Buying British: January Review

Buying_British

One of our challenges for this year is to try and only eat British food. January has been a difficult month and we have made some exceptions to ease us in. Plus, I cheated when we went out for dinner the other day and ordered everything that I can not currently have – pasta, lemon pie, yum, yum. Ok, I do feel a little guilty. So, what are we actually eating you may ask?

MEAT

Meat has not really been an issue. We mainly buy fresh rather than frozen, and freeze what we don’t need straight away. The majority of packaging in the supermarkets lists whether the meat is British or not. We have found the best place to buy British meat is actually Lidl (we only have a choice of Asda, Sainsbury’s or Lidl in our town). The meat is clearly labelled, there is a great selection and at a reasonable price. One thing to look out for is sausages – they may be produced in the UK but using EU pork – so read the labels carefully.

VEGETABLES

January is a very barren month for vegetables. We are basically restricted to the classic root vegetables – carrots, parsnips, brussel sprouts, leeks, cauliflower. We have found Lidl to generally be the best place for these – although Asda do have British mushrooms! British potatoes are widely available everywhere and versatile when meal planning.

FRUIT

Oh fruit. I miss you very much. The humble apple and pear are the only things to pass my lips in a long time. I miss raspberries desperately. And bananas! The only replacement I have found are frozen UK berries in our local farm shop at a rather high price, but when needs must. It is amazing where our fruit actually comes from. Most supermarkets do label them so have a read when you next go shopping.

DAIRY

Eggs are easy. Milk not a problem. Yoghurt – make sure you check the labels – but should be fine. Other items, you need to be careful to read the labels but we seem to be big producers of milk in the UK, so milk based products are not a problem. All I can say is thank god for British mature cheddar.

CONDIMENTS

This is a bit of a problem. I have found a mayonnaise produced locally, using local rapeseed oil. We have resorted to ‘UK produced’ items, the ingredients may not be from the UK but it is bottled or manufactured in the UK. Cheating slightly?!

DRINKS/CEREAL/SWEETS

For a lot of things we have been resorting to ‘UK Produced’. Coffee I can get UK roasted and ground and we have stuck to Yorkshire tea and Cadbury’s chocolate. It may all seem like cheating but I would not be a very nice person without coffee and at least we are supporting UK industries. You have to be careful with cereals – to play it safe we have been buying Scottish rolled porridge oats. British bread is available and I have been utilising my bread maker with British flour. I have bought some Spelt Grain which is UK grow, but I think it is going to take some experimenting cooking wise. Pasta is a no, no. I am a bit sad about that. Thankfully, there are UK produced wines, and we are in Cider country after all! Squash or fruit cordial is difficult but not impossible. You might have to pay more for these things though.

Overall: Some things are more expensive as you have to buy products from small businesses and local producers, some things are cheaper as they are seasonal so in abundance. The weird thing is that at this time of year you naturally crave heavy foods such as potatoes and meat, and that is actually what is available and in season! However, finding the information on packaging is probably one of the more difficult things. Fruit, veg and meat have sorted out their labelling but other items need to up their game.

P.s. Do you like my ‘B’? I designed it to represent by Buying British blog posts in case I want to rant and ramble without any useful photos. It means you can keep an out for the B if you want to track our progress.

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