Every month I spend approximately $600 on groceries for our family of 11, and this month has been no different, including all extra Passover food expenses. This year I’ve accomplished that by firstly spending about 50% less than usual last month, using up pantry items so I didn’t need to buy as much as usual, then using the extra $300 to buy matza, six cases of grape juice, and ground meat. That split up the large expenses so that it didn’t need to come out of one month’s budget, and everything else was able to be purchased this month.
You’ll notice when looking at my list that I don’t buy a lot of prepared or processed foods. I did buy mayonnaise for Passover even though we usually make it from scratch – I don’t have a blender set aside for Passover use that I can make it with. And though I was planning not to buy any sugar at all and to stick with honey (during the year I use sucanat and honey, no white sugar at all), my kids pleaded with me to buy some so that they can make our annual strawberry ice whip recipe. Otherwise most of our groceries are ingredients in the unprocessed state.
Since I bought the bulk of the groceries for the entire month, what I’ve bought is intended to last through the middle of April, not just the week of Passover. (I have money remaining to buy more vegetables, once tomorrow and then again in two weeks.) Here’s my list of basic ingredients, amounts, and prices I paid:
- 70 lb chicken wings – .99 lb
- 30 lb ground meat – 3.49 lb
- 3 lb chicken cutlets – 3.79 lb
- 3 lb fresh beef tongue – 12.59 lb
- 20 lb raw beef liver – 2.99 lb
- 6 lb shredded mozzarella cheese – $4.99 lb
- 4- 8 oz farmer cheese – (rubbed out on receipt, I think it was something like 2.99 each)
- 40 dozen pastured eggs – 24 dozen for 1.60 dozen/16 dozen for 1.25 dozen – from two different farmers (these were my lowest prices yet and I was quite pleased!)
- 7 gallons raw milk
- 100 lb potatoes – 9.95/50 lb
- 80 lb yams – 13.50/40 lb
- 50 lb onions – 30.50 (last month I paid $14 for 50 lb – when I asked why the big jump I was told the hurricane in Chile drove up a lot of produce prices)
- 30 lb carrots – 2.99/5 lb (will need at least 50 lb more)
- 3 pkg romaine hearts – 2.29 each
- 1 case grapefruit (40 ct) – 15.50
- 1 case navel oranges (88 ct) – 18.75
- 20 lb clementines – 3.99/5 lb
- 10 fresh pineapples – 1.29 each
- 40 lb apples – .33 lb
- 45 lb frozen berries – 2.49/3 lb
- 4 lb fresh strawberries – 3 lb/$5
- 18 lb. cabbage – .39 lb
- 5 heads celery – .69 each
- 8 heads cauliflower – .99 each
- 3 calabaza squash – 1.49 each
- 3.5 lb sliced baby portabello mushrooms – .69/8 oz
- horseradish root – .80
- 1 pkg garlic – .99
- 10 lb cucumbers – .99 lb
- 4 lb red peppers – 1.99 lb
- extra virgin olive oil – 8.99 (3)
- 1 small jar mayonnaise 3.19
- honey – 5.29
- 5 lb white sugar – 2.99
- 1 container raisins – 3.65 (plus have 30 lb I bought six weeks ago)
- 2 cans pickles – 1.39 each
- 2 cans crushed pineapple – 1.29 each
- 2 cans sliced green olives – 2.89 each
- 2 cans sliced black olives – 2.89 each
- 2 bottles lemon juice – 1.79 each
- 1 small jar apple cider vinegar (this part of receipt is faded – was under $2, though)
- 5 lb hand shmura matza – 16.99 lb
- 1 lb hand shmura spelt matza – 25.99 lb
- 3 lb organic spelt machine matza – 3.29 lb
- 6 lb machine shmura matza – 5.99 lb
- 1 lb matza farfel – left from last year, I think someone gave it to us
- potato starch – .50 each (bought after Pesach last year)
- matza meal – .50 each (bought after Pesach last year)
- (4) 6 oz pkg ground walnuts – 1.99 each
- grape juice – 2.50 bottle (this was 50% off the regular price so I bought 48 bottles in order to have enough until the fall when it goes on sale again – I can’t bear paying full price!)
- 25 lb sliced almonds – 102.67
- 25 lb raw cashews – 67
The quinoa I ordered didn’t end up coming in, so I decided to do without it for Pesach – I just bought 25 lb last month and since when I got it, transferred it by pouring directly into a clean bag in a clean bucket (and it’s stayed closed since I haven’t yet used it), I do have the option to use it for Passover.
I didn’t buy any butter or extra virgin coconut oil because it’s so expensive; instead I’ve rendered a huge amount of beef fat for tallow (which I got free from a butcher – chicken fat is suddenly in demand this time of year and expensive but I guess using beef fat is beyond the pale, lol!) and will use that for most cooking during Passover. I’ve used rendered beef fat and cooked with tallow before, but never tried to do without butter or coconut oil! I’ll use olive oil for salads and to saute anything for dairy meals (though I generally avoid doing any cooking with olive oil since it isn’t heat stable). We already baked mocha squares with the tallow and though my dd doing the baking was put off at the idea, it turned out great.
Because my kids prefer chicken wings to any other kind of chicken and they’re so much cheaper than other cuts, it’s a very affordable protein option for us. This month I decided that since I spent so little on chicken, and there was still room in the budget, that I could for once splurge on fresh beef tongue in honor of the holiday. My kids love this but it is so outrageously expensive that I haven’t bought any for years. I used to buy it twice a year when I lived on the West Coast, since it would be marked down to about $4 lb after the holidays. Then I’d put it in my freezer and have it on hand for the next holiday. It’s hard to look at the very small amount that 3 lb of tongue ($42) makes, though – I’ll have to serve another main dish with it since that alone would be very skimpy! But all of that notwithstanding, it will be special for the holiday and I know it will be appreciated.
I still have about 3/4 case of napa cabbage (I bought two cases over a month ago for $7 each). Despite my efforts to use it all quickly, forty huge heads of napa is a lot to use! In order to keep it fresh, I wrapped each head of napa in a clean plastic bag, pressing out all the extra air before closing it well. Now weeks later, they still are fresh and I’ll have plenty to use in place of lettuce for salads, in addition to having it as a cooked vegetable.
Tomorrow I’ll do another shopping trip for more fresh vegetables so we’ll be set for the week (we use a lot more of everything during Passover than during a regular week). Dh wants to start drinking fresh vegetable juices, and fortunately our juicer has never been used (it’s been sitting around for over 2 years now :)) so we can use it for Passover. For juicing I’ll need even more vegetables than usual. I’ll probably get a 50 lb bag of carrots, and more cukes, beets, peppers, tomatoes, etc.
What does your shopping list look like?