fruit http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3918/all en-US Is a Farm Share a Smart Buy for Your Household? http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-farm-share-a-smart-buy-for-your-household <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-a-farm-share-a-smart-buy-for-your-household" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_fresh_veggies_000080643373.jpg" alt="Man deciding if a CSA is a smart buy for his household" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>CSA is the acronym for Community Supported Agriculture. For about $400 to $650 a season (usually June to October), you can purchase a &quot;share&quot; of vegetables and fruits from a local, most likely organic, farm or group of farms. Payment is usually due up front, which is a financial help to small farmers. In return for this payment, you receive a weekly box of fresh produce. In some areas, you can also buy smaller half-shares for less cost. You support local agriculture, you eat <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-buy-organic-and-still-be-frugal" target="_blank">farm-fresh produce</a>, and it can be a lot of fun to try new foods.</p> <p>CSAs are a great concept. However, before you jump in, ask yourself: Would a share be a smart buy for my household?</p> <h2>1. Are You a Fan of the TV Show, <em>Chopped</em>?</h2> <p>Odds are, if you love <em>Chopped</em>, you'll love a CSA box. It's kind of like that. You get a mystery box of ingredients, and you need to make something tasty. It's actually better, because you don't get stupid things like orange gummy worms or vegemite. A CSA box can bring some serious fun back to cooking.</p> <h2>2. Are You Ready to Embrace Your Inner Pioneer?</h2> <p>Food preservationists, rejoice! If you buy a CSA share, you probably can't eat it all in a week, and you'll need to preserve some of your bounty. If your idea of a good time involves canning, dehydrating, blanching, or making freezer meals, a CSA share is ideal. Bonus: It's really nice, in mid-winter, to pull some blanched corn out of the freezer or open a bag of dehydrated berries.</p> <h2>3. What If You Hate Some of the Box Contents?</h2> <p>That is indeed part of the &quot;danger,&quot; which is a strong word, but you get my meaning. Personally, I abhor breadfruit, no matter what is done to it, including adding gobs of mayonnaise and calling it &quot;almost like potato salad.&quot; I ask around to see if anyone wants my giant breadfruit and if not, well, I throw it into the compost, where it will still do some good. It's fine to ask your share organization what sorts of produce you might expect to receive.</p> <h2>4. Do You Have Time for Food Prep?</h2> <p>Once you pick up that box, it's time to deal. You will need to sort through your produce and determine what needs to be used first. I have had fruits that needed to be eaten right away, some vegetables I could refrigerate, mushrooms that were a tad limp, and others that needed to be washed and stored, like leafy greens. This isn't something you will feel like doing on a Wednesday night. Some nights I just want to eat a hamburger and watch <em>House of Cards</em>. It's best if you can get your box on a weekend, when you have time to sort and clean. Ask about what days your CSA delivers or is available for pick-up.</p> <h2>5. Do You Eat Out a Lot?</h2> <p>If you do, this is not the program for you. Shares are for people who cook and eat at home most of the time.</p> <h2>6. Do You Like to Learn New Recipes?</h2> <p>My CSA helpfully includes recipes, but not all do. You may need to dig through cookbooks or hit the Internet for answers to your questions such as &quot;how to cook a parsnip&quot; or &quot;things to do with kale.&quot; Winging it isn't a good use of the money you have spent (witness my Okinawan sweet potato fries &mdash; yuck).</p> <h2>7. What Kind of Food Does Your Family Like?</h2> <p>Just because you feel like your family &quot;ought&quot; to be eating more fruits and vegetables doesn't mean that they will. My kid still won't touch a tomato, not even one of the pretty heirloom purple ones. The point is, just because you bought the box, your family may not be thrilled about eating the contents.</p> <p>If a CSA share is too much of a commitment, consider instead supporting local agriculture by shopping at farmers markets, or patronizing grocery stores that feature local produce.</p> <p><em>Have you ever belonged to a CSA? What was the hardest produce to use up?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-farm-share-a-smart-buy-for-your-household">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">The Produce Worker&#039;s Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-off-season-foods-that-are-destroying-your-grocery-budget">5 Off-Season Foods That Are Destroying Your Grocery Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-reloaded-is-eating-more-produce-the-secret-to-happiness-and-wellbeing">Wise Bread Reloaded: Is Eating More Produce the Secret to Happiness and Wellbeing?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-this-not-that-at-the-farmers-market">Buy This — Not That — at the Farmer&#039;s Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping buy local community supported agriculture CSA fruit healthy produce vegetables Thu, 31 Mar 2016 09:30:25 +0000 Marla Walters 1677897 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Delicious and Easy Ways to Enjoy Canned Peaches http://www.wisebread.com/15-delicious-and-easy-ways-to-enjoy-canned-peaches <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-delicious-and-easy-ways-to-enjoy-canned-peaches" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000026177662_Large.jpg" alt="delicious recipes for canned peaches" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you sick of the current, in-season fruits? Can't eat another apple or orange? How about a summery peach, instead? Peaches are extremely versatile, especially when they are canned. Here are 15 ideas for things to do with canned peaches.</p> <h2>1. Peach Smoothie</h2> <p>Move over, kale. This frothy, appetizing smoothie will remind you that summer is coming. Combine a 15-ounce can of peaches, a small handful of ice cubes, one small non-fat vanilla yogurt, and a &frac14; cup of orange juice in a blender. Whirl until smooth. You could also toss in some blueberries or bananas as a yummy variation.</p> <h2>2. Try the Lo-Cal Plate</h2> <p>Traditionally, the lo-cal plate consisted of a couple of peach halves, a cup of cottage cheese, some sliced tomatoes, and dry toast. As a kid, I was always fascinated by this offering in diners, and liked to occasionally order it&hellip; because you know, it's pretty good! It's a strange combination, but it really does make a nice, light lunch.</p> <h2>3. Peach &quot;Moonshine&quot;</h2> <p>No, it's not a true moonshine, but peach-infused vodka is nice thing to have around to make a summery cocktail. Add to a little sparkling water or inexpensive champagne.</p> <p>To make your own peach-infused vodka, take a clean, dry canning jar (I like a two-quart size). Add peaches to the jar, and pour vodka over on top. Cover with the canning lid and ring. Put in a dark, cool place to &quot;age.&quot; It only needs to steep for about a week. Strain, and then use liquid in cocktails. It makes a great gift, too!</p> <h2>4. Satisfying Salsa</h2> <p>If you have not yet tried peach salsa, you are seriously missing out. A warning though: It's incredibly hard to <strong>stop</strong> eating it.</p> <p>Here's how to make peach salsa:</p> <ul> <li>1 15-oz can of peaches, drained</li> <li>2 15-oz cans diced tomatoes (Do not use the kind with Italian seasonings.)</li> <li>1 red onion, finely diced</li> <li>1 cup finely chopped cilantro</li> <li>1 t minced garlic</li> <li>1 minced fresh jalapeno pepper</li> <li>1 fresh lime, squeezed (I like to zest some of the fresh lime into the salsa, too.)</li> <li>Salt and pepper to taste</li> </ul> <p>Combine all ingredients. Serve with tortilla chips.</p> <h2>5. Pork n' Peaches</h2> <p>Some meats go really well with fruits &mdash; like crushed pineapple in a meatloaf, or apples with lamb. For pork, think peaches. Canned ones work well.</p> <p>Here is an easy recipe: Season thin pork chops and brown in a tablespoon of oil on both sides. Combine half of a 15-oz can of the peach juice, &frac14; cup of brown sugar, &frac12; teaspoon of cornstarch, &frac12; teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and about a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar into a bowl. When well-mixed, add to the pork chops in the pan and stir until thickened. Slice remaining peaches and add to the pan, and stir just until warmed through.</p> <p>Serve with wild rice and green beans.</p> <h2>6. Better Barbecue Sauce</h2> <p>Whirl a can of drained peaches in the blender until smooth. Add to your favorite barbecue sauce recipe or, if you are a giant cheater like me, add to prepared barbecue sauce, along with a little Sriracha. This is great over ribs.</p> <h2>7. Jazz Up Your Oatmeal</h2> <p>To instant oatmeal, add brown sugar, chopped, canned peaches, and a dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt. It's an amazing way to start your day.</p> <h2>8. Peach Ice Cream</h2> <p>Yearning for some fresh peach ice cream? I love it, too, but it's a bit of a project to make actual ice cream.</p> <p>Here is a quick &quot;cheater&quot; recipe:</p> <ul> <li>1 pint heavy whipping cream</li> <li>1 14-oz. can of sweetened, condensed milk (not &quot;evaporated&quot; milk)</li> <li>1 can peaches, well drained, chopped</li> </ul> <p>Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold in the peaches and condensed milk. Pour into a container and freeze overnight, for best results.</p> <h2>9. Super-Easy Peach Cobbler</h2> <p>Need a dessert that goes together really well with stuff you likely already have in your refrigerator and pantry? Try this easy <a href="http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/classic-bisquick-peach-cobbler/a2efbfa6-3233-4f7a-bf5b-43ce62bd1055">peach cobbler</a>. The use of Bisquick makes it extra-fast.</p> <h2>10. Decadent Breakfast</h2> <p>My Aunt Joyce's lovely start to the day involves draining a 15-oz can of peaches, and dividing into two bowls. Then she drizzles with heavy whipped cream. Are you drooling yet?</p> <h2>11. Browned and Broiled</h2> <p>Preheat your oven broiler. Drain peach halves and dot with butter and cinnamon. Watching carefully, broil until light brown. These are delicious with ice cream or whipped cream.</p> <h2>12. Superfast Cocktails</h2> <p>Daiquiris look complicated, but they are really quite easy. Combine half of a 15-oz can of peaches, a can of frozen lime juice, a can of of light rum, two tablespoons of the reserved peach juice, and a teaspoon of powdered sugar. Add a cup of ice and whirl in blender. Cheers!</p> <h2>13. The Infamous &quot;Dump Cake&quot;</h2> <p>Named because of its inelegant assembly method, the dump cake is still about the fastest cake around. &quot;Dump&quot; two 15-oz cans of peaches into a 9x15 pan. Sprinkle with white or yellow cake mix. Melt a stick of butter; drizzle over the dry cake mix. Bake at 350&ordm;F for 30 minutes and then serve with vanilla ice cream.</p> <h2>14. Buttery Peaches</h2> <p>Do you like apple butter? Why not try a peach butter? Make it in a crockpot and serve over waffles, pancakes, or toast. <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/country-style-peach-butter-464629">This recipe</a> makes five pints.</p> <h2>15. Ambrosia Fruit Salad</h2> <p>I made this simple treat for my office recently and it immediately disappeared. Why do I ever make anything hard?</p> <ul> <li>2 15-oz cans peaches, drained and chopped</li> <li>1 can pineapple pieces, drained</li> <li>2 red apples, chopped</li> <li>4 bananas, sliced</li> <li>2 large oranges, chopped</li> <li>&frac12; bag of miniature marshmallows</li> <li>&frac14; cup flaked coconut (optional)</li> </ul> <p>Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.</p> <p><strong>Note</strong>: I usually buy peaches canned in light juice, versus heavy syrup. In heavy syrup, a &frac12; cup of peaches has 97 calories and 25 grams of sugar. In light juic, a &frac12; cup of canned peaches has only 55 calories and 13 grams of sugar.</p> <p>The next time you see those cans of peaches in your pantry, pull out a can and give one of these recipes a try!</p> <p><em>What's your favorite way to eat canned peaches? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-delicious-and-easy-ways-to-enjoy-canned-peaches">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-102-amazing-food-hacks-you-have-to-try-this-summer">Flashback Friday: 102 Amazing Food Hacks You Have to Try This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-delicious-raw-recipes-to-try-this-summer">11 Delicious Raw Recipes to Try This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-uses-for-food-thats-about-to-go-bad">10 Smart Uses for Food That&#039;s About to Go Bad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-creative-delicious-things-you-can-make-in-a-blender">15 Creative, Delicious Things You Can Make in a Blender</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-ways-to-use-up-a-jar-of-preserves">30 Ways to Use Up a Jar of Preserves</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink canned food canned fruit canned peaches fruit healthy eating peaches recipes snacks Tue, 29 Mar 2016 09:00:07 +0000 Marla Walters 1679592 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Off-Season Foods That Are Destroying Your Grocery Budget http://www.wisebread.com/5-off-season-foods-that-are-destroying-your-grocery-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-off-season-foods-that-are-destroying-your-grocery-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_fresh_strawberries_000067876803.jpg" alt="Woman eating off-season foods that destroy her grocery budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Maybe you get a craving for strawberries in the dead of winter, or fresh tomatoes in early spring. While you can most likely find these items at your grocery store year-round, prices (and not to mention taste) will fluctuate greatly based on the season. In particular, these five off-season fruits and veggies can really destroy your grocery budget.</p> <h2>1. Tomatoes</h2> <p>In season: June through November. Want those delicious, deep red tomatoes on the vine? You&rsquo;ll need to buy them in season. What you&rsquo;ll get otherwise are sickly-looking tomatoes that have travelled from afar to get you. They are also upwards of triple the cost of a local, in-season tomato. Cut into one of these to find pale flesh, bland flavor, and a watery, mealy consistency that is definitely not worth the price. In addition, tomatoes coming from Mexico and Florida tend to have more fungicide and pesticides than the California variety we tend to eat in-season.