If you've ever bought a big bag of spinach, you've probably had this happen: You buy it and use it in a salad or in a meal and just a few days later, it's wilty and mostly unusable. I had this happen several times and when it did happen, I ended up giving the spinach to the chickens. Well this time, I wanted to try another way of saving my bag of spinach before it went to the birds. I normally buy the pre-washed stuff, it saves time and who doesn't loves saving time? This is what I did with any leftover spinach I'd have in the bag after using it for it's original purpose. I would put a large portion in a Tupperware with a clean paper towel on top of the spinach to absorb any excess moisture from being in the fridge, and that would keep for a few more days. Then the rest of the spinach would go into small ziplock bags in 1 cup measurements, dated, and labeled. Try to get out all of the excess air from the bag, then pop it into the freezer. It is important that you select near perfect pieces of spinach to put into the freezer so that they keep their nutritional content at peak. Any wilty looking pieces that weren't near perfect, went into my veggie scraps bag or to the chickens. Now this way, no spinach goes to waste! You can use the frozen spinach in soups, and if you need to cut the spinach, they are super easy to cut when they are half frozen. Keep on Frugal-ling!
This is the easiest method I have found for making your very own Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar ( or HACV) and it starts with apple scraps!
At first, you will need:
Then, once you have filled your bag, you can place the apple scraps into your crocks or containers to age.
This is what you will need for the next step;
After your apples are in their containers, add the water to your measuring cup, followed by the sugar and mix until the sugar is dissolved. Pour this on the apples and keep repeating until you have covered all the scraps. Note: Sometimes I have a few apple scraps pop up or have tips showing, but that's ok. In the end of the process, you may have to just skim off the scum that may appear.
Next step is to mark your coffee filter/napkin with your marker, and date it for 2 weeks later so that you know when to check your vinegar. I also like to mark my calendar or make a reminder on my phone to check it in two weeks, as a back up. Then cover and tightly secure it with either a rubber band or tape. Store your vinegar in a cool dark place ( like a cabinet or closet ). Note: Make sure you have it secured nice and tight or you may have visitors like fruit flies show up unexpected...not fun...believe me!
After the 2 weeks has passed, smell your HACV, if it has that smell of vinegar, it's ready. If not, just check in another week. But if it is ready, it's now time to strain it.
You will need:
Set up your station as pictured above, then begin to put the scraps in the strainer and push down the scraps to get all of the excess pulp and juice from the apples. Once it is strained, you can either compost your scraps or feed them to your chickens :).
Next, take the vinegar and place it into your new, clean containers that they will be holding your vinegar in for now on. I use a funnel to do this to make it easier.
Finally, cover your container with the same or another coffee filter/napkin, secure with a rubber band or with tape, and date for 2-4 weeks later and store in a cool, dark place.
I stored mine in a lower cabinet :)
After the 2-4 weeks have gone by, you should have a cloudy, yummy smelling HACV! Give it a taste just to be sure, and if it still isn't up to par, just let it sit for another week and check it again. In the end, you just have to cap the containers. Now you're finished making a useful, from scratch product that you made yourself! Enjoy and happy frugal-ling!
Not sure what to do with your HACV? Check out this link to see the wonders of Apple Cider Vinegar :)
This is where I learned about making HACV, She has some great facts about making it as well!
If you have a smart phone, they can come in handy with helping you spend less on purchases. Over the years, I have found a few apps that will help you with discounts and put more money in your pocket. Here are the apps that I have found that have saved me a lot of money:)
1) Walmart app.
Everytime I get a receipt from Walmart, I save it, take it home, and scan the bottom barcode under the Savings Catcher. If there is a lower price somewhere else, Walmart will reimburse you in the form of a gift card and they will keep adding your savings on that gift card until you spend it. Then it starts all over. In the meantime, you get to use that free money to buy stuff online, or cash it in at their customer service center! Awesome app.
2) Coupons.com app
Easiest way to get coupons quickly, sent directly to your printer so that you can bring them with you when you go shopping! I love checking this app once a week for new coupons. Whenever I need to go shopping at Walmart or target or wherever that accepts coupons, I check out their app first to make sure I'm saving some money ahead of time.
3) RetailMeNot app
A great app to have because when you're out and about, they will alert you if there is a deal going on around you! I have saved so much money and gotten so many great deals because of this app. Also, if you have a store you're in that you think you might buy an item in, like bed bath and beyond, you can check their app first before you make a purchase to see if there are any scannable coupons/deals going on.
Another way that I have saved money is by signing up for Wegmans, Christmas Tree Shop, Kohls, and other major stores online or in store for coupons and offers and that helps a great deal too:)
Anyone who has any other great apps for saving money, please be sure to add in the comment section to further help other frugalers;-) Happy Frugal-ling!