“I am so into traditional cooking… but I only cook for one!” said Olivia B.
We so often do large batches of kefir, sprouted grains, nuts, etc. for large families or people who eat them every day, but this doesn’t work for Olivia.
She is wondering how to live a traditional cooking lifestyle for just herself.
This is a great question, Olivia, and I know you’re not the only one because we often hear from people who are single, married but their spouse is not on board with healthy eating, newly married without children, or “empty-nesters”.
Whatever the situation may be, on today’s #AskWardee I’m sharing five tips to help you cook traditional foods for one (or two!)… you’ll get all the benefits of the healthy, nutritious foods without as much work or waste! 🙂
Watch, listen, or read below!
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The Question: How To Cook Traditional Foods For One
Olivia B. asked:
I am so into traditional cooking. I love how meditative and yet exciting it is to make kefir or sourdough, and how I can feel the nourishment coming from homemade broth and fermented vegetables. But here’s the thing… I only cook for one!
It seems like many traditional foods (kefir, sourdough starters, kombucha, large batches of sprouted grains or nuts) were made for large families or people who consume them every day. I am single and a student in college. I live at home right now and am the only person who drinks kefir, for example (no one else is into the taste). Since I don’t drink 2 to 3 cups of it every day, I am constantly putting it to sleep in my fridge until I finish off a batch. I don’t even want to try a sourdough starter since my family members are almost all low-carb, and I can’t eat bread that fast! How should I fit a traditional cooking lifestyle for one person?
This is such a great question, Olivia. You can definitely cook traditional foods… just for one (or two)!
Here are my suggestions — they all come down to scaling down and taking advantage of the fridge/freezer!
Tip #1 — Scale Recipes Down
Nearly all traditional foods — like all recipes — can be scaled down.
Make just a quart of kefir, a small pot of beans, a small pot of rice, a small pot of broth, and one or two cups of soaked nuts.
And you can even keep a small sourdough starter, by feeding with what I call “daily maintenance amounts” as I shared in this #AskWardee 052 episode.
However, you don’t always need to scale down because…
Tip #2 — “Stop” Or “Slow” Things Down In The Fridge Or Freezer
Yes, we do tend to make big batches of things when we’re feeding families. Yet, even a normal recipe’s yield may be too much for one person. As you well know, Olivia. 🙂
So… cook reasonable amounts and freeze portions for later. For instance…
With bread, bake, then slice, then freeze. Frozen by the slice, each piece thaws and toasts easily in the toaster in single serve portions! You can do this with English muffins (slice in half before freezing), pancakes, and waffles, too!
Even cakes or quick breads can be cut into individual pieces and each frozen wrapped separately in parchment paper or plastic wrap. I do this a lot for certain family members who are the only ones eating a certain dish.
Same thing with broth, beans, rice, and soups. And again, to make it easiest for you to thaw and reheat single portions, freeze in single portions. You can use ziploc bags or invest in freezer containers. Whatever will work with your family’s freezer and budget.
And as you might know, many traditional foods are living foods — like ferments.
Putting them in the fridge slows them down — they continue to age, but slowly. Putting them in the freezer stops the aging. So continue to put your kefir in the fridge. Or freezer! And foods like sauerkraut can be frozen, too. 🙂
Keep in mind that some veggie ferments don’t freeze well (like pickles) but I’ve found that any that are shredded or chopped — like relishes, chutneys, or krauts — freeze great!
Sourdough starter keeps well in the fridge for a week at a time. So, if you only want to use it one day a week, store it in the fridge (after having been fed) for a week before pulling it out again and building it up to use.
And if you are soaking/dehydrating nuts or seeds, store them in the freezer so they’ll last longer. Really, everyone should be storing nuts in the fridge or freezer to prevent rancidity, anyway!
Tip #3 — Key Bulk Foods That Store Well
If your family has room for food storage, there are certain foods you can keep on hand that will last for years (provided they are stored in the dark and cool and away from moisture).
Take whole grains, for example. Sprouted grains (you sprout them, dry them, then store them so they’re ready to mill — here’s how).
Beans are another example of a bulk food that stores well. You’ll save money by buying bulk, yet you don’t have to worry about spoilage if you keep them in their dry state in storage, ready to cook when needed.
Want more information about how to make buying in bulk more affordable? Check out Community Food Co-Ops (What They Are & How to Find One).