</p> <p>Instead: Buy crushed or whole tomatoes in cans for your soups, stews, chilis, and sauces. February's not a great time for Caprese salad.</p> <h2>2. Berries</h2> <p>In season: late spring through summer. While tomatoes are also technically berries, we&rsquo;re focusing on blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries here. There&rsquo;s nothing better than sinking your teeth into a fresh berry pie, or eating them whole with a pile of fresh whipped cream &mdash; but that&rsquo;s gonna cost you outside of their growing season. Blueberries in particular have <a href="http://www.wbez.org/sections/food/should-you-pay-10-pint-blueberries-maybe-108512">gone up in price</a> even when in-season. Also, strawberries and blueberries get flown in from countries that may not have the same labor and growing regulations as the U.S., which can pose environmental and health risks when buying out of season.</p> <p>Instead: Use frozen berries for your desserts and breakfast smoothies to avoid the extra cost and negative impact on the planet.</p> <h2>3. Peaches</h2> <p>In season: May through October. Like berries, peaches are beloved for being juicy and sweet with an almost creamy texture when ripe. You&rsquo;ll lose of a lot those qualities when buying out of season, and pay a lot more &mdash; at least double the price. Again, those out of season peaches are coming from South American countries with fewer growing and labor regulations than the U.S. &mdash; noticing a pattern?</p> <p>Instead: Buy canned and frozen peaches for cooking. If a recipe calls for fresh peaches, save it for the summer.</p> <h2>4. Asparagus</h2> <p>In Season: February through June. Except, this year&rsquo;s rainy season has led to a delay in the asparagus growing season, sending the <a href="http://www.thepacker.com/news/asparagus-prices-top-40-limited-supplies">prices past $40 a box</a>. You&rsquo;ll definitely see that cost brought to the customer in grocery chains, with prices above $1.20 per pound. And after June, almost all asparagus you find in your local shops will be coming from &mdash; you guessed it &mdash; Mexico. You won&rsquo;t only be paying double or more, but the asparagus will likely be lacking in that firm, snappy texture you get in asparagus grown during the right season.</p> <p>Instead: Buy frozen or wait until late March or early April to load up on asparagus.</p> <h2>5. Grapes</h2> <p>In season: July through November. America loves grapes, and American grape growers are fully aware of it! There are more varieties being developed all time time, but the most popular varieties such as Cotton Candy, Thompson, Princess, and Holiday seedless grapes keep going up in price. This especially true out of season, where grapes can cost as much as $4 per pound, depending on the region. And some speculate that prices will only increase due to demand.</p> <p>Instead: After November, try switching to citrus fruits as snacks &mdash; like oranges, blood oranges, and grapefruits.</p> <h2>General Tips</h2> <ul> <li>Buy frozen! Most frozen produce is not only as <a href="http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/fresh_vs_frozen_vegetables_are_we_giving_up_nutrition_fo">nutritious as fresh produce</a>, but it can also be more nutritious than off-season produce.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Learn when which foods are in season with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">this handy chart</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Buy in-season from your local <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-this-not-that-at-the-farmers-market">farmers market</a> and you won&rsquo;t fall for grocery chain trickery with off-season goods again.</li> </ul> <p><em>Do you avoid out-of-season fruits and vegetables?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-off-season-foods-that-are-destroying-your-grocery-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">The Produce Worker&#039;s Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-farm-share-a-smart-buy-for-your-household">Is a Farm Share a Smart Buy for Your Household?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-this-not-that-at-the-farmers-market">Buy This — Not That — at the Farmer&#039;s Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-easy-ways-to-stretch-your-grocery-dollars">20 Easy Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Dollars</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping food budget food costs fruit groceries in-season off-season produce vegetables Fri, 26 Feb 2016 11:00:11 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1661856 at http://www.wisebread.com 18 Easy and Delicious Ways to Enjoy Apples http://www.wisebread.com/18-easy-and-delicious-ways-to-enjoy-apples <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/18-easy-and-delicious-ways-to-enjoy-apples" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/basket_of_apples_000020750480.jpg" alt="Finding easy and delicious ways to enjoy apples " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What&rsquo;s more American than apple pie? Not having enough time to make an apple pie from scratch. So if you&rsquo;re strapped for time but have a lot of apples on hand, try these easy, relatively fast, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-awesome-ways-to-use-apple-cider-vinegar">super delicious ways</a> to enjoy apples this fall.</p> <h2>1. Make Apple Butter</h2> <p>Sometimes you want more than jam to spread on breads and use in other recipes &mdash; <a href="http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/apple_butter/">apple butter</a> is not only easy to make, but really, really, really good on cornbread (and anything else you put it on).</p> <h2>2. Dip Slices in Honey</h2> <p>This is a great midday snack or dessert! Simply slice a whole apple into wedges. Then, pour a tablespoon of honey into a small dipping bowl. This is also how some people celebrate Rosh Hashanah, but literally anyone can enjoy this.</p> <h2>3. Snack on Apple and Quinoa Salad</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/quinoa-salad-apples-walnuts-dried-cranberries-gouda.aspx">quinoa salad</a> featuring chunks of sliced apple has a satisfying crunch and makes for a healthy side dish to any lunch or dinner. You can try this recipe substituting apples for citrus or berries as well.</p> <h2>4. Try Apples on Pizza</h2> <p>Have you ever tried some thinly sliced apple on pizza? Next time you&rsquo;re going for a more playful sweet and savory pizza experience, try this <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/caramelized-onion-green-apple-and-gorgonzola-cheese-pizza-521479">pizza recipe with apples</a>, gorgonzola, and caramelized onion.</p> <h2>5. Add Apples to Pork Roast</h2> <p>Sometimes you need a hearty, complex main dish. What could be a better fall weeknight dinner treat than a <a href="http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/11/pork-roast-with-apples-and-onions/">pork roast with apples</a>? The Pioneer Woman&rsquo;s recipe is tried and true perfection.</p> <h2>6. Bake an Apple Ginger Galette</h2> <p>When you don&rsquo;t have time for a full-on pie with homemade crust on top, try a <a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/10/ginger-caramel-apple-galette-recipe.html?ref=search">French-style gallette</a>. It&rsquo;s like a rustic tart-pie hybrid without half the fuss of either. Like the recipe instructs, roll out some homemade (or storebought) dough, fill the middle with apple filling, then simply fold up the sides. An easy enough dessert to bake on a weeknight.</p> <h2>7. Throw Them in a Grilled Cheese</h2> <p>Similar to apples on pizza, apples in a grilled cheese are to die for. Try a grilled cheese sandwich with lots of melty brie, fig, and <a href="http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/brie-fig-and-apple-grilled-cheese/">sliced granny smith apples</a>. It&rsquo;ll become a family favorite in no time.</p> <h2>8. Dip Slices in Almond Butter</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;re trying to keep your energy up throughout the day and need to watch your caloric intake, try this: cut up half of an apple into slices. Take out a jar of unsalted almond butter. Then, dip the slices in the almond butter for a reasonable and yummy snack.</p> <h2>9. Sip Mulled Cider</h2> <p>Sure, you can buy some cider and mulling spices at the store, but have you considered making your own cider one of these crisp, fall weekends? Make your own <a href="http://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/211772/homemade-apple-cider/?mxt=t06rda">big batch of cider</a> with this easy recipe and then celebrate by heating it in a Crock-Pot for a quiet evening by the fire.</p> <h2>10. Make a Classic Waldorf Salad</h2> <p>Have you ever made a Waldorf salad? This salad invented in the 1890s is an easy side dish with apples, grapes, celery, nuts, and mayo. There are also infinite variations on the salad, like this <a href="http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/kale-waldorf-salad">kale version</a> made by Whole Foods.</p> <h2>11. Recreate the McApple Pie</h2> <p>You know those deep-fried <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/food/McDonald-Deep-Fried-Apple-Pie-Recipe-Video-32791365">apple hand pies</a> you used to get at McDonald&rsquo;s as a kid? They&rsquo;re actually pretty easy to make. These work great as a party snack or just a special treat for the kids.</p> <h2>12. Sweeten Your Oatmeal</h2> <p>Need to get back into the oatmeal for breakfast routine to keep the pounds off? It&rsquo;s really easy to get bored with the wallpaper paste flavor of even the best quality oats. Instead of flavored oatmeal, keep the plain and add chopped fresh apples to it. The apples add much needed texture and flavor.</p> <h2>13. Fry up Some Fritters</h2> <p>Do you fantasize about those delicious apple fritters at your local donut shop? It&rsquo;s totally attainable at home! This excellent <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-apple-fritters-recipes-from-the-kitchn-210596">fritter recipe</a> from The Kitchn makes it easy and fun to fry up some fritters for a weekend brunch treat.</p> <h2>14. Mix Some Party Punch</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;re having any parties this September through December, you&rsquo;ll need a seasonally appropriate drink. Trust me, you don&rsquo;t want to make dozens of single cocktails as people get thirsty &mdash; you want a big, batch-made punch that will go strong all night. This <a href="http://www.chow.com/recipes/29082-brandy-apple-punch">brandy apple punch</a> is sweet and potent enough to keep things festive.</p> <h2>15. Vary Your Apple Pie Game</h2> <p>Is a plain, traditional apple pie not exciting enough for you to set aside a whole day to make one? Try making a fun variation, like this&nbsp;<a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/356456/apple-blackberry-pie-fall-leaves-pate-brisee">apple blackberry recipe</a>, this <a href="https://www.washingtonsgreengrocer.com/our-blog/rustic-apple-plum-pie">apple plum recipe</a>, or this <a href="http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1014112-apple-green-chile-pie-with-cheddar-crust">apple and cheddar</a> recipe. Or, throw in a new ingredient to make it your own. There are so many options that you could make a new apple pie every weekend all season long.</p> <h2>16. Get Nostalgic With Candy Apples</h2> <p>Instead of buying them at a huge markup at a candy shop, do it yourself. This Halloween, make some chocolate, caramel, and candy coatings, set up a candy apple topping bar (broken candy bars, sprinkles, chocolate chips, cookie crumbs, etc.), and have everyone make their own candy apple.</p> <h2>17. Add Apples to Stuffing</h2> <p>Is it time to change up the stuffing you&rsquo;ve been making for years? Try a new version with festive additions like chopped apples and nuts. This classic <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/herb-and-apple-stuffing-recipe.html">Ina Garten stuffing recipe</a> combines apples and sliced almonds in a most classy and delicious fashion.</p> <h2>18. Finally Make Your Own Applesauce</h2> <p>It might surprise you that <a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/12/really-simple-applesauce-recipe.html">homemade applesauce</a> is actually very easy to make, and can work with dozens of different variations. It&rsquo;s as simple as boiling down the apples, then blending them into a puree. Add sugar, spices, other fruits &mdash; whatever you want!</p> <p><em>Any easy apple creations we missed? Let us know in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-easy-and-delicious-ways-to-enjoy-apples">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-great-ways-to-eat-bananas">12 Great Ways to Eat Bananas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-fall-groceries-to-add-to-your-list-asap">9 Fall Groceries to Add to Your List ASAP</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-good-food-goes-bad-part-vi-apples">When Good Food Goes Bad Part VI: Apples</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-grilled-veggie-dishes-that-hold-their-own-with-meat">15 Grilled Veggie Dishes That Hold Their Own With Meat</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-and-delicious-ice-cream-substitutes">15 Easy and Delicious Ice Cream Substitutes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink apples autumn fall fruit healthy recipes Thu, 10 Sep 2015 11:00:17 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1553953 at http://www.wisebread.com 30 Ways to Use Up a Jar of Preserves http://www.wisebread.com/30-ways-to-use-up-a-jar-of-preserves <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/30-ways-to-use-up-a-jar-of-preserves" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/jar_of_jam_000040476032.jpg" alt="Here&#039;s how to use up a jar of preserves" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Right now there are approximately 457 varieties of jelly, jam, and fruit butter in my refrigerator, all in various stages of decomposition. My husband loves jam on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-calorie-burning-breakfasts">toast for breakfast</a>. He eats it every day. Unfortunately, he belongs to the &quot;Why own one when you can own the entire collection?&quot; camp of people. He's constantly scraping the moldy top off of his morning bread sweetener, a habit I find stomach-churning. Also, his proclivity to buy more food than he can possibly eat makes me slightly crazy. I hate wasting food. &quot;Can I help it if I crave variety?&quot; he tells me.