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Thoughts from an Epicure: The best way to lower food bills


Anyone who’s gone grocery shopping lately is fully aware of the high cost of most foods.

I’ve started alternating meals. One evening, we’ll have a pasta dish, while the next evening a full dinner. As all of us know the best way to lower our food bills is by spending more time shopping, looking for on-sale items or store brand products. I also pay more attention to coupons than I used to, using them on items already on sale whenever possible.

Another way to save is to look at how some things are packaged. For example, I see people choosing pre-cut and pre-washed lettuce. I don’t trust anything “pre-washed.” I want to clean my food. Pre-shredded and washed lettuce costs about three times more than a whole head.

Whether you like iceberg, red leaf, green leaf, or Romaine, they’re available in full heads. They store well, divide easily when you want some, and are a breeze to wash in a lettuce spinner. Since it’s stored in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer, it always is cool and crisp. If I want only one or two leaves, I wash them, then dry them with paper towels. I save the towels to use later for cleanup.

You can save money by growing some of your own food. It’s too late for a garden this year. Plus, everyone doesn’t have the space. However, you can grow herbs on your deck or on a windowsill.

If you can find plants now, you could keep them outside until cold weather. If you can’t or don’t want to bring them inside, cut and dry the leaves. Or you can freeze herbs instead of drying them. When using dried herbs, remember that three teaspoons of fresh equal one teaspoons of dry.

Shopping carefully takes a little time. But right now, the time you spend buying carefully is worth it.

Enjoy and stay safe.

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