How To Freeze Food To Save Money

I have spent the last 3 years perfecting the food shop. We have now managed to get our average weekly food shop down to £10 per week… feeding a family of 5! You can read more about that here.

The big food shop

We hit the supermarket at a specific time for each store, when we know that the bargains come out. Our local store is at 6pm, and we know that we need to get there for bang on 6 (if not earlier!). Most of the food that we buy has been reduced down to 10% of its original price. Bread often costing around 10p, vegetables and fruit somewhere around the £12p-20p range. We grab as much as we can and take it home to prep and freeze.

Because we don’t write meals plans before buying our food, we have to go to the shops with a completely open mind, and happy to eat whatever is on offer at the time! It does take some effort to live this way, but the rewards are huge and it means that we get to eat healthy delicious meal for super cheap.

Prepping food for the freezer

Most food can be frozen, and if it can’t we eat it as quickly as possible. Food for the freezer should be prepared and frozen as soon as you get home, to keep it fresh. Food that cannot be frozen can safely be eaten a day or 2 after it’s best before date. I completely ignore the best before dates on fruit and veg, because if it looks/smells/feels good then I’ll just eat it anyway. Common sense tells me when fruit and vegetables are still good to eat.

Most food doesn’t take much effort to freeze. Bread and milk can be just thrown into the freezer as they are. Donuts, I like to take out of the paper bags and put into plastic bags, as it stops them from going stale as they defrost.

When we tackle the shops, I like to set aside an hour or two to get the food prepped for storing. It can be fun to get the kids to help too as it gets them learning basic food preparation skills, and they have fun too. My daughter loves cutting up beans for the freezer.

Food that can be thrown straight into the freezer (It’s handy to bag them first though!)

  • bread
  • milk
  • berries, such as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries etc
  • yoghurts- Frubes are great to eat as ice pops too!
  • margarine
  • fresh pizza
  • cakes and donuts
  • grapes- work well as ice cubes as they don’t water down drinks as they thaw.
  • grated cheese
  • cuts of meat
  • pies
  • Ready made soup
  • fresh pesto
  • cooked rice
  • cherry tomatoes- great for throwing into stews, not so great for sandwiches!

Foods that need peeling and chopping for freezing:

  • Mushrooms
  • Apples
  • herbs
  • onions
  • rhubarb
  • bananas- these can be frozen in their skin but chopped is easy for smoothies!
  • carrots
  • runner, broad, French and dwarf beans
  • parsnips
  • cabbage
  • peppers
  • potatoes- I freeze these for the main purpose of roasting. Boil for 2 minutes ONLY before freezing.

Some vegetables loose their flavour and colour when frozen, so blanching is often a good idea. If in doubt, a quick Google will help! Salad foods such as lettuce and cucumber cannot be frozen as they go slimy when thawed. Vegetables can all be cooked straight from frozen.

This is just a list of some of my favourite foods to freeze. What are yours?

 

 

 

Why Switch To Reusable Menstrual Products

There has been a huge shift in the way women want to bleed. More and more women are discussing ditching the pads and tampons and choosing a greener, cheaper and healthier option: reusable.

I made the switch to reusable menstrual products around 3 years ago, and I have never looked back. It started when I decided to use cloth nappies and cloth baby wipes for my kids, then I switched to using cloth sanitary pads for myself. I then discovered the menstrual cup. There is a whole world of reusable options out there to think of!

Talking about periods is no longer a taboo subject. Most women bleed, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Period blood isn’t dirty, it’s not like other waste product such as poop! Choosing a reusable product isn’t dirty or unhygienic either. Luckily views are changing and many women are now choosing options that are way better for them.

Why switch to reusable?

Obviously there is the penny saving side to using a reusable menstrual product. According to the Huffington Post, a woman will spend around £18.5k on pads and tampons in her life. That is a lot of money. A set of cloth pads will set you back around £50, and will last you years and years if looked after properly. Yes, you will have to wash them, but a quick rinse and thrown in with the rest of your wash and the savings are still huge.

Cloth sanitary pads are also WAY comfier on your lady bits. Because cloth pads are made of a soft cotton, it’s like wearing a second layer in your knickers. Cloth pads are also great for post partum bleeding after having a baby. Your stitches won’t get caught, and the extra soft padding means less uncomfortable feelings down there.

Many disposable pads and tampons contain an array of chemicals, bleaches and perfumes (why you need a perfume for your vagina is beyond me), that can cause irritation, infections and even tiny CUTS inside of your vagina. A tampon absorbs all moisture that it comes into contact with, but a menstrual cup will only catch what it needs to and not take away the natural moisture that you need.

Many people are put off of reusable pads because they worry that they will be bulky. Most cloth pads are actually very slim, and not bulky at all… even the heavy duty pads (above) suitable for night, heavy bleeders and postpartum bleeding!

Ditching the disposables can also have a positive effect on your body during menstruation. Many women who made the switch to reusable alternatives found that their periods became lighter, less painful and didn’t last for as long. Many believe this is down to removing the chemicals from their underwear! It has been suggested that the cocktail of chemicals, bleaches and perfumes used in disposable pads and tampons can make period problems worse and prolonged.

And what about the planet? Many women flush tampons and even pads down the toilet, causing costly blockages and these used items often end up in the sea, rivers and streams causing hazards to wildlife. Pads are made from around 90% plastic (explains why they are sweaty and itchy!) and take years to decompose in landfill. Tampons, pads and liners cause around 200,000 tonnes of waste each YEAR. A gross thought.

How to use

Reusable pads are simply worn like a disposable pad, but instead of sticking into your knickers, the wings have poppers which just pop together to hold your pad in place. Reusable pads are super easy to wash. Just rinse in cold water, then throw in your normal wash. I let my pads air dry as I don’t own a tumble drier, but I know many women avoid the tumble drier anyway as the heat can damage their pads. Leaving your pads to dry in the sunshine can also remove stains!

There are lots of fab videos on YouTube that can help you fit your menstrual cup correctly. Just like using tampons for the first time, using a cup will take a little practise, but it’s worth while! Watch this video from Mooncup to see how a Mooncup works.

Your menstrual cup should be boiled before the first use and at the end of every period. Just boil in a pan for 5-7 minutes or you can use special sterilising solution (designed to sterilise babies bottles). During your period, simply remove your cup, pour away the contents and wipe with tissue or rinse in the sink before reinserting.

Would you consider using a reusable menstrual product? Maybe you already do and are a huge convert, like myself. Let me know in the comments below.