Fruits and veggies are a staple around our house, so we are always looking for ways to save money on them.
There’s very little difference in frozen fruits and veggies versus fresh. In fact, because they are flash frozen, they’ve usually got more vitamins/minerals/antioxidants than the ‘fresh’ ones that have been sitting on a truck and in your grocer’s deli for several days. I buy 20 bags of any of our favorite frozen fruit every time they are a dollar a bag.
If you don’t have a deep freezer, or two like we have (4 kids, remember), look for a used one on Craigslist for about $50. Yes, you can end up paying a bit more for electricity if you buy used, but remember that you can always trade up once you know you’ll use it.
Consider joining a Coop or CSA. For about $30 a week, you can have a bucket (think laundry basket sized) of assorted fruit and veggies for your family. CSAs help you by giving you (usually) organic produce at a significant savings and allow you to try new things. CSAs help your community by providing income for local farmers, many of whom practice sustainable growing practices. Look for a CSA to cut your food costs. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to come help out at the farm once or twice a season, exposing your kids to farming which may help them love fruits and veggies, and will give them valuable insight into where food begins.
Farmer’s Markets and Grocery Store Sales
Fruit in season is always cheaper. Look for peaches, melons, plums and berries in the summer. Grapes, dates, and limes are cheaper in winter months. Apples are usually a good price in Autumn, but honestly, they’re inexpensive all the time so make those a year-round staple. When you find an exceptional price on something like a flat of berries or a bushel of peaches, wash and freeze on a baking sheet. Once hard, dump them in a gallon freezer bag and store in the freezer.
Prioritize Waning Fruit
Remind your children to eat the fruit that is on it’s way out. When your apples are getting soft, make apple pancakes or apple sauce. When your bananas are too soft, whip up a quick batch of banana bread. Brown bananas can also be frozen (sans peel) and used for future smoothies. Use peaches, plums, and berries that are getting soft in smoothies or yogurt. And, most important, don’t be afraid to eat the rest of the bag if you find one bad berry or grape (ie molded). Just remove the bad one and any around it, and discard. The rest are perfectly fine. Don’t be a food waster!
Use Fruit as a Centerpiece
This really isn’t about saving money on fruit, but saving money all around. I used to decorate our tables with expensive fresh flowers. Now I have bowls of fruit everywhere, and we still have beautiful fresh colors without any waste.
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