4 Frugal Winter Ingredients

The following post is from Kate of Modern Alternative Mama:

source: richard_north

In the winter, not much is in season — at least where I am.  It’s cold and snowy (in Ohio), and there’s nothing green for miles around…and there won’t be for a few months yet at least.

Even so, there are some ingredients that can be considered “seasonal,” largely because they are readily available in stores or because they were stored long-term from late fall crops.  Many of these are even very frugal to use!  Some you’re probably already familiar with, some, maybe not.

Regardless, you should use them, because they can help keep the grocery bill down!

Potatoes

These are one of my favorites and also extremely frugal.  I pay about $0.80/lb. for organic potatoes around here, and I’ve seen non-organic as low as $0.20/lb.!  (Since they’re on the Dirty Dozen list I only buy organic though — still cheap!)  Potatoes are such a basic food, most people like them, they have a fair amount of potassium and B vitamins, and they can be prepared in lots of ways.  Try real mashed potatoes, homemade fries, baked potatoes, potato soup, and more!

Winter Squash

There are so many varieties of winter squash — I haven’t even tried them all!  Butternut and acorn are the most popular types.  Some people really like butternut squash soup.  Our favorite variety is the spaghetti squash, which we pair with meat sauce or even just a little butter and some parmesan cheese.  Squash can also be served roasted, or even mixed with other ingredients and made into pancakes.  The options are endless!

Beef

While this certainly isn’t exclusive to winter, beef is one animal that is often still slaughtered in the winter.  The faster-growing animals, like pigs, sheep, and chickens are usually not slaughtered at this time.  (I guess that sounds weird — but I am so used to buying from local farms now that their butchering schedules seem ‘normal’ to me!)  Beef, of course, can be turned into pot roast, burgers, meatloaf, salisbury steak, stir-fry, and so much more.  Choose a tough cut and cook it long and slow, or choose ground beef for cheaper recipes.

Maple Syrup

This is actually seasonal!  The trees are tapped sometime between the end of January and the end of February, when the days warm up just enough that they are warmer than the nights.  Maple syrup is therefore on sale during February.  It’s not the cheapest, but a little bit goes a long way, making it a fairly frugal option if you use it sparingly to add a little sweetness and flavor.  Our favorite use is in ice cream, but on pancakes or waffles is awesome too!  Make sure that Mom is pouring so the kids don’t waste the awesomeness. :)

What are your favorite winter ingredients?

Kate is a wife and mommy to 3 and is passionate about God, health and food. She has written 7 cookbooks and is planning to release more in 2012. When she’s not blogging, she’s in the kitchen, sewing, or home schooling her children. You can find her at Modern Alternative Mama or contributing to Keeper of the Home.