How do you save on produce? Now there’s a question I get a lot! My family eats a lot of fresh produce. My husband is HUGE on eating an apple a day (or banana, or orange) and my 4 year old would live on fruits and veges if I let her! Not a bad problem to have – but fresh produce can get expensive!
I thought I’d outline a few “tricks of the trade” and common sense strategies that I try to put into practice.
Know what’s in season. Obviously if something is plentiful, it will have the best sale price (and flavor). If it’s not on sale, opt for frozen. Fruits and veges are frozen at their peak, so they are almost as good as fresh. Almost.
Look for manager closeout or soon to expire foods. If you plan on using the item for dinner that night, you can get away with purchasing a soon to spoil item. Example: super ripe avocado = yummy guacamole.
Shop Farmer’s Markets or Roadside Stands. You not only save money but you support local agriculture! Strawberry and apple picking are 2 events we look forward to every year. In fact, we do it a few times each season. And I never pass by a roadside stand. It’s just too much fun!
Grow Your Own Food. We plant a vegetable and herb garden every year. We also grow our own sprouts indoors, which my daughter will eat by the jar-full! I have even been known to can tomatoes once or twice. I know there are many of you who are EXPERTS at this and really save big throughout the year.
Don’t buy EVERYTHING Organic. In a perfect world, everything I buy would be organic…but until that day comes, here are the top 12 foods you should buy organic as they have the highest traces of pesticides: Nectarines, Celery, Pears, Peaches, Apples, Cherries, Strawberries, Imported Grapes, Spinach, Potatoes, Bell Peppers and Red Raspberries.
Shop at Aldi. My mother in law always has the BEST apples and oranges on her countertop. She shops at Aldi.
Do Your Prep Work. As soon as I get home from the store with my fruits and veges….I go to work. I make watermelon and canteloupe balls, carrot and celery sticks, chop my bell peppers, rinse and dry my berries and put them in a large divided vege tray with a lid. The 2nd shelf of our fridge is dedicated to just this container. This makes it more likely that we’ll eat everything I purchased before it spoils. Wash your salad greens and herbs, wrap them in a damp paper towel and seal them in a zip bag. This keeps them fresh longer and ready to go when you need them.
Use produce saving containers and bags to extend the life of your produce.
Re-Purpose. If you are using celery and broccoli in a vege tray on Monday, consider throwing the leftovers into a soup later in the week. If you bought too much green pepper that week, chop them and freeze them for chili later. If you purchased limes for your Corona, use the leftover to sqeeze on your fish dinner.
Use Catalinas. Catalinas generated by purchasing other items can be applied towards produce on your next order.
Apply Coupon Overage. Some stores such as Walmart allow you to earn Coupon Overage (coupon value exceeds the price of the item you are purchasing), which can be applied towards other items in your transaction, such as fresh produce!
How does your family save on fresh produce? Please share by leaving your comment below.