Let’s face it . . . buying fresh produce can get very expensive, especially if you aren’t buying fruits and veggies in season! But there are ways to save, and they don’t include clipping coupons. Here are some out-of -the-box ways to save on produce.
If your handy in the kitchen, you might want to try canning produce that you’ve bought in season. Produce that cans well includes: peaches and pears, apples (make apple sauce!), tomatoes (make it into salsa!), and green beans. Check out this excellent canning book for beginners, reviewed over at Modern Home Modern Baby if you want a sense of what recipes are available for the modern canner.
You can find farmers markets in just about every city, everywhere. They are usually held once a week. When most people think “farmers market” they think high quality, organic produce . . . which can sound expensive. But you can sometimes find great deals on local produce! I recently bought some fresh tomatoes that were priced for half as much as the hot house tomatoes at our local grocery store. Even if you aren’t sure if you’ll like shopping this way, definitely check it out!
When your family’s favorite berries go on sale for $0.98/lb, itâ€™s time to stock-up! Clean and prep berries and other produce and then freeze. It will stay good as long as it’s sealed properly for up to 3â€“5 months. Tip: First spread the prepped produce on a cookie sheet and freeze. Once it’s all frozen, put it into a gallon-size freezer bag . . . that you won’t have to worry about it sticking together!
The easiest way to save money on produce is to buy whatever’s in season. Buying fresh peaches in the middle of the winter is definitely going to cost you, so if your family loves them, make sure to eat a lot of them during the summer months. But if you really want those peaches in the middle of the winter, you’ll save money by buying them canned or frozen. Frozen produce is actually fresher than most fresh produce because it’s frozen as soon as it’s picked!
Here are some common fruits and veggies that are considered “in season” during these particular seasons:
Fall: September – November
Winter: December – February
Summer: June – August
Green Soybeans (Edamame)
Black Eyed Peas
What tips can you offer that help you stretch your produce dollars?