produce http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7369/all en-US How to Make Your Favorite Summer Produce Last All Year http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-favorite-summer-produce-last-all-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-make-your-favorite-summer-produce-last-all-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/healthy_detox_water.jpg" alt="Healthy detox water" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>During warmer months, you can find almost unlimited affordable produce at farmers markets and from your own garden. But produce doesn't last very long &mdash; unless you know how to preserve it. Here are a few methods you can use to preserve the food you have now so you can enjoy it months, or even years later.</p> <h2>1. Drying</h2> <p>Some produce can be preserved by drying it so it can be stored in jars or plastic bags without spoiling. Beans, peas, corn, and hot peppers can be dried and rehydrated for later use. Apples, apricots, pears, and plums can also be preserved by drying. Another way to preserve fruit by drying is to make &quot;fruit leather&quot; by processing it in a blender and spreading it out to dry on a thin sheet. And grapes can be dried in the sun to become raisins. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/all-dried-up-how-to-dry-fruits-and-vegetables?ref=seealso" target="_blank">All Dried Up: How to Dry Fruits and Vegetables</a>)</p> <p>You can preserve fresh herbs such as mint, cilantro, rosemary, sage, oregano, and dill by hanging them to dry. Roast soy beans and pumpkin seeds in the oven on a baking sheet to dry.</p> <p>If you have a lot of produce to dry, you can buy or build a food dehydrator to more efficiently preserve larger quantities of food in a small space. You can get a small plastic food dehydrator for around $40 or a larger food dehydrator with metal racks for around $100. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-food-dehydrators?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 5 Best Food Dehydrators</a>)</p> <h2>2. Freezing</h2> <p>Most vegetables have better taste, color, and texture if you blanch or steam them before freezing. Some good candidates to freeze are: asparagus, broccoli, greens, okra, peas, peppers, pumpkin, tomato, blueberry, cherry, cranberry, peaches, pears, rhubarb, and strawberries. Another way to use your freezer to preserve your produce is to cook up a big batch of soup with your vegetables and freeze it.</p> <p>You'll need a freezer and an airtight storage container to preserve food by freezing. The important thing is to make sure you have an airtight seal to prevent your food from drying out and oxidizing in the freezer, otherwise known as freezer burn. The better your container, the longer your food will last in the freezer and maintain its quality.</p> <p>You can get a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-vacuum-sealers" target="_blank">vacuum sealing system</a> that includes a vacuum pump and a few heat-sealable bags for around $60. If that's too much, look for a hand vacuum pump starter kit with zipper bags for around $15. The cheapest way to get started is to use thick plastic zipper bags intended for freezer use and squeeze the air out manually before zipping closed. You can get a box of 28 gallon-sized freezer bags for about $5.</p> <h2>3. Canning</h2> <p>For foods with high acid content such as fruit, fruit juice, jelly, jam, tomatoes, and pickled foods, you can use a simple water bath canning method that does not require a pressure cooker. Water bath canning involves submerging jars of produce in a very large container of boiling water.</p> <p>I use a large pot of boiling water, Mason jars, lids, and bands to preserve my salsa made with vinegar, tomatoes, and green peppers. You can add corn, hot peppers, and lots of other ingredients to make a unique and tasty salsa. The jars and bands are reusable, but the lids should be used only once.</p> <p>You can get a <a href="http://amzn.to/2ur4ItM" target="_blank">box of 12 Mason jars</a> with lids and bands for under $20 to get started. Highly acidic foods will be good to eat for 12 to 18 months after canning. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-home-canned-foods-that-beat-store-bought?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Home Canned Foods That Beat Store Bought</a>)</p> <p>If you want to expand into canning of other produce, you can get a range-top <a href="http://amzn.to/2fqfIpD" target="_blank">pressure cooker</a> for around $100, depending on the capacity you need. This allows higher temperatures to be reached during canning to ensure that harmful bacteria are killed, avoiding food spoilage or food poisoning. Low acid foods canned with a pressure cooker are safe and nutritious for many years after canning.</p> <h2>4. Cellaring</h2> <p>Cellaring is a technique of preserving fruits and vegetables by using a space in your house that you keep at about 32&ordm;F to 40&ordm;F with high humidity. These conditions slow decomposition and prevent dehydration and withering. Beets, cabbage, carrots, onions, potatoes, parsnips, garlic, apples, and winter squash are some things that can be stored during the winter in a root cellar.</p> <p>You may be able to make a root cellar in a cold corner of your basement, or you may be able to dig a hole below the frost line and place produce in a container to preserve it.