Today we begin the first in a series of blog posts we’re calling ‘Sandy’s Six‘. Executive Chef Sandy DiGiovanni here at The Culinary Center of Kansas City is a wealth of culinary knowledge, and is happy to share that knowledge here on the Kitchen Talk blog.
So, we begin with a topic of interest to most of us – especially shortly after the new year when ‘SAVING MONEY‘ is toward the top of many of our resolution lists. Sandy is constantly food shopping for classes and events here at CCKC, and she always has to keep in mind the bottom line. So, she follows these tips herself…
- Shop seasonally. Do your homework. Know what fruits and vegetables are in season, and make use of those in your menus whenever possible. It just makes sense. Supply & demand, baby >> if you’re shopping for a food and the stores have plenty of it, the price is going to be lower. There are lots of sites online that list seasonal offerings. Here’s a link I like, but there are many available.
- Find in-season products at local shops and Farmers Markets to save. This may not apply to everything, but many of the specialty fruits and vegetables can be found fresher and at a better price when your local growers bring them to area markets. KCparent.com has a list of Kansas City-area markets…
- Go cheap on the basics. Find sales and discount stores for your basic items, including carrots, onions, celery, etc. (if you’re not buying organic) and even your canned and frozen goods.
- Buy cheaper cuts of meat, especially in this winter season, and braise them for your dishes. The cheaper cuts do often have more fat, but drain well and enjoy the delicious flavor and savings! Braising your meat means browning it and then slowly cooking it with a bit of liquid in a covered pan. That long, slow cooking brings out the flavor of the meat and makes sometimes tougher cuts of meat more tender. Better Homes & Gardens offers a great explanation of how to braise meats on their bhg.com website >> click here.
- Buy whole meats and cut them – or ask your butcher to cut them for you. Do the math next time you’re in the grocery store. Check out how much you’ll save buying a whole pork loin and having it cut into chops instead of buying separately packaged pork chops. Buy a whole chicken and have it cut up into pieces. You’ll be amazed at the savings.
- If space in your home allows, stock up on savings with sales and buying store brands. Most often, the store brands are just repackaged versions of the big commercial names that are advertised. Do a few taste tests, if you want. Buy the store brand and buy the big-name brand. Have your family and friends give each a taste without knowing which is which. I bet you can’t tell the difference. And if you can’t, start stocking your pantry! (The key to this savings point is to use what you’re buying. Work these items into your weekly menu. Don’t let them sit on your shelf.)
It takes a little bit of homework to get started. Know your prices – meaning, know a good price when you see it. Ask friends where they find bargains. Spend a little time and gas going to a couple different stores if it means significant savings. Good luck!