Saturday, Feb. 04, 2023|
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Happy New Year!
These days, when we get ready to pay for our groceries, we are often shocked at the higher price we are paying for our food.
The U.S. Department of Labor claims that in every category, there is an increase of 8.5% from March 2021 till March 2022, and the hardest hit are in food, gas, and shelter. Food accounts for an 8.8% jump in the last 12 months, and they do not expect this to level out soon.
The five most affected foods are as follows:
1. Citrus with a 19.5% increase, and oranges are seeing the highest increase.
2. Bacon, sausage, and other processed products had a 16.5% increase, but bacon had the highest increase of 18%!
3. Due in part to the Ukraine exporting less wheat and grain products because of the war with Russia, the global availability has been greatly affected. These countries are responsible for about 30% of the world’s wheat and grain exports.
4. Beef and veal prices have risen by 16%, with raw beef steaks up 18.8%.
5. Fats and oils are up 14.9% and nut butters and margarine are up 15.8%.
What to do? Do we stop eating oranges, bread, steaks and bacon? Bread is essential for sandwiches so if you are not going to eat them immediately, store them in the freezer so it does not get moldy; buy ground beef or chicken as it is not as expensive as a steak; and maybe buy vegan bacon?!
Well the good news is that the following foods have not gone up as badly:
1. Tomatoes have gone up only 1.8%.
2. Cheese has not seen much of an increase, which is surprising because whole milk went up 14.5%!
3. Ice cream has only seen a 3.1% increase.
4. Potatoes have risen only 3.4%.
5. Canned fish and seafood, which are a good source of protein, have been stable in price during this inflation.
Here are some ideas of what you can do with foods to fight the high prices:
Homemade Tomato Sauce
Based on Marcella Hazan’s famous recipe
Makes 1 quart, enough for 1-1/2 pounds of pasta
4 pounds plum tomatoes
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and cut in half
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1-1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Fill a large bowl halfway-full with ice cubes and cold water. Using a sharp knife, cut a 1/4 inch deep X on one end of each tomato. Place the scored tomatoes into the boiling water and cook until you see the skin starting to wrinkle and split, 1 to 2 minutes, (be careful not to cook too long, or the tomatoes will become soft and difficult to handle). Using a slotted spoon, lift the tomatoes out of the pot and plunge them into the ice-cold water bath. Let sit for a few minutes to cool, then transfer the tomatoes to a cutting board and, using your hands, peel off their skins. Cut the tomatoes into 1/2-inch chunks (discard the cores at this point) and transfer them, along with all of their juices, into a dutch oven or saucepan.
I always place the cutting board into a half sheet pan so the juices can be saved.
To the chopped tomatoes, add the butter, olive oil, onions, garlic, salt and sugar. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally and smashing the tomatoes, until the sauce is no longer watery. Remove and discard the onions. Using a wooden spoon or potato masher, mash any large chunks of tomatoes and garlic to make a slightly chunky and thick sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Before serving, stir in the basil.
The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
• • •
Buying cheese when on sale or in large quantities at a big box store may be a wise choice as cheese can be frozen until ready to use. We buy Mexican blend cheese from Costco in the double pack and freeze one of them for later use. The grandchildren love re-fried bean burritos.
Salmon burgers are a great substitute for a beef burger and will cost much less.
1 (14 ounce) can salmon, drained completely
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 clove garlic, minced
Zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons freshly chopped dill
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
In a large bowl, combine salmon with egg, bread crumbs, garlic, lemon zest, and juice, dill, Dijon, Worcestershire, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper and stir until fully combined, then form into 3 or 4 patties.
In a large skillet, heat oil. Add patties and cook until golden, about 4 minutes on each side.
Serve patties on buns with mayonnaise, romaine, tomatoes, and onions.
It is actually nice to see that locally grown foods are now cheaper than those from the mainland.
Email Audrey Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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