</p> <h2>5. Pickling</h2> <p>Pickling is a way of preserving vegetables by heating them in a vinegar and water mixture. This method of pickling does not involve fermentation, and is the way most store-bought pickles are produced. Cucumbers, beets, and okra can be easily made into delicious pickles. Add sugar and spices such as cloves and dill to the vinegar mixture to get the flavor of pickles that you like best. You can keep your homemade pickles in a container in the refrigerator for a few weeks, or use water bath canning to preserve your pickled produce for the long haul.</p> <h2>6. Fermenting</h2> <p>Fermentation is a method of preservation that changes the chemical properties of your produce, converting it into a new form that can be stored for a long time. In fermented pickled produce, the sugar in vegetables is converted into lactic acid by lactic acid bacteria. In fermented beverages, the sugar in fruit is converted into alcohol by yeast.</p> <p>Cabbage can be fermented into sauerkraut or kimchi, which is tasty and rich in vitamins and minerals. Vegetables can be fermented into pickles that have a shelf life of six months or so. Use pickling salt or kosher salt when making fermented pickles since regular salt is iodized and contains anti-caking agents that can result in cloudy brine and reduce the quality of your pickles.</p> <p>For making sauerkraut, kimchi, or fermented pickles, you can get a set of <a href="http://amzn.to/2vBqQWX" target="_blank">fermentation lids</a> to put on Mason jars for about $35, or a <a href="http://amzn.to/2vg3GEK" target="_blank">fermentation crock with weights</a> for $60.</p> <p>Grapes, berries, and fruit juice can be fermented into wine or hard cider. Honey mixed with water can be fermented into mead. When bottled, these fermented beverages last for years and can even develop improved flavor with aging.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-make-your-favorite-summer-produce-last-all-year&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Make%2520Your%2520Favorite%2520Summer%2520Produce%2520Last%2520All%2520Year.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Make%20Your%20Favorite%20Summer%20Produce%20Last%20All%20Year"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Make%20Your%20Favorite%20Summer%20Produce%20Last%20All%20Year.jpg" alt="How to Make Your Favorite Summer Produce Last All Year" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-favorite-summer-produce-last-all-year">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/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</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/10-organic-grocery-items-that-arent-worth-it">10 Organic Grocery Items That Aren&#039;t Worth It</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/the-5-best-popsicle-molds">The 5 Best Popsicle Molds</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/5-places-to-find-free-or-cheap-mason-jars">5 Places to Find Free or Cheap Mason Jars</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink canning cheap produce dried fruit fruit jam make food last produce summer food summer fruit summer vegetables Wed, 09 Aug 2017 19:30:06 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1999914 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Grocery Purchases That Will Be Cheaper in 2017 http://www.wisebread.com/6-grocery-purchases-that-will-be-cheaper-in-2017 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-grocery-purchases-that-will-be-cheaper-in-2017" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_grocery_store_477153876.jpg" alt="Woman buying groceries that will be cheaper in 2017" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="143" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In case you haven't noticed, 2017 is here and bringing a whole bunch of changes.</p> <p>With a new president in the White House, a second hike in interest rates by the Fed since 2006, a long list of U.S. cities with higher minimum wages, and a broad range of changes coming to the states, consumers are still trying to figure out how all of these changes are going to affect them.</p> <p>Cheer up, America! It looks like 2017 may also bring you some serious <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries?ref=internal">savings at the grocery store</a>. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service keeps track of the average prices paid by urban Americans for a series of key consumer goods and services. The latest data from the USDA's Food Price Outlook is showing that you'll save on your grocery runs throughout 2017. Let's break down the six buys that will give you the most bang for your buck this year.&nbsp;</p> <h2>1. Eggs</h2> <p>Continuing their downward trend in prices throughout 2016, eggs are leading the forecast savings with an estimated <a href="https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-price-outlook/summary-findings.aspx" target="_blank">drop of 3% to 4% in price</a> for 2017. This means that the sightings of a dozen of eggs going for under a buck should become more common in cities across the nation. Even when adjusted for inflation, 2017 is poised to set a record for lowest price of eggs since 2000. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-make-perfectly-cooked-eggs?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways to Make Perfectly Cooked Eggs</a>)</p> <h2>2. Fats and Oils</h2> <p>Stay with me on this one; it's not as unhealthy as it sounds. In this category, the USDA goes beyond the usual suspects, such as butter and cooking oil, and includes several familiar food items, including peanut butter and salad dressing. A drop in the prices of fats and oils has a domino effect across prices in several grocery aisles.</p> <p>Back in November 2016, the USDA reported that the prices of fats and oils fell 2.9% from the previous month and were down 2.4% from the previous year. For 2017, the USDA is projecting an additional 3% to 4% drop in prices for fats and oils.