As the connection between good health and nutrition is becoming more clearly documented, many people are electing to turn to whole foods. Even if these changes are only a small percent of the food eaten, every meal without processed ingredients and manmade chemicals will help.
Purchasing natural foods can be an expensive proposition. Here are three indispensable tools for your kitchen that will save you money while helping to feed your family the high quality food they deserve.
1) Vacuum Sealers Prolong Food Shelf Life
Even the most inexperienced shopper will notice that single servings cost more than normal packages of food. “Family size” or extra large packages offer additional savings. For most people, these large containers of food are impractical. If the food spoils or becomes stale before it is finished, it doesn’t matter how little it costs to buy -no money will have been saved.
The simplest solution to this problem is a vacuum sealer. This machine will remove all of the air from a container. The most common variety uses plastic bags for storing food, sucking out the air and then trimming off excess plastic as it melts the edge closed. Other options include lids for glass mason jars or plastic bins with seals set into the lid.
Vacuum sealers can be used for storing food at room temperature to prevent becoming stale. Buying pasta, beans or coffee in bulk can save a lot of money and items such as nuts, seeds and whole grains are less likely to become rancid if they are kept in airtight packaging.
Meat and produce can be bought in large quantities, portioned and kept in the freezer until needed. Preparing meals in advance and freezing will eliminate the need for fast food on overscheduled nights. Leftovers also freeze nicely for lunches to save money at the office.
2) Meat Grinders and Quality Control and Efficiency
Every homemaker is familiar with ground meat as a way to help stretch the food dollar. Meat can be used in dishes with other ingredients blended in to create the illusion of larger servings, especially useful for large groups or families with hungry teenagers. Some popular examples of budget friendly dishes include pasta with meat sauce and do it yourself tacos. However, with some cooked lentils or finely shredded vegetables blended in, even meatloaf and burgers can be prepared with less meat.
Unfortunately, when meat is ground at the supermarket, it’s difficult to determine what exactly is being eaten. Poor quality meat, excess fat and even waste products can end up in the grinder to lower costs for the store. Additionally, ground meat has been shown to have a substantially higher risk of contamination of e. coli and other dangerous bacteria.
Purchasing a home meat grinder offers all of the advantages of ground meat without the risks. You can select large cuts of meat on sale, mix in the ratio of fat that meets your dietary needs and grind it at home. Grinding meat in bulk, vacuum sealing in bags and freezing will make it as simple as buying it pre-ground from the store.
3) Gelato Makers Bring Rome into the Home
No matter how frugal the homemaker, there will always be times for splurging. However, a trip to an ice cream parlor can cost several dollars per person, even if a relatively inexpensive shop is chosen. That’s without considering the ingredients in the ice cream or the freshness of the product.
For a fresh, all natural treat, try making homemade gelato. Fresh fruit, whole milk and good quality chocolate will make a large container of gelato for the cost of a few ice cream cones. Gelato, Italian frozen dessert, is lower in sugar and fat than American ice cream. Investing in the best gelato machine that you are able to will give you the highest quality results. A good machine will freeze the cream rapidly, making extremely fine ice crystals, creating the illusion of a very rich dessert.
By using a home meat grinder, vacuum sealer and gelato maker, you will be able to make healthful food while trimming your budget. It requires an initial outlay of money but the savings over the life of the machines will pay for the tools many times over.
This article was provided by Liz Krause, an Italian homemaker from the suburbs of DC. She enjoys writing about traditionally simple Italian dishes. Her recipes encourage their users to use wholesome ingredients, including treats such as freshly made desserts in gelato machines. She believes that jarred sauce cannot compete with homemade for flavor and nutrition, but that preparing inexpensive cuts of meat with home meat grinders makes it cheaper, too.