</p> <p>So I've become an expert at using up small amounts of jam by putting it&hellip;</p> <p>&hellip; in pretty much everything. Here are 30 ways you can do the same.</p> <h2>1. Flavor Your Own Yogurt</h2> <p>Here's what your strawberry-flavored yogurt should contain: milk, live probiotic yogurt cultures, and strawberries. Here's what a very common brand of yogurt contains: cultured pasteurized Grade A low fat milk, sugar, strawberries, modified corn starch, high fructose corn syrup, nonfat milk, kosher gelatin, citric acid, tricalcium phosphate, natural flavor, pectin, carmine, vitamin A Acetate, and vitamin D3.</p> <p>For a better, more nutritious version of fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt, add some of your favorite jam or marmalade to plain yogurt of your choosing. Your tongue and your wallet will thank you.</p> <h2>2. Blend It Into Smoothies</h2> <p>Do you prefer to drink your yogurt on the way to work? Add jam to sweeten your breakfast shake.</p> <h2>3. Pair It With Ice Cream</h2> <p>Fold your favorite jam into ice cream to create custom flavors or simply use it as a sundae topping.</p> <h2>4. Make Popsicles</h2> <p>Add leftover fruit preserves to juice or milk to add both flavor and texture to <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/recipe-collections-favorites/desserts/popsicle-recipes">homemade popsicles</a>.</p> <h2>5. Bake Thumbprint Cookies</h2> <p>For what amounts to basically a drop cookie, <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/butter-and-jam-thumbprints-recipe2.html">thumbprint cookies</a> are surprisingly glamorous. They are a great, colorful addition to holiday gift baskets.</p> <h2>6. Whip Up Easy Bar Cookies for Bake Sales</h2> <p>Did you fall off the school email list? Did your child forget to tell you about the bake sale happening today? Are you facing a charity auction buffet table deadline? Bust out this top-rated <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/delicious-raspberry-oatmeal-cookie-bars/?mxt=t06dda">bar cookie recipe</a>, for easy, speedy baking. To up-sell your homemade cookies, use this tip from a Wise Bread reader: Put the bake sale cookies on a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-holiday-gifts-from-the-thrift-store">pretty thrift store plate</a> for added value.</p> <h2>7. Fill Pop Tarts</h2> <p>Once you <a href="http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2010/04/homemade-pop-tarts/">make your own Pop-Tarts</a>, you'll never want to go back to store bought toaster pastries. Personally, I like to make my own crust, but even the most novice bakers can handle this <a href="http://www.tablespoon.com/recipes/homemade-pop-tarts/0d7c212b-43af-4fdb-969f-654f6a1db107">four-ingredient recipe</a> that uses pre-made pie crust.</p> <h2>8. Improve Your Cheese Plate Game</h2> <p>Instead of using apples or grapes as cheese accompaniments, put the dregs of your jam collection into pretty dishes, and serve them with cheese and crackers. Your guests don't have to know that they are helping you clean out your refrigerator.</p> <h2>9. Replicate My Mother-in-Law's Go-To Appetizer</h2> <p>My mother-in-law is not a brilliant cook, but you wouldn't know that from her baked Brie cheese appetizer. Here's the Top Secret recipe:</p> <p>Line a jellyroll or cake pan with parchment. Place a wheel of Brie cheese in the center of the pan. Pour one jar of apricot jam over the cheese. Bake in the oven on parchment at 400 degrees until the cheese softens, taking care not to burn the jam. Remove the jam-topped cheese from the oven and slide the whole shebang onto a serving dish. Liberally sprinkle the top with sliced almonds. Serve with French bread.</p> <p>Or, if you are alone, eat the jam and cheese with a spoon out of the pan while binge watching <em>Orange is the New Black</em>. Not that I've ever done this personally, or anything.</p> <h2>10. &quot;It's Chinese Food If I Make It&quot; Orange Chicken</h2> <p>My Chinese grandfather owned a Chinese restaurant in Denver for 40 years. Unable to source many authentic ingredients, he would regularly invent entrees that fancy chefs would now refer to as &quot;fusion cuisine&quot; using locally sourced supplies. (And 25 years after his death, I am still trying to replicate his plum sauce BBQ ribs recipe without success). When questioned about his &quot;pan-Coloradan&quot; dishes, he would always reply, &quot;It's Chinese food if I make it.&quot; Who can argue with that logic?</p> <p>My grandfather did make an authentic Cantonese chicken dish that used dried orange peel in a vinegar reduction. However, the dish that friends and neighbors used to beg him to make for potluck dinner parties was his sticky chicken AKA fried chicken glazed with <a href="http://norecipes.com/recipe/orange-chicken-recipe/">orange marmalade</a>.</p> <h2>11. Fill Crepes</h2> <p>Crepes is a French word meaning, &quot;a fancy, alternative jam delivery system for people who like to eat the preserves straight from the jar.&quot;</p> <h2>12. Top Pancakes</h2> <p>Why drive to IHOP when you can replicate their <a href="https://deliciouspot.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/buttermilk-pancakes-with-grape-jam-syrup/">flavored syrups</a> at home?</p> <h2>13. Sweeten Hot Cereal</h2> <p>Jam is not just for toast. Add it to oatmeal or cream of wheat.</p> <h2>14. Stuff French Toast</h2> <p>This is a great thrifty recipe as it uses both stale bread and leftover jam! Make a sandwich out of stale white bread and your favorite fruit preserve. Then soak the sandwich in egg batter before pan-frying it in butter.</p> <h2>15. Turn Breakfast Into Brunch With Croque Monsieur Sandwiches</h2> <p>A <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/1103844/next-level-croque-monsieur">croque monsieur</a> is basically the unholy love child of stuffed French toast and a grilled cheese sandwich. Proceed with caution.</p> <h2>16. Make Strawberry Shortcake, No Knife Skills Necessary</h2> <p>Bisquick? Check. Jam? Check. Whipping Cream? Check. This Old Fashioned <a href="http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/classic-strawberry-shortcakes/370099a9-c927-4eae-93ba-ab66a455b996">shortcake recipe</a> graced the first Bisquick box in 1931. Substituting jam for sliced strawberries makes this dessert an easy and safe introduction to baking for kids and adults with terrible knife skills.</p> <h2>17. Dress Up Cheesecake</h2> <p>Let's face it. Cheesecake is a dumpy-looking dessert. The addition of fruit topping will make plain cheesecake look slightly less fug. To make your own <a href="http://www.joyofbaking.com/ApricotGlaze.html">fruit glaze</a>, mix jam with water or your favorite liqueur, and heat it on the stovetop until liquid. Brush or pour over plain cheesecake.</p> <h2>18. Tart Up a Tart</h2> <p>Leave it to David Lebovitz to make something delicious out of quince jam! His no-roll crust makes this <a href="http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2008/07/jam-tart/">tart recipe</a> even easier to replicate at home with professional results.</p> <h2>19. Layer a Cake</h2> <p>Why not fill a <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/coconut-layer-cake-w-cream-cheese-coconut-frosting-223913">coconut layer cake</a> with lime marmalade or turn chocolate cake into <a href="http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2303676/black-forest-gteau">black forest cake</a> with the cherry jam?</p> <h2>20. Make a Kentucky Jam Cake</h2> <p>Or make a super-moist <a href="https://cookingrelax.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/kentucky-jam-cake/">Kentucky jam cake</a> by adding jam to the batter?</p> <h2>21. Turn Packaged Chocolate Into Fancy Desserts</h2> <p>With the addition of fruit preserves, your dinner party guests will never guess that the chocolate orange mousse was made with pudding mix or the chocolate cherry brownies came from a box.</p> <h2>22. Pavlova: It's Aussie for &quot;Use Up That Jam, Mate&quot;</h2> <p>But, don't tell that to New Zealanders who claim pavlova, flat white coffee, and Phar Lap the famous racehorse as national treasures. Pavlova, a wondrous combination of <a href="http://www.brit.co/pavlova-recipes/">fruit and meringue</a>, comes in many forms. All of them, delicious.</p> <h2>23. BBQ Chicken With Homemade BBQ Sauce</h2> <p>Mix your favorite jam or marmalade with oil and soy sauce. You've just made a yummy coating for roast chicken.</p> <h2>24. Pour It Over Ham</h2> <p>That same glaze that you use for cake can also be used to <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/strawberry-jam-glaze.html">glaze ham</a>.</p> <h2>25. Create Your Own Secret Sauce for Beef</h2> <p>Mix jam with vinegar, mustard, and garlic to make your own <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/jam-the-new-steak-sauce-old-ingredient-new-trick-207367">steak sauce</a>.</p> <h2>26. Add It to Au Jus</h2> <p>Add cranberry sauce to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-a-weeks-worth-of-dinners-out-of-one-chicken">pan gravy</a> to make Thanksgiving leftovers sing. Or, mix blueberry jam into beef gravy for Sunday night's <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/old-england-traditional-roast-beef-and-yorkshire-pudding-263751">British roast</a>.</p> <h2>27. Make Succulent Pork Loin</h2> <p>Personally, I prefer to substitute leftover cranberry sauce for the blueberry jam in this <a href="https://cookingplanit.com/recipe/bacon-and-blueberry-jam-pork-tenderloin">tenderloin recipe</a>. But really, does the jam flavor even matter if you wrap everything in bacon?</p> <h2>28. Salad Dressing</h2> <p>People love to hate on Rachael Ray, but personally I love her casual cooking style. Why use a salad cruet when you can mix <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/bottom-of-the-jar-jam-vinaigrette-with-chopped-greens-recipe.html">fruit vinaigrette</a> right in the almost empty jam jar? Just add the other ingredients to the jam jar and shake to combine.</p> <h2>29. Stirred, Not Shaken</h2> <p>Speaking of shaking, add fruit preserves to your favorite vodka recipe to make a <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/a-jam-cocktail-recipe-lemonraspberry-jamtini-recipes-from-the-kitchn-193393">sweet jamtini</a>. It's cooler than a cosmopolitan.</p> <p>For gin drinkers, try the <a href="http://www.tastingtable.com/cook/recipes/gin-cocktail-with-jam-fruit-preserves">jam cocktail</a>. It's the signature drink of Madam Geneva, the famous New York watering hole.</p> <h2>30. Channel Your Inner Betty Draper With Cocktail Meatballs</h2> <p>This classic Minnesota hot dish gets its mid-century comfort food flavor from a secret ingredient: <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/grape-jelly-meatballs-72826">grape jelly</a>.</p> <p><em>What is your favorite jam user-upper recipe? Please share a link to your favorite dish with your fellow thrifty cooks in the comments section. </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-ways-to-use-up-a-jar-of-preserves">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-uses-for-food-thats-about-to-go-bad">10 Smart Uses for Food That&#039;s About to Go Bad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-and-delicious-ice-cream-substitutes">15 Easy and Delicious Ice Cream Substitutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-bonkers-candy-corn-recipes">20 Bonkers Candy Corn Recipes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-easy-and-delicious-recipes-for-your-dutch-oven">18 Easy and Delicious Recipes for Your Dutch Oven</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tempting-no-bake-desserts">10 Tempting No-Bake Desserts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink desserts fruit jam jelly preserves recipes Tue, 11 Aug 2015 17:02:42 +0000 Max Wong 1515698 at http://www.wisebread.com Buy This — Not That — at the Farmer's Market http://www.wisebread.com/buy-this-not-that-at-the-farmers-market <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/buy-this-not-that-at-the-farmers-market" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_farmers_market_000062350146.jpg" alt="Woman deciding what to buy at the farmer&#039;s market and what to skip" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's summertime and the livin' is easy &mdash; especially if you live near a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-things-to-buy-at-farmers-markets">farmer's market</a>. (Not sure if you're near one? Check out this <a href="http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/">market directory</a>). Just don't go in unprepared: check out this list of what to buy and when.</p> <h2>Always Get (When in Season)</h2> <p>These fruits and veggies come really do deliver on the farmer's market promise of fresh and delicious produce, at a good price, as long as they are in season.</p> <h3>1. Root Vegetables</h3> <p>Great choices at the farmer's market are always root veggies like beets, turnips, carrots, heirloom potatoes, yams, and more. These hold up an extremely long time &mdash; up to six weeks depending on your storage method. Also, getting all your bright red and orange root vegetables means tons of vitamin A and beta carotene, leading to healthy skin and hearts.</p> <h3>2. Squash</h3> <p>Vine fruits like squash and melons are also good choices. There are usually varieties you cannot find in the grocery store, and they are usually just a day or two shy of ripeness. No more waiting days for the melon to be just right, then BAM &mdash; mold and squishy bits. In the fall, acorn, butternut, and spaghetti squashes rule the stalls, and they are all the most tasty direct from the farm.</p> <h3>3. Tree and Vine Fruits</h3> <p>Some fruits are really difficult to find in grocery stores: pluots, persimmons, passion fruit, kiwi, blood oranges, and other tasty nutrient-dense fruits. The farmer's market is made for locating new fruits without paying the insane markup of a chain store (who is likely importing the fruit frozen from another country).</p> <h3>4. Lettuces</h3> <p>Greens are excellent buys at the farmer's market, especially varieties of kale, butter lettuce, bok choy, and radicchio. These are usually much cheaper than at the chain grocers and much fresher as well &mdash; straight from the dirt! Speaking of which: Remember to rinse them thoroughly in the salad spinner before using!</p> <h3>5. Breads</h3> <p>Baked goods can sometimes fall into &quot;skip&quot; territory, but fresh bread at the farmer's market is usually really good. Pick up a cracked wheat or a sourdough for that day's brunch, or the week's sandwiches. Much better than store bought sliced bread.</p> <h2>What to Skip</h2> <p>Unfortunately some of the artisanal goods at the farmer's market aren't great buys, even if they are super delish.