</p> <h2>3. Beef and Veal</h2> <p>As forecast back in our guide to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-necessities-that-will-be-cheaper-in-2016?ref=internal" target="_blank">cheaper buys in 2016</a>, prices of pork products dropped 3.25% to 4.25% throughout the year, according to USDA data. In 2017, the USDA isn't expecting pork prices to drop much, if at all. However, prices of beef and veal are poised to continue to drop an extra 1% to 2% across the nation this year.</p> <p>Higher production outputs of carcasses, larger supplies of beef and veal held in cold storage, and lower prices of both feeder and fed cattle are all contributing to the lower prices of beef and veal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-ways-to-make-cheap-cuts-of-meat-taste-expensive?ref=seealso" target="_blank">25 Easy Ways to Make Cheap Cuts of Meat Taste Expensive</a>)</p> <h2>4. Fresh Vegetables</h2> <p>With all these low prices, you may be having second thoughts about your New Year's resolution to lose weight. Fear not dear dieters, 2017 is also cutting down the prices of fresh veggies to keep you on track for success. While the previous year brought very little savings, the new one is expected to reduce the prices of fresh vegetables by 2% to 3%.</p> <p>When looking for fresh produce in 2017, keep in mind that the prices of fresh fruits are on the rise. The USDA is forecasting an increase of 1% to 2% in the prices of fresh fruits for 2017. Another reason to stick with fresh veggies is that the prices of processed fruits and vegetables are expected to rise up to 1% this year.</p> <h2>5. Avocados</h2> <p>Speaking of fresh fruits, the price of an avocado is one that might be an exception to the USDA forecast for 2017. If you were paying attention at the store, you may have noticed that the prices of avocados were much higher than usual. For example, some stores in California were commanding as much as $3 per avocado. The same thing was taking place across several grocers here in Hawaii.</p> <p>The culprit for these high prices was the interruption in harvesting caused by disputes between avocado growers and packers in Mexico. The disagreements resulted in a dramatic drop of exported Mexican avocados to the U.S. from a projected <a href="http://www.thepacker.com/news/mexico-avocados-resume-full-production" target="_blank">40 million pounds</a> to just 13.7 million in October 2016. Fortunately, an agreement was reached in November 2016 and Mexican harvesting of avocados is now back to normal. As more and more millions of Mexican avocados enter the market in the next couple of weeks, the prices of the green fruit are expected to drop.</p> <p>Given the expected lower prices of avocado for 2017, you could start taking better advantage of all of the different uses of this nutrient-rich fruit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-unexpected-uses-for-avocados?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Unexpected Uses for Avocados</a>)</p> <h2>6. Whole Foods Products</h2> <p>Yes, there are actually <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-foods-that-are-actually-cheaper-at-whole-foods?ref=internal" target="_blank">buys that are cheaper at Whole Foods</a> than most major food chains. And to continue to meet the high expectations of its shareholders, Whole Foods is rolling out two key initiatives in 2017 that will drive down the prices of many of its products.</p> <p>First, Whole Foods has been offering its 365 Everyday Value brand at its regular stores for quite some time. Given that many of the products under the 365 brand are cheaper than those at major grocers, Whole Foods decided to open 365 by Whole Foods Market stores that only sell those products. Currently, there are only three 365 stores (Los Angeles, California; Lake Oswego, Oregon; and Bellevue, Washington), but there are 16 more scheduled to open in 2017 and beyond.</p> <p>Second, Whole Foods has introduced a <a href="https://rewards.wholefoodsmarket.com" target="_blank">rewards program</a> across 24 regular stores across New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Texas. The rewards program offers a 10% discount on the first purchase and additional discounts as you continue to shop using the program. Also, all 365 by Whole Foods Market stores automatically participate in a separate rewards program that offers an instant 10% off on close to 120 items per week.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line: Eat at Home More Often in 2017</h2> <p>In 2017, it will be cheaper for you to eat in than to eat out. The USDA is expecting prices of food away from home to increase from 2% to 3%, while those of food at home to only increase from 0.5% to 1.5%. Shop smart and prep more home meals and you'll be able to pocket some extra cash this 2017.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-grocery-purchases-that-will-be-cheaper-in-2017">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/how-to-stay-on-budget-while-eating-paleo">How to Stay on Budget While Eating Paleo</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/6-foods-that-are-actually-cheaper-at-whole-foods">6 Foods That Are Actually Cheaper At Whole Foods</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/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips</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/save-big-at-these-4-discount-supermarkets">Save Big at These 4 Discount Supermarkets</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping 2017 eggs food costs forecast groceries meat price drops produce saving money USDA Whole Foods Tue, 10 Jan 2017 10:00:13 +0000 Damian Davila 1870051 at http://www.wisebread.com 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 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-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/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/save-big-at-these-4-discount-supermarkets">Save Big at These 4 Discount Supermarkets</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 Best Money Tips: Genius Ways to Use Leftover Fruits and Veggies http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-genius-ways-to-use-leftover-fruits-and-veggies <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-genius-ways-to-use-leftover-fruits-and-veggies" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000043964332.