The Weston A. Price Way

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Making it Last...Fast & Easy Food Stretches

Really quick, I want to share a few of my 'tricks' for making good food last and stretch. Some of these ideas are really helpful in making the more expensive, but best for us foods go further and benefit us repeatedly. Here ya go:

Use an ice-cube tray to save eggs. I know, unless you have your own hens, this is rarely a problem, but just in case you're among those who do occasionally fall into this category:
Break eggs into clean trays. Freeze. Remove eggs from trays and transfer into freezer bags or containers. If you know how many you normally use in a recipe, (maybe six for scrambled eggs), put that amount in the container. Be sure to remove from freezer to fridge for thawing. At today's prices for organic, grass-fed eggs, there's no need or good reason, to let them go to waste.
Never throw away leftovers from roasts. And when you've had it a second time, save those leftovers, veggies and all, in a freezer bag, then freeze. Combined with future similar leftovers, they make a mean and hearty soup or stew.
Save the bones, skin, fat and juices from roast, boiled, fried or baked chicken. Also save pieces of celery, onions...even ends and skins, and carrots.  Freeze and when you're ready, make some of the healthiest, gelled stock to be found. No gourmet chef will be able to surpass it or its nutrient value. Need to know how? I'll tell you in an upcoming post or you can use the recipe in Nourishing Traditions.
And while you're at it, freeze the bones, fat and bits from other types of roasts as well. For the same reason. Beef stock. Pork stock. Fish Stock. All of which make amazing soups or add exponentially to the flavors of other foods. And get a good meat cleaver. You'll need it.
One of the coolest things I've seen recently, and have begun to incorporate into my own cupboards, is dehydrating scraps:
When I scalded tomatoes to remove their skins, rather than throwing the skins away, I let them dry a bit on towels and then put them in the dehydrator. When they were well-dried, I placed them in the food processor. I bagged the flakes, stored them in my cupboard, and have used them several times already to add to soups, rice, orzo, even creamed cheese...wherever I want a little taste of tomato. I recently did the same with apple skins and plan to use onion skins to do likewise. Think of the possibilities!
Thanksgiving is around the corner and although it's not the only time for stuffing, it's the top contender. Save your bread scraps in the freezer...all types, and come up with an artisan-style stuffing unrivaled by grandma. If you find you have too much of this good thing, thin out by feeding the ducks. You don't have to live on a farm to find ducks, but if they are nowhere to be found, regular, everyday sparrows love bread, too.
Save the bacon grease. And the beef fat. You can freeze or refrigerate while collecting it. Rendered, they become WAPF-friendly lard and tallow/suet. I pay my farmer for this right now, do you?
Dairy products. Now, I understand that unless you have a cow or goat, the chances of an overflow here are slim, but when I lived on an island, I had to stock up on milk and other staples when I took the monthly trek to the off-island grocer. I bought the milk I needed for the month, as well as the cheese, put some in the fridge and the rest in the freezer. Maybe someone reading this has the same situation. I poured about a quarter of the milk out of the jugs going into the freezer so the jugs wouldn't burst. The 'pour out' goes into a pitcher in the fridge.
The cheese. I had to reconcile myself to its being crumbly, but it was still quite 'doable' for casseroles and such.

Just about anything can be frozen for second go 'rounds and longevity. Give it a try. And do try dehydrating, too. I'd love to hear how you use your leftovers!

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