</p> <h3>6. Honey</h3> <p>Depending on your location and who is selling the honey, there can be a massive markup. Keep a lookout for who made the honey. If the jar lists a different bottler than the stall selling it, you are likely paying an inflated price. You might be better off with raw or manuka honey from Whole Foods.</p> <h3>7. Cheese</h3> <p>The cheese lady is so hard to resist, always offering you rich cubes of fresh cheeses. But keep in mind you are paying a premium for an artisanal product. There is also pressure to buy the specific cheese(s) the farmer's market stall has that day. You are probably better off purchasing fresh cheese from your local specialty foods shop where you have more variety to choose from.</p> <h3>8. Fresh Meat</h3> <p>Meat can be a double-edged sword at the farmer's market. On one hand, it's fresh and usually free of preservatives. On the other, most meat is right on the edge of perishability, so you need to cook it within a day or two. If you intend to cook it later that week, you might find that the meat has already gone brown and gamey before you get to use it.</p> <h3>9. Unpasteurized Dairy</h3> <p>While controversial, there are many out there who extol raw milk's health benefits. It's not worth it. In most states it is illegal to sell unpasteurized foods, and for good reason: you never know what bacteria or parasites are within that bottle of raw goat's milk until it's already in your belly. That's not a risk anyone should be willing to take.</p> <h3>10. Herbs</h3> <p>Fragrant, tempting herbs are plentiful at the farmer's market. But think about it: Herbs are really cheap. You can even grow them yourself. So why not do that? Five dollars for a bunch of mint may not seem like much, but you'd be spending a few cents to keep that mint plant on your kitchen windowsill.</p> <h3>11. Pressed Juice</h3> <p>Pressed juice is not only nutritionally unsound (you're straining out the fiber and many vitamins!), but incredibly pricey &mdash; up to $15 per single-serving bottle. You're basically paying for someone to destroy valuable fruits and vegetables with an extremely expensive machine. Don't fall for it.</p> <h3>12. Prepared Meals</h3> <p>At nearly every farmer's market you'll find a stall selling hot popcorn, or a falafel cart. It's Sunday morning and you haven't eaten yet. It's so tempting! Not only are the prices unreasonably high due to the nature of impulse shopping, there's never anywhere comfortable to eat it. Think of it this way: You just bought a veritable cornucopia of fresh whole foods &mdash; why not rush home and make a meal instead?</p> <p><em>What foods or other products do you skip at the farmer's market?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-this-not-that-at-the-farmers-market">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-off-season-foods-that-are-destroying-your-grocery-budget">5 Off-Season Foods That Are Destroying Your Grocery Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breaking-the-bread-code-how-to-get-the-freshest-loaf">Breaking the Bread Code: How to Get the Freshest Loaf</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">The Produce Worker&#039;s Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-farm-share-a-smart-buy-for-your-household">Is a Farm Share a Smart Buy for Your Household?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping bread dairy farmer's market fruit groceries vegetables Fri, 24 Jul 2015 13:00:20 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1494595 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Great Ways to Eat Bananas http://www.wisebread.com/12-great-ways-to-eat-bananas <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-great-ways-to-eat-bananas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/banana_yogurt_000050898278.jpg" alt="All the great ways to eat bananas" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Bananas are one of the least expensive produce items on my grocery list at less than a dollar a pound. They're also an excellent source of potassium, vitamin C, magnesium, and folate. But who cares about nutrition when they taste so great? You can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-network-with-a-banana">use bananas</a> in a variety of recipes &mdash; from healthy to downright sinful &mdash; so check out this list for ideas from frozen to grilled.</p> <h2>1. Banana Ice Cream</h2> <p>I've seen a lot of banana ice cream recipes online, but this <a href="http://www.kleinworthco.com/2014/08/peanut-butter-jelly-ice-cream.html/2">peanut butter and jelly</a> mix is the most creative. Oh, and did I mention it contains only three ingredients? Frozen bananas, peanut butter, and jelly. Blend the peanut butter and bananas together first, then fold in your jelly. Enjoy immediately.</p> <h2>2. Banana Bread</h2> <p>Whenever you find yourself with a bunch of browning bananas, make <a href="http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/banana-bread.html">banana bread</a>. When the fruit is very ripe, it's especially tender and sweet. This recipe calls for 1-⅔ cups all purpose flour, but consider subbing in some whole wheat (maybe around a half cup) for more nutrition.</p> <h2>3. Banana Cream Pie</h2> <p>I first came across this rich <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/331723/banana-cream-pie">banana cream pie</a> recipe in Martha Stewart's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307236722/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0307236722&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=AC4JJBOGQD6SUZXY">Baking Handbook</a>. Novice pie bakers might like to know that pate brisee, which is listed in the recipe, is a type of shortcrust pastry. You can skip this step and use a store-bought pie crust if you like.</p> <h2>4. Banana Brownies</h2> <p>These <a href="http://www.bakeaholic.ca/brownies/banana-brownies-with-chocolate-avocado-ganache/">banana brownies</a> will satisfy your sweet tooth in a major way. And they're gluten-free to boot. After you bake the moist brownie base with the best dark chocolate you can find, you'll whip up a chocolate ganache made with avocados.</p> <h2>5. Banana Pudding</h2> <p>The author of this <a href="http://www.blessedbeyondadoubt.com/best-vanilla-wafer-banana-pudding-recipe">vanilla wafer banana pudding</a> recipe claims the dessert will make you famous. Combine one vanilla pudding packet with milk and sweetened condensed milk. Fold in Cool Whip and four bananas. Then top with lots of vanilla wafers.</p> <h2>6. Banana French Toast</h2> <p>When I was eating vegan many years ago, I used to make <a href="http://minimalistbaker.com/5-ingredient-vegan-banana-french-toast/">banana French toast</a> all the time. Even non-vegetarians can appreciate this healthed-up brunch recipe. The banana &quot;egg&quot; mixture is surprisingly convincing and contains banana, almond milk, flax meal, and cinnamon. Dip, soak, cook, and enjoy with lots of maple syrup.</p> <h2>7. Banana Cake</h2> <p>Give your guests a blast from the past with Ina Garten's <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/old-fashioned-banana-cake-recipe.html">old-fashioned banana cake</a>. There are a few ingredients in this recipe that take it over the top, including sour cream and orange zest. To finish, blend together a delicious cream cheese frosting. You can substitute Neufchatel cheese to cut down on fat.</p> <h2>8. Banana Boats</h2> <p>These <a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/08/banana-boats.html">banana boats</a> are a unique dessert perfect for grilling and camping season. In the peel, slice your bananas lengthwise. Stuff with chocolate and peanut butter chips. Top with marshmallows. Cook on your grill until bananas have softened and peel has blackened, around 10-15 minutes.</p> <h2>9. Banana Oats</h2> <p>Here's a solid <a href="http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/brown-sugar---banana-oatmeal">banana oatmeal</a> recipe you'll want for breakfast each morning. Just cook oats on the stove before adding sliced bananas, honey (or maple syrup), brown sugar, and milk. Or feel free to leave out the brown sugar for a more balanced breakfast.</p> <h2>10. Banana Smoothie</h2> <p>Low on other types of fruit? Make this simple <a href="http://www.chiquitabananas.com/Banana-Recipes/Banana-Smoothie-recipe.aspx">banana smoothie</a> that's nothing more than bananas blended with ice and milk. You can also substitute yogurt for the milk. I'd use Greek yogurt for added protein power.</p> <h2>11. Banana Naan</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2011/07/banana-naan.html">banana naan</a> is perfect for dipping into hummus, soups, sauces, and more. You'll need just one half of a mashed banana. Mix it together with yeast, water, flour, and salt. After a half hour rise, cook on your stovetop to achieve a golden brown finish.</p> <h2>12. Banana Granola</h2> <p>Here's a snack that's low in calories and fat &mdash; <a href="http://fairpinelanefoods.com/2012/05/22/honey-banana-granola/">honey banana granola</a>. You'll blend the honey and banana together and then coat the oats in the mixture to bake. I recommend lining your baking pan with parchment for this recipe to avoid a sticky mess. The granola should stay fresh for around a month.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite way to enjoy a banana?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-great-ways-to-eat-bananas">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-easy-and-delicious-ways-to-enjoy-apples">18 Easy and Delicious Ways to Enjoy Apples</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-grilled-veggie-dishes-that-hold-their-own-with-meat">15 Grilled Veggie Dishes That Hold Their Own With Meat</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-and-delicious-ice-cream-substitutes">15 Easy and Delicious Ice Cream Substitutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-ways-to-use-up-a-jar-of-preserves">30 Ways to Use Up a Jar of Preserves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-delicious-ways-to-enjoy-your-summer-veggies">31 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Your Summer Veggies</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink bananas fruit healthy recipes Thu, 14 May 2015 11:00:18 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1416669 at http://www.wisebread.com Wise Bread Reloaded: Is Eating More Produce the Secret to Happiness and Wellbeing? http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-reloaded-is-eating-more-produce-the-secret-to-happiness-and-wellbeing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/wise-bread-reloaded-is-eating-more-produce-the-secret-to-happiness-and-wellbeing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-eating-fruit-salad-467006431-small.jpg" alt="woman eating fruit salad" title="woman eating fruit salad" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>An apple a day keeps the psychiatrist away?</p> <p>That's what medical researchers in the UK have learned.</p> <p>In a recent survey of 14,000 individuals, <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140923085945.htm">33.5% of participants with &quot;good mental wellbeing&quot;</a> consumed five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day. In contrast, only 6.8% of participants with good mental wellbeing consumed less than one serving of fruits or vegetables per day. Other health-related behaviors such as alcohol intake and obesity were looked at, but only smoking and fruit and vegetable consumption were the &quot;behaviors most consistently associated with both low and high mental wellbeing.&quot;</p> <p>Getting your daily five (or more!) servings has obvious benefits for your physical health. And now it may be a boost to mental health, too.</p> <p>Need some ideas to help you get more fruits and vege into your body and your brain? Let's see what Wise Bread's writers have suggested over the years.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-simple-recipes-for-25-delicious-veggies?ref=classicwb">25 Delicious Recipes for 25 Delicious Veggies</a> &mdash; From Artichokes to Zucchini, Ashley Marcin shares one favorite recipe for each of her 25 favorite vegetables.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-use-frozen-mixed-vegetables?ref=classicwb">25 Ways to Use Frozen Mixed Vegetables</a> &mdash; Frozen vegetables are a great frugal choice &mdash; almost as nutritious as fresh, often way cheaper, and always convenient. Rebecca Lieb shares a long list of easy, delicious recipes.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables?ref=classicwb">The Produce Worker's Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables</a> &mdash; You're sold on the idea of getting more fruits and vegetables, but you're unsure about how to choose the freshest, most flavorful ones from the bin. No problem. Ashley Watson used to be a produce stocker at her local grocery, and she learned a lot about ripe produce.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-use-of-sub-par-produce?ref=classicwb">7 Ways to Use Subpar Produce</a> &mdash; Linsey Knerl shows you what to do with a mushy banana or some wilted celery or a flat of overripe strawberries.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fridge-or-counter-where-to-store-fruit-for-best-flavor?ref=classicwb">Fridge or Counter: Where to Store Fresh Fruit for Best Flavor </a>&mdash; Now that you have it home, where do you store it? Ashley Marcin tells you.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-incredible-but-true-facts-about-eating-fruits-and-vegetables?ref=classicwb">10 Incredible But True Facts About Eating Fruits and Vegetables</a> &mdash; Finally, Beth Buczynski uncovers 10 more astounding facts about fruits and veggies, giving you even more reason to fill your cart in the produce section.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lars-peterson">Lars Peterson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-reloaded-is-eating-more-produce-the-secret-to-happiness-and-wellbeing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">The Produce Worker&#039;s Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-off-season-foods-that-are-destroying-your-grocery-budget">5 Off-Season Foods That Are Destroying Your Grocery Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-farm-share-a-smart-buy-for-your-household">Is a Farm Share a Smart Buy for Your Household?