To answer our own question: yes, eating banana peels is most definitely a thing. It’s a sustainable, no food waste, frugal and nutritious thing too! See our new pasta sauce recipe here along with more information on eating banana peels.
Creating a Forest Garden: a great book on this novel way of growing edible crops – with nature doing most of the work for you. A forest garden is modelled on young natural woodland, with a wide range of crops growing in different vertical layers. Unlike in a conventional garden, there is little need for digging, weeding or pest control. Buy UK
What’s this about eating banana peels? Is that even a thing?
It’s definitely a thing. Eating banana peels is actually good for you; they’re full of healthy fibre, B vitamins, magnesium and potassium. It cuts down on food waste and can save a bit of money too. Whats not to love? The peels can be added to smoothies and curries, and even made into a bacon substitute.
The riper the banana, the sweeter the peel. If using in a savoury recipe like this one either use less ripe peels or scrape the white pith bit away as it’s the sweetest part. We were a bit worried that it might make the sauce taste all banana-y and strange. It didn’t at all. The peels have only a subtle flavour.
Banana Peel Pasta Sauce Ingredients (serves 4)
the peels of three bananas, washed well and diced small, hard ends cut off
vegetables of your choice. We used a diced green pepper, 3 diced celery stalks, half a diced courgette and a sweet potato cut into larger chunks.
herbs of your choice, a teaspoon of dried or a small bunch of fresh. Oregano is traditional. We used fresh parsley and lovage from the garden.
a tube of tomato puree
salt and black pepper to taste
We made a a really simple oil free dish. For a more traditional approach you could fry some onions and garlic in a little oil first.
Place your banana peels, vegetables and herbs in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook until the veg and peels are tender. Stir in the tomato puree and season with salt and pepper.
We’ve been doing a little bit of early gardening. In the pots pictured above are: red chilli seeds bought for 10p last autumn from Asda, coriander seeds from a Thompson and Morgan sale (their special offers are always worth checking out though we also saved the seeds from last year’s coriander and will be doing later plantings with them), rosemary that we grew from cuttings (so easy, just snip healthy looking bits and stick them in pots or the ground), and some thyme that was reduced to 30p in Tesco last year. These herbs have survived the winter well.
These potato broccoli croquettes are absolutely delicious, frugal and a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes.
The Frugal Story of the Plate
The mashed potato we’ve mentioned, but the broccoli came from an Olio Food Hero who had been given 78 heads of the stuff by Tesco. (Olio is a food sharing app, search for it on your phone or it’s on the web here). We took a box from her for the compost (compost post here) as there was no way she could give all that away, but we used as much broccoli as possible in our meals during that week! The cornbread in the picture also came from Olio; the food heroes always have LOTS of bread, much of which gets binned if it doesn’t get requested quickly enough.
The hummus on the bread, we won in an Instagram competition. See our sister site’s account here where we share a lot of these tag and like competitions on the story. Feel free to tag us if you want! The chilli contained 2 peppers from one of those £1.50 big veg boxes Lidl sometimes put together. They usually contain at least £10 of food. In our local Lidl they seem to only appear early in the morning at weekends. The chilli also had a tin of mixed beans from Lidl and we used the water from the can as well as the cooking water from the broccoli earlier. There’s nothing particularly frugal about the salad…
Potato Broccoli Croquettes Ingredients
Mashed Potatoes (we used roughly a soup bowl sized amount for four people to have 5 or 6 croquettes each)
half a head of broccoli, lightly steamed or boiled
This golden soup is light and nutritious and fragrant, the perfect panacea for all the rich food around at this time of year (post written in December). The quinoa is a great source of protein and turmeric is nicely anti-inflammatory for this hectic season. (See Frugal Christmas).
Quinoa has come down in price in recent years and most supermarkets now have it. We found it cheaply at Approved Food recently (also check Low Price Foods). Rice would also work well, as would rice noodles.
Golden Soup Ingredients (serves 4)
a handful of quinoa
2 large carrots, cut into thin inch long strips
2 sticks of celery, cut similarly
half a leek, ditto
1 small sweet potato, same cutting
1 yellow pepper, thin strips
a cup of frozen peas
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons of turmeric powder
1 teaspoon dried cumin
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek
salt to taste
Golden Soup Method
It’s very simple. Place all the ingredients except the salt in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, turn down to simmer and cook for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the quinoa has swollen and released its little tail things. Add salt to taste and enjoy!
Everything5Pounds have a great range of clothes and homewares. All for £5, sometimes less. Designer items end up in the mix too. The Works are fantastic for selling sets of books for the price you would normally pay for one, so great if you have lots of kids to buy for (or adults!).
Travelling over the festive period?
Near the Motorways: Affordable Alternatives to Service Stations (10th
Edition). This book lists places that provide a meal or a quiet rest
just five minutes from a motorway junction. The author has personally
visited and selected over 200 entries in the guide which are included
for their ambiance, friendliness, imaginative menus or peaceful
surroundings. They do not pay for inclusion so each is chosen solely on
merit. Each entry is illustrated by pen and wash drawing by the
author, for ease of recognition. Special mention is made of the welcome
for dogs and children and of any places of interest which are nearby. Buy from Amazon.co.uk
Olio is an app that you can download to your phone to share food in your local area. People share things that they can’t use up in time, while farmers and gardeners sometimes offer produce that they have too much of. We’ve added this information to our free food section but you can just search for the app.
House sitting and/or pet sitting can be a simple way to get really cheap holidays or maybe even free ones if you don’t have to travel. TrustedHousesitters have owners registered in over 130 countries, from townhouses in London to renovated farmhouses in Tuscany, apartments in New York to beach homes in Hawaii. They connect pet and home owners with reliable sitters, saving costs for both home and pet owners, and sitters looking to travel and stay somewhere new.
Whether you want to reduce your debts, save for a holiday, stay at home with your children, live more simply or just beat the system a little and end up with more cash, we hope you find something here to help. Consider yourself as in a clothes shop – look around, try the ideas on for size, take what’s right for you and leave the rest for someone else.
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Spring has finally arrived, and we couldn’t be happier. The wild garlic is through in the woods, the crocus and snowdrop flowers are beautiful… though we still need the log-burner on of an evening here in Scotland.
Recipes using wild garlic: pesto and creamy carrot soup We’ve also been adding it to sauces and stews.