Republic of Moreland

April 29, 2009

Thrift and the single foodie

Filed under: environment,food,health,urban farming — Kath @ 6:54 pm

The Avenue has been blessed with a gorgeous little squdgey 3-month-old lassie who’s keeping me sleepless, lactating and honest. (But criminally neglectful of my poor chickens.) Having split with The Father Formerly Known As Bloke On The Av, I’m venturing into the dark depths of single parenthood (though TFFKABOTA still visits daily).

Life is good, but with property settlement, mortgages and all those other adventures, the prospect of losing my beautiful home has forced me to ruminate on ways to be thrifty.

But when it comes to food, price is WAY down my scale of priorities. Buggered if I’m going to start buying cardboard-flavoured mandarins from the US just cos they’re two bucks a kilo. So I’ve been considering how to get more crunch for my apple. (Sorry.)

I’m looking for thrifty ways with produce. Here are a few of my own:

  • My grandma used to save pineapple skins and boil them up. She’d simmer them for a couple of hours, strain them through cheesecloth, and make cordial or jelly with the syrup.
  • A friend once told me off for discarding the bottom bits of broccoli. I’ve now devised a recipe with them: toss them in a hot wok with macadamia oil, crushed macadamias, white pepper, sumac and lemon. You can throw in shredded nori and serve on soba noodles. YUM.
  • I HATE the seedless variety of watermelon — and not only because it tastes rank. It’s because the fat black seeds of the old variety are YUMMY, high in protein and vitamin E, and should be a delicacy. In fact they ARE a delicacy in Singapore, where they are the key ingredient* in the celebrated Mooncake.
  • And watermelon skins! LOVE ‘EM! Yep, the green bits. Crispy, juicy, full of vitamin A and gorgeous when sliced thinly and tossed into salads. I’ve done this a couple of times and no-one has noticed. I suppose they thought twas cucumber, unless they were being polite. Watermelon rinds can also be pickled, of course.

Anyhoo, I’m too goddam sleep-deprived to think of more, but would be SO thankful if I could find a use for green apple peels. See, I’ve been making a lot of Stephanie Alexander’s quick apple cake of late (but to make it really special, add lemon rind, sultanas and walnut), and the curly peel is now taking up acreage. It makes good compost and chook scraps, but it seems a shame not to make it into sumthin’.


* though Wiki lists the paste from watermelon seeds as one of many optional ingredients: (五仁, wǔ rén): A filling consisting of 5 types of nuts and seeds, coarsely chopped and held together with maltosewalnuts, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds, peanuts, sesame, or almonds. syrup.


  1. My first thought is pectin … which helps you set jams and jellies. So a quick google and I found this …

    You could freeze peels until you have the time/jars and fruit available?

    Which reminds me, my big thrift tip is a bar freezer. Figured it will cost me $70 a year to run (power + depreciation) and will save me much more than that in reducing food wastage. With it I shop much less often which saves fuel, time and hassle, and makes bulk buying and market trips so much more worthwhile. I just can’t afford to shop at the local co-op because it is SO expensive, but maybe it’s not so bad in Coburg?

    Also on the freezer theme, home made ice cream is very much fun to do with little kids, and much cheaper than the $7 a litre you pay at the shops. It’s actually good for you if made at home, and uses eggs up nicely (especially as they will be going off the lay soonish). If I have a surfeit of eggs I bake something and freeze it too – great to have muffins for school lunches.

    Comment by naomi — April 29, 2009 @ 10:26 pm | Reply

  2. Aw! Congrats for the Baby on the Avenue!

    Comment by jac — May 7, 2009 @ 10:37 pm | Reply

  3. Oh! Belated congratulations! I remember being at home with my own wee girl, seventeen years ago(!), just down t’road in Northcote.
    Yay for little girls!

    Comment by Helen — June 28, 2009 @ 7:07 pm | Reply

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