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-this-not-that-at-the-farmers-market">Buy This — Not That — at the Farmer&#039;s Market</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink brain food fruit happiness mental health produce vegetables Sat, 27 Sep 2014 11:00:06 +0000 Lars Peterson 1222771 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Worst Things to Grow in Your Garden http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-worst-things-to-grow-in-your-garden <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-worst-things-to-grow-in-your-garden" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/garderner-carrots-450799137-small.jpg" alt="gardener carrots" title="gardener carrots" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A garden can be an amazing investment for the home cook, foodie, or family provider. Most plants can be grown and harvested for a small fraction of what it would cost to buy even a couple meals' worth of produce in the store. (See also: <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-fruits-and-veggies-worth-growing-yourself?ref=seealso">The Only Fruits and Vegetables Worth Growing Yourself</a>)</p> <p>There are other types of plants, however, that offer a weak return on your investment. Here are the vegetables I tend to shy away from, and why you may not want them occupying your precious garden space, either.</p> <h2>Cauliflower</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/cauliflower.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Cauliflower is a fickle plant in that it has a long growing season before it matures, but also likes it cool. If your part of the country gets hot early, this vegetable may have a hard time. In addition, it needs a little &quot;pampering&quot; to do well. The outer leaves must be grown so that they can be brought up over the head of the cauliflower and tied into place. Assuming you do everything right, they are still prone to beetles and insect damage, which can be hard to deal with in a veggie that is literally hiding away until it is ready. And when you're done with the process, you usually have just the one head to show for all your work anyway.</p> <h2>Carrots</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/carrot%20plant_0.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I have had luck with growing these beauties at least once in my long gardening life, but it required a ton of work.</p> <p>Carrots need an almost perfect soil bed to give them the right Ph level to grow, as well as a completely unobstructed path downward; if they run into anything on their way south, they can stunt or branch off. Two-pronged carrots, while still tasty, are not the goal of the gardener, and it isn't uncommon to dig up spindly or dwarfed produce after a long season of tending to them. Fresh carrots have a flavor that some may find off, depending on the nutrients in the soil you grow them in. Considering that a bag of carrots is usually less than $1 a pound, they are a cheap commodity best purchased in the store or farmer's market. (See also: <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.wisebread.com/baby-carrots-the-frugal-idea-that-isnt?ref=seealso">Baby Carrots: The Frugal Idea That Isn't</a>)</p> <h2>Celery</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Celery%20plant.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>What goes best with carrots? Celery, of course! And this also-affordable veggie can be equally painful to grow at home. It's notorious for requiring water and cool temps, but needs a very long time to mature. If you can keep up with the moisture demands and have a soil type that holds moisture, you will be waiting quite a while for your celery.</p> <h2>Head Lettuce</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/head%20lettuce.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Leaf lettuce is one of the easiest plants to grow in your garden. You simply plant the seed, water, and watch it grow. Head lettuce, on the other hand, requires a watchful wait for the lettuce to grow large enough to create the round ball we are used to seeing in the store. In the meantime, steady watering and temps are necessary to keep the plant from creating flowers &mdash; or bolting. Most gardeners we know stay away from head lettuce, as the Midwest gets so hot, and the premature flowering of the plants make them taste bitter. Going with a leaf lettuce blend isn't just easier, your salads will be more colorful, too!</p> <h2>Corn</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/corn2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>If you have a large area to work with, sweet corn can be an easy crop to raise. For the average backyard gardener, however, the amount of ground needed for a substantial crop is more than available.</p> <p>Since corn requires many factors to pollinate, including air movement, one single row of corn will not easily produce. Tall corn can easily blow over in the wind or bad weather, as well, making it difficult for anything less than 20 plants to stay upright. Corn usually only puts on two ears or so per plant, giving a lower yield than most garden plants. In the end, it might be easier to stop at that roadside stand and invest in their five for a dollar sale.</p> <p>As with any article on gardening, your mileage will vary by your location, experience, and luck. Even the most seasoned growers have bad years &mdash; and favorite plants!</p> <p><em>What veggie have you sworn off growing? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-worst-things-to-grow-in-your-garden">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-fresh-veggies-you-can-grow-from-kitchen-scraps">7 Fresh Veggies You Can Grow From Kitchen Scraps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-awesome-uses-for-milk-crates">20 Awesome Uses for Milk Crates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-prevent-plant-theft">How to Prevent Plant Theft</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">The Produce Worker&#039;s Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Lifestyle fruit gardens vegetables Mon, 11 Aug 2014 15:00:03 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1180565 at http://www.wisebread.com Fridge or Counter: Where to Store Fruit for Best Flavor? http://www.wisebread.com/fridge-or-counter-where-to-store-fruit-for-best-flavor <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/fridge-or-counter-where-to-store-fruit-for-best-flavor" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/food-180908039.jpg" alt="fruit" title="fruit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Fruits have been on the planet for far longer than refrigerators have been plugged into kitchen wall sockets. So why are many of us inclined to stick all our fruit in this chilly contraption immediately upon returning home from the store? It probably has a little to do with habit and a lot to do with ignorance, in the sweetest sense of the word. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables?ref=seealso">Guide to Choosing Fruits and Veggies</a>)</p> <p>When it comes to fruits, there are those that thrive in refrigeration and those that don't. A down-and-dirty way to identify these foods is by sight, smell, and touch. Those fruits that are ripe, especially overly so, when you grab them and stash in your cart should be placed in the cold.</p> <p>Thing is, a lot of the foods shipped to your local grocer are picked <em>before</em> they are ripe. If they don't have opportunity to develop properly, you'll be more inclined to toss them out, along with whatever money you spent on them. Over time, that waste can add up to some major lost dollars. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-choose-and-store-fruit-for-maximum-freshness-and-flavor?ref=seealso">How to Choose and Store Fruit for Maximum Flavor</a>)</p> <p>Here's a quick guide for how to handle some of your favorites.</p> <h2>Avocados</h2> <p>How many times have you reached down to squeeze the flesh of an avocado, only to find it hard as a rock? That firm texture means the fruit isn't ripened and, therefore, will not thrive in the refrigerator. Avocados can take up to five days to ripen, so Haas experts suggest storing &quot;<a href="http://www.avocadocentral.com/how-to/how-to-store-how-to-ripen-avocados">unripe [avocados] at room temperature</a> unless room conditions exceed that range.&quot;</p> <h2>Bananas</h2> <p>Bananas, when ripe, should be a cheery yellow color with even a few brown spots in the mix. Often when we see them at the store, they are still green and need a few days to graduate. The ripening process will be slowed &mdash; or halted entirely &mdash; by placing bananas in the refrigerator. They might also turn black in the fridge, though they'll still be edible. Chiquita experts recommend <a href="http://www.chiquitabananas.com/Banana-Information/selecting-handling-ripening-bananas.aspx">keeping bananas on the counter</a>, perhaps beside those lonely avocados. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/curing-warts-removing-splinters-and-19-other-bizarre-uses-for-banana-peels?ref=seealso">Bizarre Uses for Banana Peels</a>)</p> <h2>Cantaloupe, Honeydew, and Watermelon</h2> <p>Unless you grab a particularly sweet smelling, heavy melon from the bunch, you'll likely want to keep these guys out of the fridge as well. These types of fruits take up to two days to ripen fully, but once they achieve those classic signs (soft, sweet smelling, heavy), you can <a href="http://www.organicauthority.com/fruits/honeydew-melon.html">store them in the fridge</a> for up to five days (whole) or three days (cut and covered).</p> <h2>Tomatoes</h2> <p>I always placed my tomatoes in the refrigerator until my CSA farmers told me not to. Texture is the main issue, as they will get softer prematurely. The good news: Tomatoes left out at room temperature (out of direct sunlight, note our farmers) do surprisingly well. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-tantalizing-fresh-tomato-recipes?ref=seealso">25 Fresh Tomato Recipes</a>)</p> <h2>Citrus Fruits</h2> <p>According to the folks at Sunkist, most citrus fruits &mdash; oranges, tangerines, lemons, grapefruit, limes &mdash; will last on the <a href="http://www.sunkist.com/products/buying_storing_handling.aspx">counter for several days</a> before requiring refrigeration. They also suggest once transferring to the refrigerator to &quot;store in a plastic bag or the crisper drawer&quot; for best results.</p> <h2>Mangoes</h2> <p>As yet another fruit that will not ripen in the refrigerator, mangoes can reach their peak ripeness with <a href="http://www.mangoes.net.au/buying_storage/storage.aspx">a few days on the counter out of the sun</a>. A paper bag may help move things along, but once they're soft and fragrant, experts say to move those mangoes to the refrigerator for up to a week.</p> <h2>Pineapple</h2> <p>Did you know that a pineapple's color doesn't indicate its ripeness? I certainly didn't! Instead, their color is dictated by the time of year. Regardless, pineapples are picked when they are ready to eat, so Dole experts recommend <a href="http://www.dole.com/Company-Info/FAQ/Fresh-Fruit#4">storing pineapples at room temperature</a> until they are cut into. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-delicious-ways-to-use-pineapple?ref=seealso">Delicious Ways to Use Pineapple</a>)</p> <h2>Stone Fruits</h2> <p>Sadly, peaches, plums, and nectarines are almost always unripe when I see them at our grocery store. I used to refrigerate, but I found they never softened or sweetened. Experts suggest letting them sit &mdash; stems down &mdash; <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/shopping-storing/food/select-store-cook-summer-produce-10000001816223/page11.html">on the counter until they show those classic ripening</a> signs. I then transfer mine to the refrigerator to use within a few days, if I don't eat them all first.</p> <h2>Berries</h2> <p>Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and all other varieties can be frustrating. They are usually quite ripe upon inspection and seem to spoil almost immediately upon returning home. Refrigeration helps, but to avoid the green fuzz and mushy texture, follow these helpful steps, including <a href="http://food52.com/blog/6970-how-to-keep-berries-fresh-for-longer">washing them in a solution of water and vinegar</a> to ward off the dreaded mold.</p> <h2>Apples</h2> <p>Well, apples are tricky. You technically <em>can</em> place them in the refrigerator right away. However, if you're low on space, they stay fresh just as long on your countertop as they do in the cold. I've found that when I keep my apples out and visible, I use them up before they spoil, which helps eliminate food waste.</p> <p><em>Did I overlook your favorite fruit? Where do you store it &mdash; fridge, pantry, or counter?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fridge-or-counter-where-to-store-fruit-for-best-flavor">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-choose-and-store-fruit-for-maximum-freshness-and-flavor">How to Choose and Store Fruit for Maximum Freshness and Flavor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">The Produce Worker&#039;s Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-off-season-foods-that-are-destroying-your-grocery-budget">5 Off-Season Foods That Are Destroying Your Grocery Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-wise-breads-88-best-food-hacks-ever">Flashback Friday: Wise Bread&#039;s 88 Best Food Hacks Ever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-hardest-working-foods-in-your-pantry">The 10 Most Versatile Foods in Your Pantry</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink food storage fruit fruit storage Thu, 27 Feb 2014 11:36:29 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1127921 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Choose and Store Fruit for Maximum Freshness and Flavor http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-choose-and-store-fruit-for-maximum-freshness-and-flavor <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-choose-and-store-fruit-for-maximum-freshness-and-flavor" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fruit-picking-3606314-small.jpg" alt="picking fruit" title="picking fruit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you stand in the produce section poking and prodding your fruit before making your picks? That&#39;s OK in some instances, since many fruits continue ripening after they&#39;ve been picked. But not all fruits are created equal. For some, the ripening process stops once they&#39;re plucked from the plant from which they came. How do you know which fruits continue ripening and which don&#39;t? Take a look at our list of fruits that get better with age and those that come as they are. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">Produce Worker&#39;s Guide to Choosing Fruits and Veggies</a>)</p> <h2>Fruits That Ripen After Picking</h2> <p>These fruits, called climacteric fruits, <a href="http://host.madison.com/news/local/ask/curiosities/curiosities-why-do-fruits-such-as-peaches-and-melons-stop/article_2efcffd2-03c1-11e1-b065-001cc4c03286.html">continue to ripen</a> after picking because of the natural chemicals they contain &mdash; primarily ethylene gas &mdash; that are produced from within the fruit. These <a href="http://www.chemistry-blog.com/2011/10/12/fruit-ripening-how-does-it-work/">chemicals release enzymes called amylases, which turn stored starch into sugar</a> making the fruits sweeter. Other enzymes &mdash; hydrolases &mdash; break down the fruit&#39;s chlorophyll, resulting in richer color. The fruit also becomes softer, which can lead to &quot;over-ripening,&quot; as the amount of pectin is lessened by enzymes called pectinases.