February 14

How To Save Money With Jam Jars

Deli Lust And How It Tempts Me From The Path Of Thrift

cupboard-lady-Image-Graphics-Fairy2I love delicatessens – the gleaming jars of artisan preserves, the baskets of freshly baked, crusty artisan bread, the charcuterie and cheeses lovingly crafted by artisan cheese makers. I want a larder filled with deli produce. The thought of all the lovely lunches I could make – friends and family gathered round a table loaded with cold cuts and tracklements, warmly engaged in witty conversation as they pick olives, pate, smoked goats cheese or whatever else they fancy off a big, beautiful, oiled wooden board.  The board is artisanal too, by the way. In this fantasy I think even my friends and family might be artisanal, to be honest.

retro-mom-worry-images-Graphics-Fairy004The reality is that I almost never shop in delis because, you know – not thrifty.  And I harbour a suspicion that “artisan” just means hand made.  And I have hands!  I can make my own!

The DIY Deli – A Thrifty Solution?

make the bread,buy the butterActually, I have yet to create a salami, and have not tried cheese making. Moreover I have read (repeatedly, with great pleasure) Bake The Bread And Buy The Butter, so I know without having to find out the hard way, that some produce is better produced commercially. (Although Jennifer Reese actually gives DIY cheese the thumbs-up for thrifty home-production.) Also, I have found that Aldi and Lidl can rival a deli for meats and continental cheese, at significantly lower prices. I am not entirely ruling out having a go at producing some of my own deli food though.  I already hot smoke my own salmon and make a decent gravadlax – maybe a salami is not entirely beyond me.

bread: the river cottage handbookBread I can definitely do myself. (It’s actually pretty easy – try The River Cottage Bread Book for inspiration and guidance.  Dan Stevens is the kindly vicar of bread-baking.) And anyone with a big pot can make a fabulous ham.  (Long simmer over a low heat with a carrot, an onion, a couple sticks of celery and a single star anise. The stock makes a mean ham and butterbean soup too.)

Pam-Corbins-mulled-pears-001And those gleaming jars of (artisan) preserves?  I reckon I could manage some of them.  Maybe a simple dipping oil made with August’s herb glut in the garden, or a raspberry vinegar to make divine salad dressings. Perhaps wonkywonderful.com’s lovely honey and herb mustard to serve with home-cooked ham. Or some of Pam-The-Jam Corbin’s mulled pears to serve with home-made pate. (Pate, by the way, is only about 5% kitchen wizardry and 95% food processor whizardry so I reckon I could manage that too.) And perhaps some of larderloves.com’s fruit cheese to serve with actual cheese. And chutney. And pickles. And a sweet chilli jelly. I could have my deli fare without paying deli prices for it. All I need is vinegar, sugar, oil and some empty jars.


Deli Preserves At Aldi Prices

three jars of mulled apple jellySo, this year, I want to add to my own little in-house deli by filling a cupboard with home-made preserves – just a few jars of each, a different one each month.  That way I will always have something lovely to serve alongside Lidl salami and home-cooked ham. Plus, if we are going to eat at someone else’s table, I can take a little jar of something as a thank-you.  I might even package it up with an actual artisan cheese…

HandNoticeVintage-GraphicsFairyClick here to download this week’s Thrifty Habits Planner.


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Copyright © 2015. All rights reserved.

Posted February 14, 2015 by tartanmum in category "Cook, Eat, Save, Repeat", "Preserve Something


  1. By Jo on

    Great article, I’m definitley going to follow in footsteps and give it a try. Got loads of baking apples, so going to do some chutnies and apple sauce for starters.


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