Thursday, March 30, 2017

Stocking Up on Seasonal Produce

Photographer: Heidi Finger
By: Heidi Finger

It’s true what some say, eating healthy can be expensive.  But, it can also be affordable. One of the tricks is to buy what is in season. For example, right now it is early spring, if you go into any grocery store you will see strawberries on sale.  At two of the grocery stores in town they are priced at $1 per pound this week and another store have them as low as $0.77 but limit 4. This is the time to stock up!  We have bought almost 50 pounds of strawberries, and we will use them all.  We are eating a lot of fresh strawberries for snacks, in packed lunches and for dessert. We also freeze bags and bags of them.  Because, really, who can eat 50 pounds of strawberries without them going moldy. My husband has a smoothie at breakfast every single day and his favorite ingredient is frozen strawberries. The kids and I also like an occasional smoothie as well.  Right now is the only time to get the strawberries this cheap so we get as many as we can to last until next spring.

Bananas are also a good one to stock up on. Some stores have a discount corner or bin where they put the perfectly brown spotted aged bananas.  These bananas are perfect for freezing and later use in smoothies or to make nice cream. Another way to process the ripe bananas is to dry them and make chips. If you are drying them yourself when they are ripe there is no need to add sugar like many drying companies do.  Yours will be healthier and cheaper!

One of the traps you might get in if you start getting excited about stocking up on fruits and vegetables is buying the wrong types.  For instance, if you buy a whole bunch (pun intended) of lettuce, there is no way to preserve it for future use. You can go for a walk through the grocery store in the frozen and canned isle. If you see it canned or frozen, go ahead and stock up on the fresh produce and process it at home.  If you are processing it yourself you will keep more nutrients in the produce and won’t have all of the extra chemicals and sodium that canning companies put in.

You can do an internet search or check Pinterest for charts of when a particular crop is in season. They are available for all areas of the country or world with easy access. At these times of year, check with different grocery stores or farmers markets for the best prices.

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