How to save money with weird WWII food hacks

Don’t you dare throw away those peelings


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With most foodstuffs being rationed during the War, people had to find new, innovative ways in order to get the most nutrition out of the smallest amount of food.

Although some of the ideas are a bit dated – most people use olive oil rather than lard – the wartime cuisine is as relevant as ever for anyone who wants to eat healthy food at a competitive price.

Here are a few wartime tips and ideas to get you started.

Oats avec Mince

Dishes that contain mince, such as spaghetti bolognese or shepherd’s pie, are already cost-effective. However, an old wartime tip was to use porridge oats.

The idea was that as oats expand when heated, they cause the mince to expand when mixed in with it – making more food out of less mince. Because oats are wholegrain, it also increases the dish’s nutritional value.

I splashed out on Scott's-but own brand works just as well

I splashed out on Scott’s, but own brand works just as well

The many uses of Stale bread

Bread easily goes stale, and although it’s wont make a dynamite sandwich, you can use it as a substitute for fresh bread in your cooking. Croutons for a soup or bread crumbs for a fish dish are two ideas.

Stale bread has exactly the same nutritional value as normal bread, it’s just dried out – so there’s no risk of getting ill from it.

These Mackerel fish balls use stale bread to hold it together

Mackerel fish balls with stale bread to hold it together

Use your peelings (and bones)

Carrot peelings work well in any soup

Vegetable skins and animal bones are often thrown out as undesirables, but like everything else they can be used for a very cheap dish (such as a soup).

Simply bung it all into a pot of boiling water, add any spices or herbs you want and let it simmer for a bit. It’ll take a while – two or three hours – but it doesn’t require you to do anything save from the occasional stir.

Combine with croutons from the stale bread, to create a free extra meal.

Leftover dinners

There are a whole host of wartime recipes on the internet, most of them being very healthy. Perhaps the most famous/notorious is Woolton Pie – a vegetable pie topped either with potatoes or pastry.

The pie is easy to make, cheap and very flexible – basically allowing you to add any vegetable you want, making it the perfect dish to use up all the last vegetables hanging around the cupboard and salad tray, or even leftover cooked vegetables .

Woolton Pie- before

Woolton Pie – before

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Woolton Pie – after

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