Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Slicing the Meat and Pocketing the Pennies

I mentioned yesterday that I went to the supermarket to stock up on meat for the freezer, so here's a little round up of what I bought.  The joints above were for cooking, as they all took around 2 hours to cook I wanted to fill the oven to get maximum benefit of the heat and cost.

As it was Monday I got some good bargains, this is usually the case as the shops want to get fresher stuff on their shelves for the week ahead.  You do have to have the time when you get home though to process them in whatever way they need as usually the date is up on the day or only a day or two away. 

Some things were full price and pretty expensive at that, but you get what you pay for and I prefer (whenever possible) to either buy the highest welfare I can or not at all.

As soon as I got home the things that just required packing away into the freezer were processed.  All the chops and pork loins wrapped individually and then put into labelled reused icecream tubs.

The joints were popped into the oven and left to cook nice and slowly.  By the time they were done Lovely Hubby was home for work and he sliced up the Lamb Joint, some for his tea, scraps for the dogs and the rest wrapped and frozen once it had cooled.  The other joints were left to go cold and then popped into the fridge.

Then yesterday morning I got out my electric food slicer (I got mine from here and it has paid for itself over and over). 

 Because the meat was chilled from it's night in the fridge it sliced beautifully, lots of nice even slices.

I wrap mine in Easyleave because I have a great big roll of it at the moment, but you can use whatever you have to hand, greaseproof paper, cling film, re-used cereal box inners etc.

Once everything was sliced I labelled it clearly, although you can see what is in each wrap now it doesn't mean you will be able to recognise it once it has lived in your freezer for a while and got a bit frosty.

As I was doing all this I weighed and then counted out how many portions I had, to double check it was the right way to go.

Beef   8.07 -  made 5 packs @ 1.04 per 100g -  price bought ready sliced 2.99 per 100g
Gammon  5.99 -  made 7 packs @ 78p per 100g -  price bought ready sliced 2.41 per 100g

This is just a sample of the facts and figures.

Watch out when buying the ready sliced meats in supermarkets the pack sizes vary so much, so always look for the price per 100g on the shelf edge sticker.

So my total haul of meat for the freezer cost me £41.91 and works out to make around 35 meals, so a cost per meal of £1.19.  (As I don't eat most of this only one portion is usually required per meal.)  So using home grown veggies straight from the Veggie Patch or from the freezer, or our own eggs etc  to accompany a pack of meat for each meal, this means that a meal for two averages out at less than £1 a head.  Just what I was aiming for.  I say around 35 meals because if I defrost say a pack of Gammon slices I may sneak a couple of slices out and use them in another dish, so that portion would in effect go into 2 meals creating even better value for my money

If you are wondering why I decided to go down the 'slice it myself route' (apart from the obvious saving in money) it was because when starting the Harcombe way of eating I discovered (by reading the ingredients lists of everything I bought) just what additives there were lurking in an ordinary pack of sliced ham or chicken.  Even when copntemplating buying the most natural looking product I found that it had additives to aid preservation, colour and taste, and it made me suddenly stop and think.  Be very aware though that even some of the joints I found had some extras added in.  So if you want to go down this route get used to reading all the ingredients lists, soon it becomes second nature.

Now that I have a good stock in the freezer I am switching back to using the local butcher, his meat is fresh, trimmed just the way you want it and you get good advice thrown in on cooking methods if you need it.  Oh, and another reason to use him is that I don't have to go back to the supermarket, and witness mass consumerism on a grand scale.

Sue xx


  1. I know what you mean about witnessing mass consumerism.......we are about 10 days away from moving and the freezer is almost empty so I am shopping week to week. Yesterday I had no choice but to got to Morrisons and I must admit after months of staying out of the supers I was a little overwhelmed and shocked at other peoles trolleys!

    I love your cost comparisons and agree that cold meat is so much easier to slice. I dont have a slicer but I have a fantastic carving knife from my catering college days whih makes short work of a big joint.

  2. Now that is a great idea and a bargain. Think I will take me down the shops next Monday morning and see what I can score :)

    I did this with ham recently when it was drastically reduced. Brought it home, sliced it up and froze for later use. We saved heaps of money...

    I love your slicer, it is just what is needed!

  3. I raise my hat to you.This is something I really must do now that we are only two. Too much food is waisted here, and I am definitely going for that food slicer.Thanks for some invaluable tips.

  4. on my divorce from hubby #1 all those years ago, one of the things he cited that constituted towards the breakdown was that I didn't label things when I put them into the freezer, and if he took out a joint of beef, it might turn out to be lamb...!!
    ps 'fraid I still don't label things....

  5. What a great post ive decided today once and for all to come off the comercialism trap. Want and need Im going to keep telling myself until it sinks in.

  6. When is the best time to go to the supermarket for the bargains? I usually go in the evening as I thought the items get reduced further as the day progresses. X

  7. I reuse plastic ice cream buckets too! They are good for all kinds of things. I also use buckets form the baker dept on the grocery store.

    We like to slice our own lunch meat too. It sure does save money!

    I like you blog!

  8. Sue can you confirm/deny that this slicer is good enough to cut bacon? I have a few practice batches on the go ahead of getting our piggies and want to buy a slicer that is up to the job!

  9. Confirm/Deny ..... are we being all officious like!!

    Yes I can confirm that it can slice bacon. It sliced many a pork joint too, when we used to have our pigs, in fact it has sliced perfectly everything we have asked it to slice.

    That good enough for you then ....stands to attention and salutes.

  10. lol , yes that it is perfectly satisfactory ....stand at ease lol

    I must be blind i have checked back here for a reponse several times in the last few days :) .......shaz leaves and goes off to get specs checked !


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