The extreme heat in my part of the world has led to high prices in the markets, especially for vegetables. Here are some tips to help you cut down on your produce bill no matter where you live:
- Buy vegetables in season. Instead of buying according to your recipe, choose your menu according to the prices. Learn to cook unfamiliar, but inexpensive, vegetables like turnips or celery root.
- Buy more vegetables and less fruit, which usually costs more. Prepare a container of cut up raw vegetables for easy snacking.
- Use up nearly all your produce before the next shopping trip. Adjust your list according to how much you used that week and any special circumstances.
- Use as much of the vegetable or fruit as you can. Peeling removes much of the flesh and the vitamins too. Don’t believe me? Weigh your potatoes before and after peeling. It’s better to scrub the vegetables with water and a stiff brush, cook the vegetables, and then remove the peel. Use raw peels, leaves and roots for soup stock.
- Dried vegetables, like beans and split peas, are usually cheaper than fresh and contain many of the same vitamins.
- Get together with your neighbors to buy in bulk. This works for large bunches of herbs, organic foods, grains, and more. You’ll save on shopping trips too.
- Learn to choose and store produce correctly, and don’t forget about it.
- Preparing vegetables the day before you cook encourages you to cook more. It does reduce the vitamin content somewhat, but it’s better than letting the vegetables go to waste.
- Make friends with your grocer. You may get access to misshapen or older produce that is still edible.
- Get good at using up leftovers. Learn to make soup, patties, and quiches without a recipe.
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