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Monday, January 10, 2011

Stretching Time Between Grocery Shopping- Perishable Proteins

I'm a big proponent of stretching the time between grocery trips for as long as possible, without even having quick runs for dairy or produce. I used to go shopping weekly, then switched to bi-weekly. Recently (for the past 2 months) I've switched to monthly shops, and yes, that includes all produce or dairy.
How do I do it, you've asked? How do I make sure my family is getting enough healthy food, especially during the second half of the month? Here's what I do, plus a few other ideas that don't work for me because of lack of space but can easily work for others.

Perishable Proteins When Monthly Grocery Shopping

Meat
My family eats meat generally between 2 and 4 meals per week. The rest of the time we're vegetarian, so we can definitely buy enough meat to last us a month and keep it in our normal sized freezer without any problems.

Dairy
My family isn't the biggest dairy eaters, because dairy doesn't end up being that much cheaper than meat around here, and when it comes to hard cheese, it's more expensive than dairy per pound!
We have milk, occasional cheese, butter, homemade yogurt, and sometimes homemade cheeses like homemade cottage cheese or paneeer cheese or yogurt cheese.
Milk freezes fine, as does hard cheese and butter. Yogurt freezes as well, or you can make a chain batch of yogurt, making one batch and using that batch to start another, and that batch to start another, etc...

If you don't have room in your freezer for large quantities of milk, you can always buy powdered milk like I do and use that to make homemade cheeses. Homemade "milks" like chickpea milk and sesame milk are made from products that don't require refrigeration and can be used to supplement your regular milk or towards the end of the month when your milk runs out.

Eggs
Eggs are also rather expensive round these parts (approximately 23 cents per egg), so we're not going through them in insanely large quantities. (Of course, that is all relative.) I usually buy 60 eggs to last me a month. When the eggs run out, we use no more eggs until I go shopping again.
Eggs, from what I've read, can last one month unrefrigerated, and two months refrigerated. Therefore there's no issue getting eggs to stay fresh between shopping trips.
Using powdered eggs or ground flax seed as egg substitutes works for some people, but I have yet to try it. I've also heard of using soy flour, corn starch, and bananas as egg replacements, but if you want more info on that, you'll have to check out the details on this website.

Hrmm... methinks this post is getting long enough. I'll save my produce tips for tomorrow's post.

So, how frequently does your family eat dairy, meat, and eggs? How often do you buy those things? What's the longest you've gone without buying dairy, meat, or eggs? Have you tried any of the aforementioned tips?

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