With the state of the economy being so dismal, I thought I'd offer up some tips on how to save money in the grocery store. Besides not shopping when you're hungry and buying generic brands, there are some sneaky things to look out for when shopping.
As you may have gathered by now, I'm a little bit obsessed with spices. I use them in all of my meals, and even take them straight up or with a bit of honey for medicinal purposes. Just yesterday, in a bowling alley filled with the aromas of food, my friend could smell the spices that I had been cooking with on me. While I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, it proves my dedication to well-flavored food. It also means I buy spices fairly often.
If I were to buy all of my spices in jars, my grocery bill would be pretty expensive. Have you ever looked at the price per pound of some spices? I did a bit of research in the market the other day, and was shocked to see how expensive pre-packaged spices are. Oregano is 97.33 a pound. Basil is 85.43 a pound. Herbs de Provence is 56.28 a pound.
Luckily, I hardly ever buy my spices in jars. It just isn't economical. I buy my spices in the friendly and aromatic bulk section, where I score some great deals on high quality goods. Compare the prices of jarred spices to buying spices in bulk: Oregano is 12.99 a pound, Basil is 6.99 a pound, and Herbs de Provence is 15.99 a pound. Pretty rad, right? Frontier is a common supplier of bulk spices, and I've always enjoyed what I buy from them.
I also like buying in bulk because it gives me complete control over the quantity of what I buy. Although I go through a lot of ginger and turmeric, I don't use a lot of oregano. If I buy smaller quantities of spices I don't include in my cooking regularly, I ensure the freshness of the spice. It's recommended to clean out your spice rack every six months for optimal taste, freshness, and aroma. When you think of the cost of this, it isn't very practical. So I just buy how much I know I need for an individual dish, or how much I estimate I'd use in a few months. To give you an idea of how you can save money this way, I made a little chart of some common spices, and their price per pound in both bulk and jars.
|Spice Price Comparison|
|SPICE||BULK PRICE||JARRED PRICE|
|Herbs De Provence||15.99||56.28|
Pretty crazy, right? I bought 5 spices in bulk and spent $3.89. If I were to buy the same quantity of spices for the price per pound that you'd find with jars, I would have spent $19.00. I saved over $15.00!
Now that you've gotten your spices, here is a delicious chickpea salsa and tortilla chips recipe that is accented with cumin. Cumin is a pretty lovely spice. It helps our bellies to digest, our kidneys and liver to process and detoxify, and even has a high iron content. Other items in this recipe that I buy in bulk are salt and pepper kernels. You also save money by making the salsa and tortilla chips by yourself. Good deal, all around!
Cumin Chickpea Salsa
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas (preferably soaked overnight and then cooked in a slow cooker, but canned works beautifully too)
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 1/4 onion, diced and cooked in a bit of olive oil for 5 minutes until soft
- 5 heaping tablespoons fresh cilantro
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 hot pepper, chopped, with the seeds removed (more or less depending on your preferences and the heat level of the pepper)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cumin start with a teaspoon of cumin and work your way up if you're not sure how much you love cumin yet
Homemade Cumin Spiced Tortilla Chips
- 5 corn tortillas (make sure they're gluten free if you're following a GF diet), cut into eighths
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
Do you buy spices in bulk or in jars? Do you have a bulk spice section in your market? I hope this will help spice up your meals!