Thursday, October 9, 2014

Foraging and Food Bargains

Today we went berry picking--again and for what was probably the last time this season. Yesterday we were walking and discovered that what we thought was a driveway, wasn't, so we crossed the street to investigate further.
We ventured down the path and shortly came to the playing field, which I assume is for the schools across the street.
 The path continued on.
We kept on walking until the path ended at a couple of gates a little farther on. We noticed a lot of blackberries on either side of us, but since I did not have my backpack with me and my containers were in that, we didn't pick any yesterday. Today, however, I made sure to bring my backpack and we stopped and picked some berries down our street before making our way to the newly discovered bounty down the path.
We ended up with 4 containers full. I keep saying that this must be the end of the blackberries and they've kept right on coming, but we really must be getting close to the end now. We've been getting more rain lately and a lot of the berries are just turning to mush.

When we got home, I cut up the 8 remaining Bramley apples I had in the fridge and put them in pots with the blackberries. I added some cinnamon and sugar and a bit of water and made fruit sauce. A while later, it bucketed down outside...

 ...and I put the cooled sauce into containers inside.
I am going to try to fit a couple of those into the freezer.

On our way home, we stopped at SuperValu. It's on our way and it's worth cruising through to see what stuff they have reduced--you never know. Now they are starting to scatter stuff around the store, which is very small. So we walked in and saw some fresh ravioli and a package of tortelloni for a euro each, instead of the 3 euro that they usually are. There were 4 packages and they all went into my basket. We moved on to the regular clearance section where we found a pan of some chicken roulettes. I'd not seen them before in the store, but that often happens--stuff shows up reduced and I have never even seen it at a regular price! These are chicken thighs that have been split and stuffed, then wrapped with bacon. It's not something I would normally buy, but for 2 euro, it seemed like it was worth trying. I am going to cook them in the slow cooker overnight with potatoes, onion, carrots, and garlic. Sausage has been very disappointing here, but we saw a kind we'd not seen before--says it's an herb sausage. It was 1.10 euro, so we decided to try them--there are 8 smallish sausages in the package, so I'll freeze 4 of them. I also froze a couple of the packages of pasta. I'll cook the other two tonight for supper with 4 of the sausages and some veggies.

It always disturbs me when I see the food going to waste--it seems so disrespectful--especially when it's meat. Because I know that the next stop after the reduced shelf is the garbage, I try to buy from there when I can, so the food doesn't end up in the landfill adding to the climate problem. I guess some waste is just a part of the grocery business, since you never know what people will buy or not buy. I can't always buy from there--often what is there is stuff I don't use. But when I can, I opt to save money and keep the food out of the landfill--a win-win. I either use it within a day or two, if necessary, or freeze it. So here is the food we got today for a total of 7.10 euro (not including the squash, which we got a week or two ago for 50 cents each).
I used to plan my meals weekly and write them on a chalkboard we had in the kitchen. When our daughter, who is a picky eater, decided she wanted something else, she knew she would be making her own dinner that night. Now I still plan, but I plan very loosely, because I never know what kind of stuff I am going to end up with. I still make a list and take advantage of the sales when I do a regular shop, but I have learned that it is a good idea to be very flexible in order to take advantage of these unexpected bargains that pop up--my plans for lunch and supper for at least the next two days have changed as a result of today's foraging and food bargains!


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