Save money in the kitchen with these 6 simple swaps
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In a year like no other, we need our money to stretch more than ever. The easiest place to start is in your kitchen, and this is also the quickest place to see the fruits of your labor. It starts with making small, sustainable changes – no longer on paper towels or seltzer, for example – and instead opting for tools that can either replicate the same product at home or be used multiple times so we don’t keep buying it back.
I’m always on the lookout for tips and tricks to save a few dollars and I share the ways that will work best for me to save big bucks in my kitchen. With a few small changes and several small investments, you will save a lot in the long run – and you can enjoy your favorite food in new ways (and longer!). Read on to get my tips and tricks for saving some cash in any home of the most important room.
No more bad apples
Keep vegetables fresh longer. (Photo: Amazon)
I’m a skeptic so I was on the fence about picking this up, but I was tired of spoiling fruit before I had time to eat it. Then my inner nerd stepped in and after understanding the science I hit Add to Cart – and I’ve already saved so much on food.
BluApple keeps your products fresher longer by absorbing ethylene gas from your fruits and vegetables. Ethylene is a natural plant hormone and is found in many of your weekly staples, such as apples, bananas, cantaloupes, grapes, tomatoes, and potatoes. This hormone hangs in your sharper drawer, triggering a breakdown in cells of about $ 600 in tainted products per year for the average American family.
You know that the saying “one bad apple spoils the pile” is ethylene! Fill these little blue plastic apples with the activated charcoal pack every three months and they will absorb the gas that signals this ripening, so your food stays fresh longer and odors from your fridge are reduced. You can even use this in your fruit bowl. In fact, it works so well that the reviewers say they need to remove them from the fruit in order for them to ripen! Such a brilliant purchase.
The story goes on
Full speed ahead
Make your favorite coffee. (Photo: Amazon)
I am a self-proclaimed coffee guru. With the four to five cups I throw back every day, this is not only a necessity, but a taste bud vice too. While I should probably only drink straight from the carafe due to my daily volume needs, I still want each cup to feel special, and my obsession with beautiful frothed milk has led me to put my aerolatte in my handbag when visiting other people go home. I get coffeeshop-worthy preparations without the heavy surcharges.
I think it’s great that this little magic wand turns warm or even cold milk into beautiful little frothy mountain peaks in just a few seconds. This frothy layer also insulates my coffee and keeps it warmer longer, the best $ 20 I’ve ever spent and it’s a gift I’ve given to my favorite people – mostly so I don’t have to bring it home to them!
Throw the towel on paper towels
No more paper towels. (Photo: Amazon)
Every time I wipe a sticky mini-hand with a fresh, clean paper towel, I feel serious guilty. It will be in the trash can within 6.5 seconds. I believe the Brawny Man prepared me to believe that any mess needs a new towel and I am ready to break this horrific addiction.
Still, I’m very happy to have switched to bamboo paper towels. They come in a roll that is familiar to the touch and fits in your paper towel holder. So, psychologically speaking, it was seamless to carry out the first exchange.
Bamboo is sustainable and grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers. These sheets are super durable and lint free. Twenty tissues come in a roll with each sheet perforated to give the feel of a paper towel. Only one of them replaces 60 conventional paper towel rolls! You can use them over and over, up to 120 times, before the manufacturer says you have to dispose of them – which can be a bit of a tedious process, but even if you reuse them 20 times the environment is still okay. Just put them in the washing machine and air dry them for a longer life.
I have a towel in each bathroom for easy washbasin cleaning and a couple in my broom closet for cleaning floors and baseboards. I’m still on my first roll, and when I’m done to my last sheet, I think I’ll be stacking washed towels in a cute, homemade, or eco-friendly tissue dispenser to keep saving money and my little part for to do the health of this green earth.
Off to a fresher start
One of these adorable bears can last up to six months. (Photo: bed, bath and beyond)
Nothing is more frustrating than drying out soft foods and crispy, stale foods. My husband is a fan of the brown sugar in his coffee and every morning chiseling a piece off with a butter knife became a nuisance and I pretty much gave up on having a pinch of oatmeal too. But then I remembered the terracotta bear carrying every grandmother’s brown sugar canister and knew there had to be something for her.
All you do is soak this terracotta chip in water for 15 minutes, pat dry, and then simply place it in your brown sugar container – it will keep the sugar soft and moist for three to six months. Same goes for cookies, cakes, bread, marshmallows, fresh herbs, and even dried fruits! You can also tuck it away with crackers, pretzels, and french fries to keep them crispy and crunchy too.
Make carbonated drinks from the comfort of your home. (Photo: Amazon)
If you’re a fan of bottled water, you know that this can be an expensive and plastic-heavy habit. I cracked a few numbers at home and it finally made sense to try SodaStream. The One Touch is super easy to use. You simply insert your bottle and squeeze the desired carbonation level. Each CO2 cartridge produces 60 liters of seltzer and it costs $ 15 to refill the cylinder. So after the set-up costs, you can quickly save a bundle.
There are syrups and flavors to add some shine to your water feature, and if you’re open to searching the internet, there are ways to use the SodaStream to re-carbonize flat sodas and beer – and recipes for sparkling wine, cocktails, Coffee and more.
Sweeten the pot
Chilies, stews and more are waiting for you. (Photo: Amazon)
In quarantine, we feel like home cooking, but less time than ever to sit at the stove all day (someone else homeschooling?). People have been raving about the Instant Pot for months and the multitude of ways you can use it to stretch your grocery dollars while you hit the flavors.
This multi-cooker can steam, slow cook, ferment and even pasteurize! Best of all, it’s a pressure cooker that cooks up to 70 percent faster and has 48 different settings for soups, beans, rice, and ribs. Even if you’re a novice cook, you can have a cookable dinner for pennies the dollars.
People got so creative with this stove – you can even bake with it, folks! Crazy right? You can draw delicious cheesecakes, make your own flavored Greek yogurt, pop popcorn, spiced wine and water, and much more. I’m definitely a game for all cooking hacks that save me money, don’t pollute my stove and that I can pull off the Elmo slide with the kids during a 13-minute break!
Video produced by Kat Vasquez
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