Limits, shortages, certain ingredients impossible to find. This has been our new normal since the pandemic set in. It may discourage most from huge batch cooking, but I embraced the new challenge. I’m as determined as ever to continue my annual soup making with 12 soups this year. However, the old plan didn’t exactly work the same so here are some things to keep in mind if you are planning on batch cooking with this year’s produce:
- Plan way ahead. I selected my recipes and made my list in May so that I could be ready for August.
- When selecting recipes make sure they don’t require a lot of items that are difficult to find or in short supply. With a potential meat shortage in our area I added additional vegetarian soup options this year and stuck with classic ingredients.
- Buy the non perishable items as you go to the store regularly. Typically I plan one big shopping trip, but this year requires me to grab items as they are available. Luckily I use more fresh produce so limits on can items are not an issue.
- Watch for sales and adjust as needed. With meat prices skyrocketing I found myself substituting to save on cost.
- Find out information about local growers. Most of the growers in our area typically have tables at the farmer’s market. This year the main one I use is doing a curbside model with online ordering and you can go out to the farm to pick up your items. Another great reason to plan ahead and have a list ready!
- Take an inventory of what you have on hand. Since prices have gone up it’s good to save money where you can. Buying unnecessary items can add to your cost, sometimes significantly.
- Remember that you’ll still save money and time in the long run! This year I expect costs to be more and I’ve planned for that. However, I know in the coming months my food expense will be significantly lower due to having so many meals on hand. I’ve planned accordingly for the increase in cost. It’s worth it to have soup on hand when it starts getting cold again.
- Take advantage of fresh produce and add extra to your recipes! Our local growers need our support and they are offering something that we need. No harm at all in purchasing and using some extra. Adding extra veggies is also an inexpensive way to get more meals out of a batch and make them more filling.
So far I’m on track for August, it should be another great year of soup!