We’re big believers in saving money at the grocery store. We’re always looking for ways to slash our spending on groceries. And we even find creative ways to get the most out of our groceries once we get home. We are penny pinchers through and through. But there are some times when we’re forced to throw our frugal philosophy aside ― and these six ingredients below are it.
Some ingredients are worth spending the big bucks on, whether it’s for flavor, because of the possibility of fraud or for our overall health. Here are six ingredients we’re willing to open our pocketbooks for.
There’s a reason there are so many cheap honey options: chances are, what you’re buying is not 100 percent real honey. Remember the honey laundering scandal of 2011? It revealed that a lot of cheap honeys that come from China are sweetened with corn syrup to mask their subpar flavor. Don’t buy into that ― spend the extra money and get local honey.
2. Balsamic Vinegar
That bottle of $6 balsamic at the supermarket isn’t the real deal balsamic that you hope it’ll be. More often than not, it’s up to 50 percent red wine vinegar that’s been colored and sweetened. If you want the real deal ― which trust us, you do ― you have to open your wallets. Yes, a bottle of genuine balsamic will set you back, but a little bit goes a long way so it’s totally worth it.
3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Yep, even olive oil is full of fraud. A recent exposé found that roughly 80 percent of extra virgin olive oils are in fact diluted with cheaper olive oils and sometimes other oils entirely. If you want the authentic stuff, you have to pay. Use it just for finishing, where the flavor of a good oil really matters.
4. Maple Syrup
Put down the pancake syrup, and make sure you get real maple syrup. Pancake syrup is made with high fructose corn syrup (which by now we all know we should avoid), caramel color, preservatives, plus artificial and natural flavors ― whereas maple syrup is made of just maple sap that’s been boiled down. The real stuff also tastes SO much better. Always opt for the real stuff, your breakfast will thank you.
Cheap chocolate isn’t made with cocoa butter ― the stuff that gives chocolate its mouthfeel ― but from cheaper oils. This not only affects the flavor, but its texture, too. When tasted next to a bar of higher quality chocolate, you’ll see that cheaper chocolate doesn’t even taste like chocolate― it tastes more like sugar than anything else.
6. Hormone- And Antibiotic-Free Meat
This is important. Yes, higher quality meat costs a whole lot more than the other options at the store. This might mean you have to eat less of the stuff, but it’s better for you, the animals and the planet. When you can, this is the choice to make.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this suggested to look for “cold pressed” to identify authentic olive oils when in fact most olive oils today are made in centrifuges and aren’t pressed at all.