</p> <p>Once you bring them home, here&#39;s how to store climacteric fruits to ensure that they ripen properly, courtesy of <a href="http://fruitguys.com/almanac/2012/07/02/fresh-fruit-storage-and-ripening-tips">The Fruitguys Almanac</a>:</p> <p><strong>Melons</strong></p> <p>Store at room temperature until ripe, then refrigerate for up to 10 days.</p> <p><strong>Peaches and Nectarines</strong></p> <p>You can speed up the ripening process of peaches and other stone fruits by placing them in a paper bag. Otherwise, they should be stored at room temperature and away from direct sunlight and heat.</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/fruits-4760143-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p><strong>Apples</strong></p> <p>Store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight and heat. Apples can last up to six weeks in the fridge. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-fantastic-uses-for-apples">23 Great Ways to Use Apples</a>)</p> <p><strong>Avocados</strong></p> <p>Store at room temperature until ripe. A ripe avocado will yield to firm gentle pressure, and the color will be almost black. To speed up the ripening process if you&#39;ve bought under-ripe avocados, place them in a paper bag for a couple of days.</p> <p><strong>Mangoes</strong></p> <p>Store at room temperature until ripe, then store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to seven days.</p> <p><strong>Pears</strong></p> <p>Pears are normally picked before peak ripeness to avoid bruising during transit. Store at room temperature away from sunlight and heat. When a pear gives to touch, it&#39;s ready to eat.</p> <p><strong>Tomatoes</strong></p> <p>Do not refrigerate tomatoes until they&#39;re fully ripe; allowing to ripen at room temperature <a href="http://lifehacker.com/10-food-preservation-tips-in-60-seconds-1442183179">with the stem side down</a> will result in more flavorful tomatoes.</p> <p><strong>Bananas</strong></p> <p>Store bananas at room temperature away from direct sunlight and heat. Bananas should not be placed in the fridge as this will turn the skin black. To speed up the ripening process for not-quite-ripe bananas, place them in a paper bag with an apple overnight. Once they&#39;re ripe though, keep them longer by <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Keep-Bananas-Fresh-Longer-slices-too/?ALLSTEPS">wrapping the stems in plastic</a>.</p> <p><strong>Plums</strong></p> <p>Like peaches and pears, plums are sweet and delicious when they give softly to gentle touch. Store away from direct sunlight and heat.</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/fruits-3564389-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p><strong>Guava</strong></p> <p>Store at room temperature until ripe, then in the fridge for up to four days.</p> <p><strong>Cantaloupes</strong></p> <p>Store at room temperature until ripe, then store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.</p> <p><strong>Kiwis</strong></p> <p>Store at room temperature until ripe. A ripe kiwi will stay fresh in the fridge for a few days, while a very firm unripe kiwi will keep in the fridge for up to two months.</p> <h2>Fruits That Don&#39;t Ripen After Picking</h2> <p>These fruits, called <em>non-climacteric</em> fruits, ripen only while they&#39;re still attached to the plant. Once they&#39;re picked, the ripening process stops. Unlike climacteric fruits that you can allow to ripen at home if they&#39;re under-ripe when you buy them (giving you an increased amount of time to consume them), when non-climacteric are picked at the peak of ripeness, the rapid-rot potential is hastened. On the flip side, if these fruits are picked when they&#39;re not quite ripe yet, the result could be a harder, tarter fruit than you&#39;d like.</p> <p>Here&#39;s how to store them.</p> <p><strong>Berries (Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, and Strawberries)</strong></p> <p>Since berries are a non-climacteric fruit, they&#39;re already ripe when you buy them. As such, they should be consumed immediately. But you can help them keep a little longer by <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5917593/make-berries-stay-fresh-longer-by-storing-them-in-a-single-layer-and-other-produce-freshness-tips">storing them in a single layer</a>, so the juices don&#39;t leak onto the berries below. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/preserving-in-season-foods-for-off-season-feasts">How to Preserve In-Season Foods for Off-Season Treats</a>)</p> <p><strong>Watermelons</strong></p> <p>Wrap cut up melon tightly in plastic or foil or store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to four days.</p> <p><strong>Cherries</strong></p> <p>Do not wash cherries until you&#39;re ready to eat. Excess can be stored in the fridge in a plastic bag for up to a week.</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/fruits-5312635-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p><strong>Figs</strong></p> <p>Another non-climacteric fruit, figs are picked ripe. Enjoy them right away or store them in the fridge until you&#39;re ready to eat them.</p> <p><strong>Grapes</strong></p> <p>Do not wash grapes until you&#39;re ready to eat. Excess can be stored in the fridge in a perforated plastic bag (what they usually come in from the supermarket) for up to a week.</p> <p><strong>Grapefruit</strong></p> <p>Grapefruits will stay fresh at room temperature for a week and up to several weeks in the fridge.</p> <p><strong>Oranges and Tangerines</strong></p> <p>Store at room temperature for a couple weeks or in the fridge for up to several weeks.</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/fruits-5262409-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p><strong>Lemons and Limes</strong></p> <p>Store at room temperature for a couple weeks or in the fridge for up to several weeks.</p> <p><strong>Pineapple</strong></p> <p>Wrap cut up pineapple tightly in plastic or foil or store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to four days.</p> <h2>How to Pick the Best Fruit at the Supermarket</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/fruits-4854094-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>I found this <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Choose-Fruit">handy guide to picking fruit</a> (from wikiHow) that may help you take home the best produce available the next time you&#39;re shopping. Three tips include:</p> <p><strong>1. Buy in Season</strong></p> <p>Out-of-season fruit has a longer distance to travel because it comes from further away, so it&#39;s always best to buy in-season produce to ensure a higher quality of freshness and flavor. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Veggies By the Month</a>)</p> <p><strong>2. Use Your Senses</strong></p> <p>Employ your senses of touch, smell, and sight to pick the best produce. Instituting a little common sense doesn&#39;t hurt either. If there are a lot of bruises or (eek!) mold, steer clear.</p> <p><strong>3. Check the Stem</strong></p> <p>If your fruit has a stem on it, use it as a guide to determine freshness. A green stem on ripe fruit is a winner; a green stem on hard fruit permits caution.</p> <p><em>Do you have other tips for choosing the best fruits and how to store them properly? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-choose-and-store-fruit-for-maximum-freshness-and-flavor">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fridge-or-counter-where-to-store-fruit-for-best-flavor">Fridge or Counter: Where to Store Fruit for Best Flavor?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-off-season-foods-that-are-destroying-your-grocery-budget">5 Off-Season Foods That Are Destroying Your Grocery Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-pantry-tricks-that-save-you-big">9 Pantry Tricks That Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-this-not-that-at-the-farmers-market">Buy This — Not That — at the Farmer&#039;s Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink food storage fruit fruit storage groceries ripe fruit Wed, 16 Oct 2013 10:24:04 +0000 Mikey Rox 1015627 at http://www.wisebread.com The Produce Worker's Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kid_with_produce.jpg" alt="Child looking at fresh produce" title="Child looking at fresh produce" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="145" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We've had a few requests lately from readers who want to know more about how to get the most out of their fruits and vegetables. Keeping your produce fresh begins at the store. As a former produce stocker, I can tell you that most grocery stores use a variety of tricks to keep profit margins high and the waste to a minimum. If you know what to look for, then you can be sure to pick fruits and veggies that will have a longer shelf life at home.</p> <p>I put together a list of 25 commonly purchased grocery items and provided some basic purchasing tips based on my experience working in the produce department. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables by the Month</a>)</p> <h3>Avocados</h3> <p>Choosing that perfect avocado can be tricky. Because avocados will only ripen after they are picked, it's really hit or miss in terms of what shape they are in by the time they reach their destination. You can tell if an avo is ripe by the color and how firm it is. If it is bright green and hard, it won't be ready for a few days at least. A ripe avocado will be slightly soft and have a dark green skin, but it shouldn't be too soft. If push your finger into the skin and feel a &quot;space&quot; between the skin and flesh, it is past its prime. If you can't find a ripe avocado at the store, you can always speed up the ripening process by placing it in a brown paper bag, which helps trap the natural <a href="http://www.catalyticgenerators.com/whatisethylene.html">ethylene gas that causes many fruits to ripen</a>. Placing an apple or banana in the bag also helps.</p> <h3>Bananas</h3> <p>Finding ripe bananas is similar to hunting for ready-to-eat avocados &mdash; they are grown in tropical regions, picked early, and shipped to far away places. Customers would often pass up bananas with a few brown spots because they thought they were &quot;overripe.&quot; I would always peel one and let the customer taste, and most people would agree that this is when the banana is at its best. Lastly, from a strictly environmental perspective, you don't have to put your bananas in a plastic bag to bring them to the checkout (same for avocados). I've never understood this phenomenon, since this is one of the only fruits that has an inedible skin. Just be mindful next time you are at the store, and ask yourself, &quot;Do I really need a bag for this?&quot;</p> <h3>Basil</h3> <p>In the summer, many stores will display large bunches of basil in a bucket of water, which tends to look nice for about 24 hours. Make sure you are picking the healthiest bunch; the leaves shouldn't be droopy or shriveled, and they should have a strong aroma. If the basil is bagged, make sure there aren't any black leaves inside. A few spots are okay, but look for the bunch with the greenest leaves. Like most produce, the older items are rotated to the front when the display is restocked, so you may have to dig around a little. If you still can't find healthy-looking basil, ask someone in the department to check in the back. Basil is one of those items that is delivered often, but the new batch may not be on the floor yet.</p> <h3>Beets</h3> <p>Beets, turnips, parsnips, celery root, and other root veggies should never be soft. If your store displays them in a cooler that is too cold or wet, they will tend to get soft faster. Make sure they are hard and colorful, particularly if you plan on making a fresh beet salad or juice. It isn't as much of an issue if you plan to cook root veggies.</p> <h3>Berries</h3> <p>Mold is the biggest issue with berries, particularly the more delicate ones, such as raspberries and blackberries. In the summer, try to buy local berries sold in paper pints. Pick up the pint to check for any wet spots on the bottom, and try to gently shake the berries around to see if there's any hidden mold or broken berries. Mold spreads quickly once it is in the package, particularly plastic packaging. But even in the package, you can often detect bad berries by the smell. It's generally better to buy berries when they are in season since they will have more flavor and cost significantly less. Because they are so delicate and there's a lot of loss, produce departments have to mark up out-of-season berries.</p> <h3>Broccoli</h3> <p>There is some contention over whether it is best to buy crowns or bunches. Crowns tend to be more expensive, but bunches are sold by weight, and if you add the weight of the stalk, it can be just as costly. It really depends on whether or not you will use the stalks. In any case, you want to make sure that the crowns have a dark green hue. If they look pale or have yellow spots, they are on their way out. You can also squeeze the tops to make sure the broccoli is firm. The same goes for cauliflower. Look for a firm head with little to no brown spots.</p> <h3>Carrots</h3> <p>If your store offers bulk carrots, these are your best choice for quality, and they are much cheaper. As a general rule, bagged items have traveled many miles and may have begun to break down. Buying local will guarantee that you are getting the crispest carrots, but if local carrots aren't available, find out the source of the other options (most of the time you can find this information on the bag or ask an employee). Usually, you can find carrots that haven't traveled too far. Carrots should be bright in color and look &quot;alive.&quot; Avoid anything that looks limp, dry, dark, or moldy (similar to other root veggies).</p> <h3>Citrus</h3> <p>A good rule of thumb for citrus is that most varieties <a href="http://www.eatlocalchallenge.com/2006/06/what_is_ripe.html">will not ripen after they are picked</a>. So it is best to buy citrus that is ripe but not rotting. Look for a firm fruit with vibrant colors. Avoid anything that is bruised, wrinkled, or lacking in color.