this fall. Then I was able to spend a few very cold and damp hours picking apples for free in a local orchard. (Keep an eye on local orchards. If they still have a lot of apples when it is about to freeze, they may have a week of “U-pick” for cheap or even free just to keep them from being wasted.) It was the first time I have ever had a couple of bushels of apples at one time. We have now been eating a lot of homemade apple butter.  Apples would not have necessarily been a frugal food previously, but suddenly apples have become a staple of meal planning with apple butter, apple sauce, apple snacks and deserts and of course plenty of apples eaten plain.

In the summer we make our meals out of whatever is most abundant in the garden. One year we had an abundance of lettuce. We were eating salad for supper several evenings a week. Another year we had way too many tomatoes. We were eating tomatoes for breakfast, lunch, and supper. (omelets with tomatoes for breakfast, cherry tomatoes as lunch snack, tomato sandwiches for supper, etc.) Another year we had more eggplant than we could sell at the market. Neither one of us cared much for eggplant, but being unwilling to waste good healthy food, I cooked it and by the end of the year we had eaten so much of it that we had found ways we enjoyed it. (Diced up and slightly cooked for a breakfast burrito was pretty good. It was also fine diced up and thrown in spaghetti, and totally hid in a pot of sausage lintel soup.) As a child I admired women who planned out all their meals for a whole week or month and thought I might do similarly if I was ever a wife. Now reality. If Paul asked what is for supper the next day I often don’t know – whatever vegetables are left after selling at the farmer’s market.

Beyond the garden and local food sources, our meals are also planned around whatever is on sale at the grocery that week. Avocados are certainly not frugal food in general as they are usually expensive, and I do not buy them unless they are on sale. When they are on sale, I line up our favorite avocado meals (one being avocado egg salad) and try plan them for that week. I always look up the sale adds on line before going to the grocery store. That way if something like avocados are on sale, I can check my avocado recipes and then the pantry to make sure I have all the other ingredients I need to make the dish and add them to the grocery list if I don’t have them.

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