Knowing how to make meals from scraps is a skill that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers used every day. During the Great Depression and the war years food – and money – were in short supply. It looks like it’s time to tap into some of that grandma knowledge.
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Many of us are finding that the world we were living in a short while ago has undergone a major shift. Grocery store shelves may be empty and we’re encouraged to stay out of the stores as much as possible anyway.
So we’re looking ways to make sure that the food we do have doesn’t go to waste. It’s more apparent than ever that food scraped into the trash can is literally money we’re throwing away.
This isn’t the first time that people have had to get creative and conserve. I remember my grandmother (who was a young wife during the Great Depression) talking about how tough times were and how their mindset was that nothing should go to waste.
I remember that my grandmother kept a metal coffee can in her freezer at all times. She called it her “soup can”. When I asked her about it she said she started keeping one during the depression as a way to get an extra meal out of those leftover food scraps.
Here’s how it works.
After every meal, she’d take a look at what little scraps were left in the serving dishes. Have a spoonful of green beans? She’d scrape them into the soup can. Is a tiny piece of chicken breast left over – scrape it into the soup can. Have some leftover broth – add it to the soup can.
Basically, any food that can be frozen and reheated without turning to mush can be added to the soup can. But she primarily added scraps of meat, veggies, and broth.
And when the can was full, she’d pull it out to thaw and then dump the contents into a soup pot to cook. Yes, she might need to add a little more broth or some other ingredients to round it out. And she’d definitely add seasonings as appropriate. But for very little cost she got what was basically a “free” meal because everything in the pot was saved from being scraped into the trash can.
It’s actually a pretty smart idea and one that we can all incorporate into our own kitchen habits these days to make our money go farther and make more meals out of the food we’ve already purchased.
More meals for your buck in other words.
Now you may not have a metal coffee can, but any freezer safe container works just fine. But it would be helpful to have a container that is easily identifiable as the “soup can” and you want one that’s durable.
I would use something like this Tupperware freezer container.
You’ll also want to let any ingredients cool down a bit since you don’t want to add hot ingredients to the other frozen ingredients because that would cause melting and then re-freezing which is hard on your food.
This is a simple way to stretch your grocery budget and the soup is always different.
Related Post: Tools To Make Meal Planning Easier
There are lots of tricks we can learn from our older relatives. And right now might be the best time to bring some of those old depression era methods back.