</p> <h3>Corn</h3> <p>Corn will last longer if you buy it with the husk and don't shuck it until you are ready to cook it. The husk keeps the corn moist and fresh. Look for a thick, bright-green husk, and don't buy anything that has dry ends or has too many brown spots. Even if it looks healthy, bugs can still be an issue (particularly with organic corn). Before you buy, peel back the husk without taking too much off, and make sure there aren't any places where the corn is pale, dry, or nibbled on. You can also tell which ears are healthy by weight. The heavier the ear, the more moisture it has retained.</p> <h3>Cucumbers</h3> <p>Cukes should be firm and dark green in color. Pickling cucumbers tend to be lighter in color, but you can always check to see if there are any soft or dark spots. I love Italian cucumbers &mdash; the long, slender ones &mdash; but they don't last as long and are typically sold in plastic wrap, which holds in the moisture and causes more breakdown. For any type of cuke, try to find ones that are not packaged.</p> <h3>Eggplant</h3> <p>Eggplant should be dark purple and firm, though there are <a href="http://www.foodsubs.com/Eggplants.html">many eggplant varieties</a> that have different shapes and colors. All eggplant varieties should have skin that is free of wrinkles and soft spots. Only buy eggplant if you plan to use it soon, since it doesn't store very well. Smaller varieties are less bitter.</p> <h3>Figs</h3> <p>While figs may not be as common as other fruits such as peaches or apricots, they all share the same qualities when they are ripe. Fresh figs are harder to find than dried ones, but they are a real treat if you can buy them when they are ripe. A ripe fig should have the same soft texture as a ripe peach, but it shouldn't be too soft. The skin should be slightly wrinkled but not shriveled. The color depends on the variety, but the most common variety sold in stores is the Brown Turkish Fig, which should have a deep brown color when ripe. But if you ever have the opportunity to eat a fig right of the tree, this is the best way to experience a fresh fig.</p> <h3>Green Beans</h3> <p>You should be able to break a fresh green bean in half without any effort, and it should have a snap to it. Buy green beans in bulk if you can, and put them in paper bags if your store offers them (the paper might absorb some of the moisture, but plastic encourages mold). Like berries, green beans tend to mold quickly, so look for the white furry stuff, especially if the beans are pre-packaged. Avoid anything that looks dark or mushy; a few spots are okay, but don't buy spotty, pale, or limp beans (same goes for snap peas).</p> <h3>Kale</h3> <p>A healthy bunch of kale has a rich color, and the leaves won't droop when you hold the bunch upright. This is true for other leafy greens, such as collards and chard. If you gently squeeze the leaves, they should make a squeaky sound and bounce back immediately. Think about a house plant that hasn't been watered in a while &mdash; don't buy any leafy green that looks like a sad or dying plant.</p> <h3>Lettuce</h3> <p>You can always tell if a head of lettuce is fresh by looking at the bottom where it was cut from the ground. If it is brown and dried out, it hasn't retained any water during its trip from the farm to the grocery shelves. Working in produce in the winter meant a lot more prep work, since we received lettuce from the West coast &mdash; a long distance from Vermont. To revive lettuce, we would trim off the bottom of the heads and soak them it in a sink full of water, which you could do at home, but it is better to pick out the healthiest lettuce at store. Look for lettuce that is crisp, vibrant, and that doesn't have wilted leaves, holes, or dark mushy spots. Avoid pre-packaged lettuce and buy mixed greens in bulk when available. Of course, local is always the best choice when it is in season.</p> <h3>Melons</h3> <p>To halve or not to halve. Forgive the hackneyed cliche, but this was always a debate in the produce department. From my experience, dividing and shrink-wrapping melons was an easy way to help customers see if the fruit was ripe. If a cantaloupe, for instance, had a good color, not too pale but not too dark, and didn't have any dark or pulpy spots, it was ready to eat. Avoid anything that looks too watery or that has a strong musky odor. For an uncut melon, smell the outside, and if you can tell what the fruit is with your eyes closed, it's ripe (this is true for pineapples too).</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-unique-ways-to-eat-watermelon">Watermelons</a> are in a slightly different category because they don't smell as strongly, and tapping to see if they sound hollow has never really worked for me. Avoid watermelons that have funky shapes, major discoloration, or anything that feels too light for its size. Heavier watermelons have more water inside and will be juicier. If you aren't sure, you can always compare it to the other ones around the same size and pick the heaviest one. Last word on melons &mdash; be adventurous. There are many types of melons out there, and you never know if one of them might be your new favorite.</p> <h3>Mushrooms</h3> <p>Picking out mushrooms that aren't molded can get dicey, since by definition, they <em>are </em>mold. One of my co-workers grew mushrooms for many years, and he said the best way to tell if a shroom is funky is the smell. Don't buy mushrooms if they smell fishy (not suspicious, but literally like fish). Color and texture are also good indicators. Lots of dark spots, slimy surfaces, and mushrooms that are too spongy are not good signs.</p> <h3>Onions</h3> <p>As with other alliums, such as garlic and shallots, sprouting is a sign that the onion is beginning to break down, but you can always check for wet or dark spots. Although onions have a strong odor to begin with, if the odor is overwhelming, it's probably bad. Look for fruit flies around the bin at the store, and always ask if there are fresher onions in the back since many root veggies are lower on the priority list in terms of restocking.</p> <h3>Pears</h3> <p>Like bananas, pears are actually better if they have brown spots on them. You don't want them to fall apart in your hands, but they should be relatively soft and aromatic. You can always request to taste one if there are many in the bunch that look too ripe. I've found that most people who work in produce are very friendly and generous with sampling, but as a rule, the brown spots on the skin are more of an indication of ripeness than rotting fruit.</p> <h3>Peppers</h3> <p>Smooth skin usually means a healthy pepper; however, wrinkles on jalapenos are okay, but be wary, because this often means that they are extra hot! All peppers should be firm and free of holes or dark spots, and they shouldn't feel like a rubber when you gently squeeze them.</p> <h3>Potatoes</h3> <p>You'll often find that potatoes are sold in plastic bags, which is the worst possible way to store potatoes. I'm assuming this is done so that customers can see the condition of the potatoes, but try to buy potatoes in bulk or sold in paper bags. Again, sprouts and spots are usually good indicators of a bad potato, but wrinkled skin is another one, along with soft flesh. Sometimes you can pick off the sprouts and they are still fine, but always check for green potatoes by scraping away a little of the skin. There's still a debate over <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/03/health/nutrition/03real.html">how toxic green potatoes really are</a>, but it's definitely a sign that the root has begun to break down.</p> <h3>Radishes</h3> <p>If the radishes are sold with the tops, you can tell how fresh they are by the health of the greens. Yellow or wilted leaves are a sign that the radish has been on the shelf for a while; however, always check the actual root. If it is still firm, then it is still fresh.</p> <h3>Tomatoes</h3> <p>Tomatoes have three simple fresh indicators: Color, texture, and fruit flies. Avoid pale tomatoes (heirlooms are exceptions to this rule) and any tomato that has been damaged. Once the skin is broken, they will break down much more quickly. When buying packaged cherry tomatoes, pick up the package. If you see fruit flies buzzing in all directions, put it back. If you aren't sure how to tell if an heirloom is ripe, just ask someone. For the most part, a tomato is ripe when it is soft enough to squeeze without breaking the skin.</p> <h3>Winter Squash</h3> <p>Winter squash will last for quite some time after harvest if stored properly. Whether it's butternut, acorn, or delicata, look for the squash that is heavy for its size (like watermelons), and don't buy winter squash if it is soft or if the rind is shriveled or dark in places.</p> <h3>Zucchini (and Summer Squash)</h3> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-preserve-zucchini">Zucchini</a> and summer squash are very similar, and you will often find them displayed near one another. Like most items on this list, avoid anything with mushy brown spots or that is too pale. Depending on the variety, the color should be bright and consistent. You can tell by the ends as well. Don't buy anything that has dry or squishy tips. The skin should also have a nice sheen and rubbery texture.</p> <p>From avocados to zucchini, you can always rely on color, texture, and size to help ensure freshness and quality when buying produce. Just remember three basic rules to guide you along the way: Ask questions, buy in season and local if possible, and don't be afraid to handle the goods. As long as you are gentle and not causing more damage, you have every right to inspect your produce before you buy it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-watson">Ashley Watson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-off-season-foods-that-are-destroying-your-grocery-budget">5 Off-Season Foods That Are Destroying Your Grocery Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-farm-share-a-smart-buy-for-your-household">Is a Farm Share a Smart Buy for Your Household?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-reloaded-is-eating-more-produce-the-secret-to-happiness-and-wellbeing">Wise Bread Reloaded: Is Eating More Produce the Secret to Happiness and Wellbeing?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-this-not-that-at-the-farmers-market">Buy This — Not That — at the Farmer&#039;s Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping eating fresh fruit grocery shopping produce vegetables Mon, 18 Jul 2011 10:36:16 +0000 Ashley Watson 615096 at http://www.wisebread.com The Food Strainer: My New, Old-Fashioned Gadget http://www.wisebread.com/the-food-strainer-my-new-old-fashioned-gadget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-food-strainer-my-new-old-fashioned-gadget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6172466580_7c9949ee70_z.jpg" alt="food strainer" title="food strainer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Those of you who follow my blogs know my obsession with do-it-yourself food processing. I usually find that making things yourself results in better quality food products, and often, less expensive ones.</p> <p>As background, one of the fruits my husband (aka &ldquo;Mr. Green Jeans&rdquo;) grows is lilikoi. We estimate that this summer we have, so far, processed close to 200 pounds of it. With the nectar, I make jelly, butter, juice, and other products. Before he gifted me with the food strainer, this was the process: Cut lilikoi open with a knife. Scoop the pulp out with a teaspoon into an old, clean dishtowel. Squeeze the dishtowel until all the juice comes out. Repeat. Talk about a laborious process! I used to dread seeing the full bucket of fruit at the back porch door. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-gluten-free-living-kitchen-tools-that-stretch-your-budget-and-your-time" title="Frugal Gluten-Free Living: Kitchen Tools that Stretch Your Budget and Your Time">Frugal Gluten-Free Living: Kitchen Tools that Stretch Your Budget and Your Time</a>)</p> <p>Besides cutting the processing time dramatically, the food strainer also does a much better job of straining out the seeds and pulp than I did. The fruit goes into the top section of the strainer, and then you turn the crank, which forces the fruit out through the conical screen. The juice goes through the holes in the screen and is collected by the &ldquo;squirt guard,&rdquo; which funnels it into a collection bowl. The pulp goes out the end of the conical screen and falls into a waste bowl. Talk about easy &mdash; and no electricity is needed!</p> <p>I realize most of you probably do not grow lilikoi and are wondering what use a food strainer would be to you. Well, how about marinara sauce? I found beautiful tomatoes at the farmers market, and into the strainer they went. I had no idea what a difference fresh, minimally processed tomatoes would make to the flavor of a sauce.</p> <p>If you like applesauce, no peeling or removing the core or seeds is necessary. Wash the apples, remove stems, quarter, and run them through the strainer. Other ideas from the instruction booklet include vegetable-tomato juice (similar to V-8), applesauce butter, and even carrot cake.</p> <p>I wish I had owned this product when our daughter was a baby, because I would have loved to have made my own fresh baby food. You simply simmer the vegetables, such as squash or carrots, until tender, and then put them through the strainer. Purees are seedless, skinless, and free of tough fibers. If you enjoy cooking with your kids, I think they would like helping to make things with the strainer, too. It is pretty safe (no exposed sharp parts) and even little hands can turn the crank easily.</p> <p>If you are a home canner, you would love this appliance. It really takes the tedium out of processing berries and fruit, and it cuts canning time in half.</p> <p>My strainer came from Amazon.com, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-favorite-mail-order-websites">one of my favorite websites</a>. It is a Back to Basics brand, which, according to Internet folklore, is made by the Victorio company. The cost was about $76, which included an accessory kit with three additional sizes of straining screens and a grape processing spiral. The accessory kit came with a brand name of Roma, apparently also made by the Victorio company. Some strainers come with suction cups, rather than clamps, for fastening to tables or countertops, but our research indicated the suction cup mechanisms were not as reliable as the clamps.</p> <p>Lastly, if you want to try making that marinara sauce in your new strainer, you can find the recipe I use in the <a href="http://downloads.mendingshed.com/strainermanual.pdf">strainer manual</a> (PDF).