How to stretch a grocery budget has always been a difficult task; stretching ones grocery budget and having food allergies is another challenge altogether. So I have a few food allergy grocery strategies to share with you. Have you ever dumped food into the trashcan and thought “WOW! That’s a lot of Waste!”? Do you hear your mother in your head saying “Don’t waste food!”. You’re not alone. I’ve been trying to get food to last as long as possible for the years since we were diagnosed with food allergies and found ourselves purchasing $5.00 loaves of allergen-free bread. Below are three ways to make and store food that will help stretch your grocery budget.
1. Freeze Canned Tuna
Did you know that canned tuna, after being taken out of the can, can be frozen? Our dear daughter loves her tuna in her salad with basalmic. But although I only buy the 3oz cans of tuna, she usually only goes through about 1 – 2 oz at a time. (A can of fresh caught tuna runs about $5.99.) After she’s done taking what she wants, I un-can the tuna into a large Ziploc bag and place it in the freezer (remember to label it!). After doing this for a month or so, I usually have what amounts to two (2) 6 oz cans of tuna. When we’re ready to have tuna again, I chip of the amount that I think she’ll like with a fork, then place it on the lowest defrost setting in the microwave (alternatively, put it in a ramekin and let it thaw in the fridge for a day).
2. Make your own Beans
Making your own beans is nutritious and easy (especially if you have a pressure cooker). I even make my own chili beans. Organic canned beans can cost up to 2.99 for 15 ounce can, whereas making our own costs pennies. I like to make a whole bag of beans, then put them in smaller containers and freeze (keeping the liquid). You can enhance the taste of them by adding onions, garlic, or other herbs and enhance their calcium content by adding a seaweed called Kombu. But never ever add salt until the end.
3. Make your own Broth
I love making my own broths and have for years because our child was once allergic to onion and garlic. I use anything that is in my veggie drawer (except bell peppers) and can’t be cut up and put into a salad for vegetable broth, including mushrooms, scallions, jalapenos and sweet potatoes. Don’t toss any part of that chicken! (Organic chicken costs $18.99 for one chicken at our Farmer’s Market). Freeze the wing tips, the neck, and leftover bones. When you’re ready to make your broth, bring the chicken parts and vegetables to a slight boil in enough water to cover, skim and simmer for 40 minutes. Strain then freeze the broth for up to 3 months, or store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Remember to always cool your broth with a cover on it before freezing or refrigerating.