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found genius ways to use leftover produce, the best stores for Black Friday this year, and simple tricks to cut costs over the holidays.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Uses-Leftover-Fruit-Vegetables-35106060#photo-35106060">26 Genius Uses For Leftover Fruits and Vegetables</a> &mdash; You can use citrus rinds as natural planters for your seedlings, then plant them directly in your garden when they're big enough! [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/5-reasons-youll-never-get-out-debt/">5 Reasons You'll Never Get Out of Debt</a> &mdash; You'll always be in debt if you constantly make up excuses to put off money management. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2015/1118/Black-Friday-sales-the-10-best-stores-for-2015">Black Friday sales: the 10 best stores for 2015</a> &mdash; Target, Walmart, and Kohl's are worth checking out, but Best Buy will have the best Black Friday sale of the year, hands down. [The Monitor]</p> <p><a href="http://frugalbeautiful.com/blog/simple-tricks-cut-costs-save-holidays-starting-today/">Simple Tricks To Cut Costs &amp; Save Up For The Holidays (Starting Today!)</a> &mdash; Making DIY gifts is a great way to save money, but don't be caught in a pinch! Start planning your projects now and buy supplies in bulk if you can. [Frugal Beautiful]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dumblittleman.com/2015/11/3-monumental-startup-disasters-entrepreneurs-can-avoid.html">3 Monumental Startup Disasters And How Entrepreneurs Can Avoid Them</a> &mdash; Got a million-dollar idea? Take steps to protect yourself! Don't repeat these mistakes. [Dumb Little Man]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.lifeoptimizer.org/2015/11/18/better-tomorrow/">7 Questions to Ask Yourself Every Day for a Better Tomorrow</a> &mdash; Ask yourself periodically, &quot;How am I feeling right now?&quot; Acknowledging your feelings, whether they&rsquo;re negative or positive, is an empowering thing. [Life Optimizer]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dinksfinance.com/2015/11/4-things-you-can-do-to-save-money-today/">4 Things You Can Do to Save Money Today!</a> &mdash; Phones plans change all the time, and phone companies don't always tell you when they do. Do some research and see if your provider offers a cheaper plan. [Dinks Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.robertjacobs.org/2015/11/16/4-ways-to-get-rid-of-financial-lifestyle-creep/">5 Ways to Get Rid of Financial Lifestyle Creep</a> &mdash; When you start to feel that luxuries are becoming necessities, think back to a time when you couldn't afford the luxury. If you could make do without it then, you can make do without it now. [Everyday Financial Strategies]</p> <p><a href="http://reachfinancialindependence.com/top-6-free-tools-to-start-and-grow-your-online-business/">Top 6 Free Tools to Start and Grow your Online Business</a> &mdash; Use Coogle, mind mapping tool, to quickly organize your ideas. [Reach Financial Independence]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dontpayfull.com/blog/how-to-save-time-and-money-on-your-laundry">How to Save Time and Money on Your Laundry</a> &mdash; Make sure your dryer is running efficiently by checking the external dryer vent for any lint or dirt build-up. [Don't Pay Full]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-genius-ways-to-use-leftover-fruits-and-veggies">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/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</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-delicious-uses-for-leftover-hot-dogs">7 Delicious Uses for Leftover Hot Dogs</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/egg-pan-sugar-softener-and-50-other-uses-for-citrus-peels">50+ Uses for Citrus Peels</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/food-going-bad-quickly-heres-how-to-fix-it">Food Going Bad Quickly? Here&#039;s How to Fix It</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink best money tips leftovers produce Mon, 23 Nov 2015 20:00:11 +0000 Amy Lu 1615570 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Organic Grocery Items That Aren't Worth It http://www.wisebread.com/10-organic-grocery-items-that-arent-worth-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-organic-grocery-items-that-arent-worth-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/roasted corn.jpg" alt="roast corn" title="roast corn" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're like me, you buy organic because you believe it's good for you (fewer chemicals in your body and more nutrients in the food) and good for the environment (fewer pesticides sprayed on crops). But it's also expensive. So the question is: what kinds of foods can you get away with buying non-organic? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-15-foods-that-are-worth-buying-organic?ref=seealso">The Only 15 Foods That Are Worth Buying Organic</a>)</p> <p>Here are 10 foods for which you can skip the organic and buy conventional instead.