How to save money in the kitchen
Simple hacks to save big bucks without compromising on the quality of food
As the head of domestic affairs of my household, I help my family make budget. Over the years, I have realised that one of the main areas where you can cut costs is in the kitchen.
The best way to address expenditure-related issues is to tackle those expenses that are not fixed. In other words, manage your consumption of consumables and your expenses will go down. Depending on how much you already consume, how much you can cut back and how much you bring in to your budget, your savings could be substantial.
Here are some tips then to help you save money on bills as far as your kitchen chores are concerned:
Cover boiling pots
When you cover pots for bringing things to a boil or to a simmer, you consume less energy. If you are boiling food, remember to set the cover to the side leaving a space open; you could use a wooden spoon to offset the cover so that there is a gap for air. This prevents the liquids from boiling over.
Cook large batches of stews and braises
When preparing foods that have long cooking times, like braises and stews, cook them in larger batches instead of multiple small batches. Even a double batch means that you cook twice as much with almost half the energy consumption in gas or electricity. You can always cool and freeze the excess in serving portions in labelled containers or freezer bags. Be sure to put the date of cooking on each package.
Fill up the oven
It takes quite a bit of energy to heat up a whole oven. If you are doing so, you might as well fill it with food to cook. If you are doing a roast for dinner, add vegetables as well and make both the sides and the protein in the oven at the same time. You could even add a lasagna or add another casserole if your oven has enough space. A bread pudding bakes at flexible temperatures and is a great way to use up stale bread, so you could whip up that and bake dessert at the same time. The other option is simply to make double portions of the same thing; so, instead of roasting only one chicken, roast two or have a lamb roast and a beef roast in at the same time.
A timer to boil water
When boiling water, the electric kettle shuts off automatically. If you are using the stove top, be sure to get a whistling kettle so that it can let you know once the water is boiled. Otherwise, you may find yourself often forgetting that the water is boiling and then you end up boiling more because it has evaporated.
Use a kitchen timer
This tool alone will save you from overcooking and even burning foods and wasting money in the kitchen. Get a reliable one in a good kitchen gadget shop and use it multiple times for the same dish. For example, you could set it to 5 minutes while your food comes to a boil, 30 minutes to simmer, and after you have checked it, another 10 minutes after adding flavourings, seasonings, etc for the flavours to intensify.
Eat more stir fries
The reason why I became Stir Fry Queen in university is because stir fries are ridiculously quick and easy. I could walk to my room, cook, eat and return to my next lecture within an hour with time to spare. Fast, quick cooking methods definitely save consumption. Stir fries cook quicker than the time it takes to reheat
Eat more raw foods
Raw foods are great for one very obvious reason: they do not require cooking or reheating. So chomp on your fresh salads as a meal or have yoghurt, and allow nature's bounty to satiate your gut with friendly enzymes.
Watch quantity of perishables
One of the easiest ways to waste money on food is to buy too much, especially things that are perishable. If you are guilty of that, try and go food shopping after doing a thorough inventory of your pantry, fridge and freezer. Tying up money in unnecessary food could be a deal breaker when it comes to cutting costs.