</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-food-strainer-my-new-old-fashioned-gadget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-spectacular-uses-for-that-lone-can-of-fruit">8 Spectacular Uses for that Lone Can of Fruit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternative-ways-to-cook-outside">8 Alternative Ways to Cook Outside</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-pieces-of-homemaking-advice-from-martha-stewart">The 7 Best Pieces of Homemaking Advice From Martha Stewart</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-diy-kitchen-skills-that-will-save-you-money">7 DIY Kitchen Skills That Will Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-for-camping-cooking">10 Tips for Camping Cooking</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Food and Drink canned fruit Cooking cooking tools fruit kitchen tools strainer Thu, 11 Nov 2010 14:00:23 +0000 Marla Walters 289714 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Make Use of Sub-Par Produce http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-use-of-sub-par-produce <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-make-use-of-sub-par-produce" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fruit melons.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="197" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My grocer has a little known secret: It sells damaged and past-date produce weekly. To find it, you have to go around the corner of the regular produce aisle, next to where the employees take their breaks, and right in front of where the forklifts go in and out. It&rsquo;s in a wire bin with no special markings or signage. It&rsquo;s our little piece of heaven.</p> <p>In addition to finding your typical antique bananas and bags of slightly bruised apples, there are other delicious treasures: plastic-wrapped packages of bell peppers, bags of pre-washed organic lettuce hearts, and sacks of hodge-podge items that combine avocados, artichokes, and lemons in the same space. While not everything here is worth buying, they charge 50-99 cents for each package &mdash; regardless of what&rsquo;s inside or what shape it&rsquo;s in.</p> <p>Because we are not food snobs, and we&rsquo;ve learn to adapt our diet to include the parts of produce that others throw away, we love stocking up as much as we can fit into our cart. Anything that gets home in too bad a shape for us to eat happily goes to our 40+ laying hens for some much needed dietary excitement. Here are the ways we use up the good stuff, and how we eat well for pennies per pound of produce.</p> <h3>Dehydrate (drying)</h3> <p><img width="454" height="500" alt="" src="http://wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u148/banans_in_trays.jpg" /></p> <p><img width="454" height="276" alt="" src="http://wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u148/bananas_dried_in_glass.jpg" /></p> <p>This is perhaps one of the easiest ways to use up food. Bananas are especially delicious when sliced thinly and placed on the drying racks of our $25 food dehydrator. Other foods we have had fun doing this with include whole chili peppers and apple rings.</p> <p><img width="500" height="375" alt="" src="http://wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u148/peppers_on_trays.jpg" /></p> <p><img width="500" height="359" alt="" src="http://wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u148/peppers_in_jars.jpg" /></p> <p>You&rsquo;ll want to consult the directions that come with your food dehydrator to see if you&rsquo;ll need to add citric acid to your produce, but as long as the portions you are drying are not too bruised and are mold-free, you&rsquo;ll have a way to keep food for many months or even decorate your kitchen! (Our dried chili peppers are beautiful on the counter.)</p> <h3>Breads</h3> <p><img width="500" height="318" alt="" src="http://wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u148/wrapped_bananas.jpg" /></p> <p>Sweet breads, muffins, and cakes are very forgiving to the quality of fruit and veggies you can use. The parts of the bananas that are too mushy or brown to be dried effectively end up in a plastic bag that gets mushed up and made into banana bread. As long as the fruit hasn&rsquo;t reached the stage of fermentation (smells like alcohol), you&rsquo;re usually safe to put past-date fruits of all kinds into your favorite baking recipes. Don&rsquo;t forget that you can do this with some veggies, too! My <a href="http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Carrot-Cake-III/Detail.aspx">favorite carrot cake recipe</a> uses a whopping 3 cups of grated carrots, and this <a href="http://www.cooks.com/rec/doc/0,164,145163-240196,00.html">vegetable garden bread</a> puts cabbage and celery to good use!</p> <h3>Soups</h3> <p>While salads are often more about presentation than flavor, soups are the exact opposite. Traditionally, soup pots have been a final destination for the parts of the veggie that most of us today just chuck into our compost pile. The skins and rinds of certain produce, however, can contain more than just hearty flavor; they also house some of the most nutritious portions of the vegetable. Potatoes, for example, are chock full of vitamins when the skin is left on (just avoid anything that has already begun to sprout or places where the skin is green &mdash; this signifies a high glycoalkaloid content, <a href="http://www.snopes.com/food/ingredient/potato.asp">which is toxic</a>!) By using up your slightly wilted celery, less-than-juicy onions, and blemished carrots, you can create delicious soup bases, stocks, and stews for mere pennies. Hungry for a skin-on potato soup? Check out this <a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2008/01/12/hearty-baked-potato-soup-a-quick-and-frugal-recipe-for-january/">mouth-watering rendition</a> from J.D. Roth!</p> <p><em>Note: Please be careful to wash all produce carefully, and be aware that some items will be healthiest when purchased as an <a href="http://wisebread.com/deciding-which-produce-to-buy-organic-the-dirty-dozen">organic offering</a>.</em></p> <h3>Freezing</h3> <p>My favorite way to quickly store the oodles of green, red, and yellow bell peppers that my grocer likes to put on quick sale is to simply rinse each pepper, slice into fourths, remove the seeds, and toss into a freezer bag. This is a great way to have green peppers on hand for making fajitas, <a href="http://parentingsquad.com/meatloaves-with-style-5-ways-to-jazz-up-the-wednesday-night-special">meatloaves</a>, or any other dish that requires cooked bell peppers. You can also freeze most any fruit or veggie, but blanching and citric acid may be required to maintain quality. (Dicing up tiny pieces of peppers, celery, and berries and then <a href="http://wisebread.com/ice-cube-trays-your-passport-to-huge-savings">freezing them in ice cube trays</a> make preparing soups and smoothies a breeze!)</p> <h3>Jams and Jellies</h3> <p>Much more labor-intensive, but possibly the most long-term of all solutions, making up a batch of strawberry jam or jelly is a tasty way to use up that couple of pints that didn&rsquo;t look so appealing at the grocery store. While the process itself takes some mastering, you can enjoy the &ldquo;fruits&rdquo; of your labor for many months to come!</p> <p>(Editors Note: As a few readers have pointed out, some types of overripe fruit may not be suitable for typical jams and jellies, as they will not contain the pectin needed to set well.&nbsp; Some ideas for long-term storage of fruit concoctions include chutneys, some berry jams that are stored in the fridge, and using overripe fruit as an addition to a basic jelly/jam or in homemade applesauce.&nbsp; Thanks to our many jam and jelly experts for helping us finetune this article!)</p> <h3>Juice</h3> <p>Have one of those expensive juicers at home just taking up space? Maybe you don&rsquo;t use it more because you hate cleaning it after every use. Or you just figured out how darned expensive it is to feed your juicing habit. Enter the miracle that is discounted produce: Use those bruised apples, bumpy carrots, and overripe berries to fuel you up before you leave for work. Feel good and save money!</p> <h3><baby food=""></baby></h3> <p><img src="http://wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u148/baby_food.jpg" style="width: 324px; height: 243px;" alt="" /></p> <p>Yes! My absolutely most frugal tip of this article is for the tiniest of foodies. Avoid buying premade baby food if you can make it yourself &mdash; for far less with reduced price produce! Whether you enjoy making up tiny portions of applesauce (crockpots work nicely for this), or you want to give a steamed, mashed broccoli mix a try, any edible, thoroughly washed, and properly cooked fruit or veggie can be blended into a beautiful and affordable puree for baby. Freeze or refrigerate for weeks&rsquo; worth of snacks and meals!</p> <p>Before you turn up your nose at the &ldquo;Manager&rsquo;s Special&rdquo; offered in your grocer&rsquo;s produce aisle, consider how much money you could save by buying their unwanted fruits and vegetables. Then look at the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/18/weekinreview/18martin.html">typical amount of fresh food wasted by the average American family.</a> Buying slightly damaged produce isn&rsquo;t disgusting &mdash; throwing away your money on overpriced food that you&rsquo;ll eventually let rot in the bottom of your crisper drawer, in my opinion, most certainly is.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-use-of-sub-par-produce">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">The Produce Worker&#039;s Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-off-season-foods-that-are-destroying-your-grocery-budget">5 Off-Season Foods That Are Destroying Your Grocery Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-your-apple-dangerous-how-to-eat-fewer-pesticides-and-save-money">Is Your Apple Dangerous? How to Eat Fewer Pesticides (and Save Money)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-farm-share-a-smart-buy-for-your-household">Is a Farm Share a Smart Buy for Your Household?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/unbearably-stupid-packaging">Dumbest packaging ever?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Green Living fruit produce save money veggies Tue, 23 Mar 2010 14:00:06 +0000 Linsey Knerl 5954 at http://www.wisebread.com Going Back to the Root Cellar http://www.wisebread.com/going-back-to-the-root-cellar <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/going-back-to-the-root-cellar" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/rootcellar.jpg" alt="Root cellar" title="Root cellar" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="250" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My grandmother once told me about her parents&#39; root cellar: it was just a story of something so different from modern day that she thought I would get a kick out of it. But root cellars seem to be experiencing a revival. </p> <p> Storing food for the winter used to be a big deal. Without a well-stocked root cellar (or a grocery store around the corner), it was impossible to eat well all year around. But with the advent of supermarkets shipping in produce from all over, the root cellar became a historical oddity. Its revival isn&#39;t a matter of a lack of produce. Instead, people are turning to root cellars as away to cut costs on produce. Root cellars also offer an opportunity to eat locally-grown produce year round.</p> <h2> What can you store in a root cellar?</h2> <p> Root cellars are officially for roots: potatoes, turnips, beets and carrots are the easiest to store. At the low temperature provided by most root cellars, these foods are unlikely to rot. Squash, onions and garlic can do equally well. Some fruits can also be stored, such as apples, but most must be preserved in some manner. My grandmother&#39;s parents kept their preserves and jams in their root cellar, as well as salt meat and fish. </p> <p> In the summertime — at least before electricity offered other options — many families kept items in need of refrigeration in their root cellars. Milk, butter, fresh meat and more were kept cool by the even temperatures of a root cellar. </p> <h2> What does a root cellar look like?</h2> <p> Creating a root cellar is surprisingly simple. Dig a hole, add some shelves and you effectively have a working root cellar. Most root cellars are underground rooms with minimal insulation and dirt floors. They use the cold of their surroundings to keep food chilled and are ideally constructed below the frost line (four feet in many areas). There are above ground options as well: if you have some sort of shed at ground level, you can pile rock or dirt around it or cover it with sod to help keep temperatures down. Survivalist Ted Wright has published plans for a root cellar that&#39;s as simple as digging a whole and swiping a few pallets from a local warehouse. </p> <p> Don&#39;t have an area around your home where you can start digging? The <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/06/garden/06root.html">New York Times</a> interviewed a couple last week who turned their basement into a root cellar. In their brownstone, Cynthia and Haja Worley have an unfinished basement lined with shelves. The temperature remains constantly cool, allowing the Worleys to store all sorts of produce. </p> <h2> The Important Details</h2> <p> <ul> <li> Keep these details in mind if you want to store foods in a root cellar or your basement:</li> <li> The food must be dry before you store it.</li> <li> Some foods require special preparation to ensure they&#39;ll last longer. This <a href="http://standeyo.com/News_Files/Food/root.cellar.chart.html">chart</a> includes information on specific foods.</li> <li> The ideal temperature of a root cellar ranges from 40 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on what you&#39;re storing. </li> <li> Humidity of 80 to 90 percent is necessary to preserve fresh vegetables.</li> <li> Soil floors can help increase humidity .</li> </ul> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-back-to-the-root-cellar">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-off-season-foods-that-are-destroying-your-grocery-budget">5 Off-Season Foods That Are Destroying Your Grocery Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">The Produce Worker&#039;s Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fridge-or-counter-where-to-store-fruit-for-best-flavor">Fridge or Counter: Where to Store Fruit for Best Flavor?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pom-wonderful">Pom - Wonderful?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-ways-to-use-up-a-jar-of-preserves">30 Ways to Use Up a Jar of Preserves</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink fruit root cellar vegetable Thu, 13 Nov 2008 16:45:38 +0000 Thursday Bram 2582 at http://www.wisebread.com