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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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  • [January 15, 2016] - It's National Soup Month so this month's posts will focus on soups. Yum!
  • [February 1, 2016] - An interesting report on why you should always choose organic tea verses non-organic: Toxic Tea (pdf format)
  • Sticky Post - Warning: 4ever Recap reusable canning lids. The reports are growing daily of these lids losing their seal during storage. Some have lost their entire season's worth of canning to these seal failures!

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Monday, December 06, 2010

Frugal Kitchens 101 - Frugal Produce

Frugal Kitchens 101

On of the biggest complaints with respect to fresh fruits and vegetables is their expense.  Fresh fruits and vegetables can be expensive depending on your location and where you are purchasing them.  However, there are a lot of excellent produce deals out there if you know what to look for and where to look.  This week's Frugal Kitchens 101 discusses how to find a few deals on fresh produce that won't break the bank.

  • shop in season -  Produce is cheapest is bought locally in season BUT for imported produce (eg. clementines, mangos) they are cheapest according to their local season.  That means in our area if I want the best prices for clementines I buy them in late October to late November and again late December to mid-January.  If I want the best prices in mangos I look for them in the grocery stores mid to late July when they will go for 14/$3.99 verses 99¢ each throughout the rest of the year.
  • shop locally - The best produce prices will always be produce grown close to home, quite often well under the 100 Mile Radius of your home.  
  • know local produce - It goes without saying that if you don't know what is available locally you can't take advantage of it.  When it comes to produce the following are very inexpensive here:  peaches, pears, plums, apricots, apples, cucumbers, potatoes, onions, carrots, cabbage, squash, rutabaga, beets and strawberries.  Mid range priced produce includes: tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, blueberries, green/wax beans.  High priced produce includes: corn, Brussels sprouts, raspberries, blackberries.  This is based on our local availability and local prices which will differ significantly depending on your location.  At our summer home citrus fruit is extremely low priced in season but a lot of other produce I'm used to getting inexpensively is quite pricey.
  • grow what you can - Honestly growing whatever produce you can is a huge help.  Focus on growing produce that is more expensive to buy or produce you can't easily buy in the stores.  Don't waste space growing low yielding crops like corn and potatoes in a home garden.  
  • buy in bulk - Normally potatoes will go for $7.99 for 50 lb or 16¢ per lb here in season but at the same time a 10 lb bag will go for $1.99 or 20¢ per lb.  The better deal is the 50 lb bag but only if you preserve some of them for use during the late winter when potatoes here will creep as high as 30¢ per lb.  The same savings can be had for a lot of vegetables!  
  • know your grades -  Number One or Grade A apples means no blemishes; number twos have minor blemishes and wind fallen are exactly that, wind fallen apples that will likely have bruising from falling.  A bushel of number ones at our prices will cost about $8 depending on the variety but number twos will cost about half that while wind fallen less than number twos.  If you are using the apples for juice or sauce there is no need to buy number ones.  Even number twos are great for eating so again there's no need to buy number ones.  Windfallen apples can be used for juice and sauce as well so again knowing the grades can help determine use and seriously the bottom line is unless you want almost picture perfect apples, number ones are a waste of your money.  The same thing applies to most fruits and vegetables and while there are times number ones are what you want in most cases number twos will give you the same time while saving money.  
  • know how to preserve in season produce - My rule of thumb for any produce coming into the house unless grown or acquired for a particular reason is ⅓ to ½ is preserved to later use.  In this way I am constantly adding to my pantry stocks.  Preserving includes canning, freezing, fermenting and drying when it comes to produce


2 food lovers commented:

LindaG said...

I need to learn canning. And I need space to do it.
But thank you for this. Great information. :)

Garden Gnome said...

You are quite welcome :)