Cooking in bulk saves us time and money, and it means there’s always something decent to put on the table …
Someone who has made a career out of cooking now and saving for later is Suzanne Mullholland, also known as ‘The Batch Lady’ (visit her website here). It’s fair to say Suzanne has turned cooking in bulk into an art form. With a huge internet fan base and a cookbook to boot, she’s riding the crest of the bulk cooking wave.
Suzanne can cook forty meals in an hour, and can make ten different meals from a handful of ingredients, using just a spoon! The cover of her book has a simple message: ‘Shop Once. Cook Once. Eat Well All Week.’
We don’t all need to take it as far as Suzanne, but her success shows how popular cooking in bulk is. And if we follow the message on the front of her book, we’ll be quids in and time rich. So what are the steps to taking back control of our time in the kitchen and the money in our pocket?
Plan Our Shop
Cooking in bulk begins with planning our meals. We’ve published an article on how it is possible to do an entire weekly food shop for £10. It goes to show planning saves pounds. Using a site like mysupermarket.co.uk is a great help in working out how much we need to spend.
Things like stews, curries and pasta sauces are cheap and easy to stretch out, and they freeze well too. Home cooked food almost always has less fat and salt in it, so it’s much better for our health, too.
Buy in Bulk (if possible)
Generally, the cost of food goes down as the size and weight goes up. For example, 500 grams of minced beef will cost more per gram than 1,000 grams. So, if you’ve got the storage space and the cash, consider buying bigger at the supermarket. Another knock-on benefit of buying in bulk is it usually means less packaging, which is good for the environment.
It doesn’t matter if we live on our own or have a big family, cooking in bulk saves us so much time. Scaling up a recipe to make ten portions instead of two might take a few more minutes in prep time, but if it takes an hour to make 10 portions, compared to 45 minutes to make two, we’ve saved nearly three hours. Plus, our energy bills will come down as we are using less.
Freeze and Label
Now we’ve done the hard work, and cooked a big batch of tasty grub, we just need to pop it into a freezable container and label it. Most meals can be frozen for up to six months, so it’s important to write a date on it to know how long it’s been in there. When you’re ready to eat it, simply reheat in the microwave or on the hob. Remember to follow reheating guidelines.
There are a few things we can bear in mind to really bring down our food costs.
- Veg is cheaper than meat, so go veggie for a couple of meals and save some cash
- Cooking in batches saves us time and money
- Bulk out meals with the cheaper stuff
- Dishes based around rice, pasta or couscous go a long way
- Don’t forget about nutrition – again, veg is cheap, so try and get as much as possible