April 16, 2008

Soaring Food Costs

Yesterday's Bee described price increases for basics like eggs that are squeezing even middle-class budgets. So I share below some key ways I keep my costs low and still buy healthy food.

The first key is scratch cooking at home. It's really not that hard if you know a few basics, so I wrote an inexpensive cookbooklet called "How To Play With Your Food" that empowers readers to avoid marked-up, less-nutritious, packaged processed products.

Here are some other principles:
Buy fruits and vegetables in season, at farmers markets. Eat eggs, cheese, or rice-and-beans rather than meat. Drink tap water (if you let it stand the chlorine evaporates after a half hour or so) and don't buy soda or bottled water. Eat fruit not fruit juice. Don't eat white flour/pasta/bread/rice or sugar. Dandelion greens are one of the most nutritious greens and they're free for the taking (but make sure they haven't been sprayed).

I've also developed some techniques for keeping foods longer and recycling them:
*store cheese in a dry and cold environment
*raw eggs keep a LOT longer than hardboiled
*food stored in airtight glass keeps longer than in plastic
*mix a spoonful of active yogurt into cottage cheese and cream cheese
*aged salad can go in the soup
*stale bread makes great bread pudding
*vinegar, wine, and salt are other traditional preservatives

And of course we can always share with those who are hungry.

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