Tip #4 — Prep Foods “On Demand”
If you or your family have or can invest in some key tools, you can prepare some traditional foods “on demand” rather than in large batches.
For instance, if you have a Mockmill (the home stone grain mill I recommend), you can mill your flour in exactly the quantities you need. Because whole grains store better than flour, this prevents any bulk flour purchases from going rancid and allows you to save money because you can buy larger quantities of whole grains at bulk prices.
Your mill can produce flour for bread or baked goods recipes, for coating fried foods like chicken, and even cracking grains that you cook up into porridge. Do just what you need for the meal in front of you.
(By the way, if anyone purchases the Mockmill through this link, I am throwing in 2 free eBooks! More info here.)
Another example is a waffle maker to make waffles “on demand”. You can keep batter in the fridge for a few days and make waffles as you need them. Or, if you like batch cooking, make enough for a week and freeze to pop in the toaster. We have and love this ceramic coated waffle iron.
Tip #5 — Single Serve To-Go Meals
Finally, because you’re a student, you probably find yourself packing lunches or meals for on the go, right?
Why not pre-prep a few day’s worth of lunches in convenient to-go containers or jars?
Whole grains, veggies, boiled eggs, and salads with dressings can be layered in jars or to-go containers. Put the dressing on the bottom so it doesn’t make anything soggy. Then each day, grab one on your way out the door!
- FREE Traditional Cooking Video Series
- 6 Simple Steps To Getting Started With Traditional Foods #AskWardee 013
- #AskWardee 052 — feeding your starter with daily maintenance amounts so you don’t have any extra
- Ceramic coated waffle iron
- Mockmill — get 2 free eBooks from me with your purchase
- How To Make Healing Homemade Broths & Stocks
- How To Make Milk Kefir (& why it’s so good for you!)
- Perfect Soaked Rice (Instant Pot or any pressure cooker!)
- Cooking Dried Beans
- How & Why To Soak & Dehydrate Nuts & Seeds
- How To Sprout Grains
- Sourdough English Muffins
- Oh-So Fluffy Sourdough Pancakes
- Sourdough Waffles
- 2 Sourdough Routines With Einkorn— Daily & Weekly Care
- How To Make a Sourdough Starter
- 33 Nourishing Main Dish Salads
- 25 Fermented Fruits & Chutneys
- Fermented Cranberry-Orange Relish
- Easy-To-Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs
- How To Make Sauerkraut In A Stoneware Crock
- 10 Traditional Cooking Tips For The New Wife On A Budget… With Basic Pantry & Equipment Lists!
- My Spouse Won’t Eat Real Food! Help!
- Community Food Co-Ops (What They Are & How to Find One)
The #AskWardee Show is the live weekly show devoted to answering your niggling questions about Traditional Cooking: whether it’s your sourdough starter, your sauerkraut, preserving foods, broth, superfoods or anything else to do with Traditional Cooking or your GNOWFGLINS lifestyle.
I share tips and resources, plus answer your questions about Traditional Cooking!
When: Wednesdays at 10am Pacific / 1pm Eastern
Where: Traditional Cooking School on Facebook Live
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If you cook Traditional Foods for one (or two), please share your tips in the comments!
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Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is a great help.
Millie Copper says
You’re very welcome, Lena. 🙂 So glad it is helpful.
~ Millie, TCS Customer Success Team
Sunny Rivers says
I cook from scratch for one all the time. I usually do one pot meals, and I cook up enough to make 3 servings. One portion goes in the fridge, and the other extra portion goes in the freezer.
Anything that takes more than 15 minutes to cook, I cook up as soon as I get home from the grocery store – such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, all meats, except hamburger. I let it cool, then divide into individual servings to go into the freezer.
Particularly in the winter, I do lot’s of hearty soups or stews that are ready in 10 minutes, because I can combine short cook fresh veggies with my precooked frozen veggies, meats,grains, or rice. The secret with the frozen food is to individually package.
Money saver tip: I love homemade salsa. I blend the tomatoes to crush them, and ferment for 3 days. Then I strain off and save the excess juice. I freeze both versions in pint canning jars. With the ferment, you do not need to add lemon juice to the final salsa, and it takes just a minute to combine the salsa ingredients. I use the saved juice instead of canned tomatoes in cooking things like curries, or anything that requires tomatoes. You loose the probiotic value when cooking, but the flavor is so rich it easily replaces buying canned tomatoes.
Fern Springs says
I have found that cooking in a smaller pot helps a lot.