Healthier and cheaper cold cuts
It often pays to look at different ways to supply healthy food for your family. I don't like buying cold cuts from the supermarket or the deli because I prefer to do the cutting myself. I'm sick of buying expensive meat only to have it turn slimy or smelly in a day or two and have to throw it out. Recently Hanno bought a small food slicer. He likes his rye bread cut fairly thin and a meat slicer does the job very well indeed. Our slicer has a wide range of cut widths, from wafer thin to extra thick. So when we had that slicer sitting there I started thinking about what else I could slice with it. Naturally, cold cuts jumped out at me.
Even though it's a meat slicer, it also cuts bread perfectly. That's my homemade bread in the slicer above. Homemade bread is often difficult to cut but it slices through my bread like butter on the slicer.
We don't eat nearly as much meat as we used to. I was vegetarian for eight years and even though I felt better when I started eating meat again, I didn't go overboard. But I do like good cold cuts with salad during summer and I like the occasional sandwich with either cold meatloaf, corned beef or roast beef, with a touch of homemade relish or chutney. The slicer does the best job at slicing the meat and our homemade bread so it not only tastes good, it looks good on the plate.
Cooking meat at home for your cold cuts is much more economical than buying it pre-sliced at the deli. So let's look at the meat to see what savings may be had. Here in my local Woolworths and Coles the prices are much higher for the sliced cold cuts you buy at the deli section. For instance, sliced and cooked corned beef at Coles is $31.90 per kilo/2.2lbs but at the same shop you can buy uncooked corned beef for $7 per kilo. It just needs to be boiled and you'll have a fine piece of meat that will sit in the fridge for a week and serve you well for lunch boxes. If you have a bit too much corned meat, then serve it up for a quick dinner one night with either salad or vegetables.
It's a similar story for roast beef. Sliced from the deli, it's $23.98 per kilo, if you buy a piece of raw Heart Smart topside beef suitable for roasting and do that in your own kitchen, you'll pay $13.99 per kilo, or $11 for a lesser grade meat. Roast pork as cold cuts is $23.99 per kilo, buy it raw and slow roast it yourself at home - $8 per kilo. You can also make up meatloaf, chicken loaf and tuna loaf, all ideal as sandwich meats and they'll be cheaper and contain no preservatives or additives if you make them at home rather than buy them precooked at the deli.
Cooking at home allows you to add your favourite herbs and spices, reduce the salt content, cut off the fat and cook it how you like it - rare or well done. Meat that you've cooked and stored in the fridge at home will last longer than cold cuts from the deli and I can slice just as much as I need. And the bonus here is that I can clean the blade every day, or between cutting jobs. I don't know how often they clean the slicing blade at the supermarket, or what they clean it with, but here I use Ecostore detergent, in clean water, with a cotton dishcloth and then it is rinsed in clean water and allowed to dry. Even though I've stood for a long time waiting at the deli counter over the years, I've never seen anyone clean the slicer blade. It's probably something that's only done after hours. I'd prefer it was done between slicing jobs.
Our slicer is a Sunbeam, and btw, I'm not sponsored in any way for this post. Hanno bought it last year and so far it's been excellent. I think it was around the $120 mark but if I keep on cooking and slicing my own cold cuts, it will pay for itself in a few more months. Do you have a slicer at home? Are you cooking your own cold cut meat?