By Mikey Kohlberg
Today, I will be discussing how to cheaply feed yourself and your family without skimping on food and endangering everyone and the environment. If you have kids, you may have thought about feeding them wholesome and chemical-free food, but it is not always the cheapest or easiest lifestyle to live. However, there are cheap and easy alternatives to certain overpriced organic products. I will draw mostly from my personal experience eating budgeted organic food in order to break down some simple steps to cutting organic food costs.
1. Join a Buying Club
No, this is not only for restaurants and retail grocery stores. Individual people can pool together in order to buy wholesale organic food that is much cheaper than what you can purchase at the store. Check out UNFI’s buying club and sign up for one today. Plus, this is a great way to get to know your organic and local food eating community.
2a. DIY Organic Rice Milk
If you are lactose intolerant or just enjoy a non-dairy alternative to milk, this could help you slash your organic food expenses. For a reference point, a 32 oz. carton of Rice Dream would normally cost you around $3.22. You can easily find Lundberg’s Short Grain Brown Rice for about $2.30/lb in the bulk section of most health food stores, and this will yield much more than 32 oz. of rice milk. Believe it or not, that is pretty much all you need for quality rice milk. There are many recipes out there and I encourage you to check them out. Also, have no fear of being creative and adding new flavours or sweeteners to suit your needs. I like this recipe a lot because toasting the brown rice adds a nice touch to the end product. Enjoy!
2b. DIY Organic Tortillas
Now, if you are someone who buys packs of tortillas at a time, you may be surprised to know that you could be getting an organic version of this product for a pretty low price. Although companies like Mi Rachito have nearly perfected the art of packaged organic tortillas for around $3.00/bag, each containing around 7-12 tortillas, nothing beats the price and flavour of homemade corn tortillas. You can buy Organic Masa Harina to make your own for anywhere between $3-7.00/lb depending on purchasing quantity. One pound of masa harina will yield anywhere between 15-20 tortillas. So, if you want to impress your friends (or yourself) and make delicious, low cost organic tortillas, make your own with a recipe like this one!
3. Buy “Secondary Cuts” from Local Butcher
Instead of buying pre-cut chicken breast or thighs, save money by buying the whole carcass. It is not hard to take the extra 30 seconds to cut off the wings or breast yourself. Plus, you can explore making soups and stocks with leftover bones and undesirable parts of the animal. For Secondary red meat cuts, check out this link for more info.
4. Use your Freezer/Pickle Things
If you have extra food that may go bad, freeze it. Also, if you have produce that might not be disgusting pickled, learn how to pickle it. It may be a fun activity for family or friends.
5. Buy in Bulk/Buy Local
This should be obvious to everyone, but I will explain it anyway. Usually, the more of something you buy, the cheaper per pound it will be, so you can save there.
Also, try to buy seasonal vegetables, nuts and fruit in bulk as well. Often times, especially in the summer, certain crops like heirloom tomatoes will be significantly cheaper than they are in the winter since they thrive in the heat and don’t have to be grown indoors or shipped across the globe to get to you. Stock up on those items while they are in season if you like saving money and eating nutritious, earth-friendly food. You can always make something out of excess seasonal food and freeze it for later or for winter.
I hope this helps some of you slash your organic food bill. If you have comments or questions, please let us know! Until next time. Stay Green!