Sunday, 9 June 2013

Living Below The Line Day 1: Guest Blog

Here it is - my first ever guest blog.  It's by my partner in this, my daughter, Beth.   Many thanks, Beth!

Three tins of value fruit and a few sticks o’ rhubarb...
...keep three people in fruit for five days. Truly.
I'm writing this on Day 1 of our challenge. Joy and I have been busy organising out week. We've cooked, stewed, ground, mashed and grated our way through a fair few items to make soup, mushy peas and veggie burgers, but what is making me feel especially smug right now is the fruit.
Because we were worried about fruit. We like fruit, and are accustomed to eating it every day. I have rhubarb freely growing, but at £1 there wasn't money in the budget for a packet of sugar, and besides which, a few spoonfuls is all we would need. Wastage is kind of against the spirit of this project; it wouldn't do. And then bingo, I had an idea. How about buying fruit in syrup and then use the syrup to stew the rhubarb? After all it would just be chucked away otherwise, right?
I’d never usually buy fruit in syrup, and it seems no-one else does either! When I really was living in straitened circumstances, many years ago now, all cheap fruit was in the stuff, and horrid it was too, thick, cloying stuff that made the fruit itself taste distinctly odd. You had to go quite upmarket before you found things canned in juice. But now, even the economy brands, as often as not, are canned in juice. It seemed that we would have to think again, but during one of her supermarket trawls, Joy found some incredibly cheap pineapple, at 20p a can. In the trolley it went, a brother to keep it company, and a tin of peaches as well for 29p. So far so good.
This morning the fruit was decanted into separate portions and the syrup put in a pan. I pulled three long, fat stalks of rhubarb from my garden and washed, chopped and cooked them down in the syrup, and portioned them off too. It’s hard to cost out the rhubarb, given it’s already paid for itself many times over, but just to be fair we've allowed 5p per stalk. The syrup was very light, but sweetened the rhubarb nicely.
That made a total of 84p for fifteen small-but-not-tiny portions of fruit, one each for all three of us per day. That’s under 6p a portion (or, 2.5p per portion for the rhubarb and 7.66666p for the pineapple-and-peach, if you are being picky) for fruit every day.

With a single apple starting at 28p from one of the leading supermarkets, I think we've done awfully well!

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