8 Ways to Save on Produce
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
A lot of people think that they cannot afford to eat healthfully. I disagree. We eat a lot of fresh (and sometimes frozen) fruits and vegetables, and I fit them in our budget. Food for thought: this week I bought 5# of Red Delicious apples for $2.99, the same price as a bag of Oreos!

See this post for a picture of fresh fruit and veggies bought for under $25.

How can you save money on produce?

1. I buy through loss leaders. A loss leader is something sold dirt cheap on the front of a grocery store ad, with the intention of getting you through the door so you'll do all your shopping at that store.

2.I buy in season. In December, we ate frozen veggies (10/$10 at Kroger, they run the sale 2x a month or so), kale, cabbage, carrots. Now kale is a little more expensive, but kiwis and oranges are dirt cheap. Last week, I paid 20 cents for navel oranges, and a quarter each for kiwis, and apples are really cheap right now, too.

As we head through spring and summer, we'll eat nectarines and plums as they get cheaper. Around the end of June, corn gets cheap - 6 or 8 for a dollar.

3. I usually don't buy organic, even though I would like to. I do keep an index card in my wallet with a list of the "top 10 dirtiest" so I can avoid them, or at least be aware and make informed choices. This doesn't mean I would never buy spinach, but it does mean that I might skip strawberries except for a couple times per year, peel the peaches, and wash the bell peppers thoroughly. I don't worry as much about bananas and oranges, because they have a thick peel (I do not use zest or candy the peels, though); but I always peel the potatoes (even though *I* love chunky skins on mashed potatoes!)

My goal with organic eating is to make changes where it will have the most impact, which, for kids, means I want to start with organic milk. Wash your veggies, or use a veggie wash (make your own!) and don't stress too much.

4. Also, I always hit the markdown rack. Our local Kroger marks down produce in the evening - 4-5# bags of bananas for 99 cents, or this week I got 2 4-packs of organic bell peppers for 99 cents each.

5. I'm growing my own. I make my own organic sprouts (you need a mason jar, water, and beans - it's easy!) and planted a garden. I haven't harvested much from our little garden, but the spinach, radishes, and chard are doing well and I've started the peppers indoors. (The lettuce and beans never came up.) Note: Never sprout kidney beans!

6. I buy frozen when it's cheaper (and it almost always is, for broccoli). Frozen veggies have as many vitamins as fresh, are picked when they are at their peak, and are already prepped. When I open a bag of frozen broccoli, I don't have any waste. Kroger very often runs 10/$10 sales on their frozen veggies, and I stock up. Other stores often run similar sales; a good BirdsEye coupon + a loss leader sale can even get you veggies for free!

7. I shop off the beaten path. Ethnic grocery stores usually have rock bottom prices. When I lived in Denver, I shopped at KoMart, a Korean market. In Houston, I shop at Fiesta Mart or FoodTown, which are Mexican markets. (I usually only buy produce there, the prices on other items are much higher than other stores!) Throughout summer, farmers markets and roadside stands can offer great deals.

8. I always cruise the produce aisles of every grocery store, because you'll never know when you'll get a deal. Then, I change the menu plan accordingly. One week, I happened by a display of eggplant and did a double take. They were marked 25¢ - not per pound, but a quarter each! I bought a ton and we had eggplant in spicy tomato sauce, eggplant with white beans, and eggplant dip that week!

How do you save money on fruits and vegetables?

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 2/24/2009 08:26:00 AM | Permalink | |