</p> <h2>1. Maple Syrup</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/maple%20syrup%20bottles.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>While you should buy pure maple syrup instead of maple-flavored &quot;syrup,&quot; it doesn't have to be organic. The same process is used to produce both <a href="http://andersonsmaplesyrup.com/index.php?page=organic_nonorganic">organic and non-organic maple syrup</a> and most non-organic syrup is made without pesticides or chemicals.</p> <h2>2. Seafood</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/raw%20salmon.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>The USDA currently has <a href="http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/common-resources/fish/seafood/labeling/organic-seafood-fact-or-fiction/">no organic standards for seafood</a>, so if you see seafood labeled as &quot;organic,&quot; beware. The label doesn't mean it adheres to any U.S. standards.</p> <h2>3. Quinoa</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/quinoa%20blueberries.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Quinoa has a bitter-tasting coating that's not appealing to pests, so most&nbsp;<a href="http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/shopping-storing/food/non-organic-food/non-organic-quinoa">quinoa growers skip pesticides</a>. Although there's a chance a farmer might spray a quinoa crop, it's unlikely. So, go ahead and buy conventional quinoa, since it's unlikely to have unhealthy chemicals.</p> <h2>4. Grapefruit Juice</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/grapefruit-juice-Dollarphotoclub_67204155.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Since grapefruit has a thick skin, most pesticides don't penetrate the fruit inside. You can skip organic grapefruit juice.</p> <h2>5. Avocados</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/avocados%20bunch.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>You've probably noticed that organic avocados aren't that much more expensive than conventional ones. The reason? Like grapefruit, given their skin, growing organic avocados isn't that much more difficult than growing conventional avocados.</p> <h2>6. Most Tropical Fruit</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/kiwis.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>The Environmental Working Group (EWG) came up with a <a href="http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/">&quot;Clean 15&quot;</a> &mdash; 15 types of produce that have lower pesticides. Over 25% of this list was made up of tropical fruit. Pineapple, mango, papaya, and kiwi are all types of produce shown to have fewer pesticides.</p> <h2>7. Frozen Peas</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/frozen%20peas.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>My toddler son loves to eat frozen peas (and specifically to eat them still frozen.) We almost always tried to buy them organic, believing these to be better for him. Imagine my surprise to find out that they are also part of EWG's Clean 15.</p> <h2>8. Corn</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/roasted%20corn.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Corn is another item I was surprised to see on EWG's list of produce with fewer pesticides. While they say there are fewer pesticides, remember that organic certification also means that the item is not genetically modified. So, if you are only choosing organic items to lower your exposure to pesticides, it's fine to buy conventional corn. But if you want to avoid genetically modified foods, then buy organic corn.</p> <h2>9. The 3 Cs: Cantaloupe, Cabbage, Cauliflower</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/cantalopes.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>One of the guidelines in knowing when to choose organic over conventional is whether you eat the skin. If you eat the skin, it's usually best to buy organic. With cantaloupe you don't eat the skin &mdash; so perhaps that's one reason it made the EWG Clean 15 list. But cabbage and cauliflower were also part of EWG's Clean 15. So a good way to remember these items is &quot;the 3 Cs.&quot;</p> <h2>10. Onions</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/onions%20bunch.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Since they're a staple of everything from meatloaf to stir fry, you might assume it's best to buy organic onions. Not so. Conventional onions have fewer pesticides than many other foods, partially due to the layers of outer skin that you peel away, so you can skip organic. Further, at least according to one study, organically grown onions do <a href="http://www.foodnavigator.com/Science/Organically-grown-carrots-and-onions-match-conventionally-grown-antioxidant-levels">not offer any more nutrients</a> than conventionally grown.</p> <p><em>Do you mix and match conventionally grown produce and organically grow? How do you decide?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-organic-grocery-items-that-arent-worth-it">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-foods-that-are-actually-cheaper-at-whole-foods">6 Foods That Are Actually Cheaper At Whole Foods</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/8-ways-to-buy-organic-and-still-be-frugal">8 Ways to Buy Organic and Still Be Frugal</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/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-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 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping conventional groceries organic pesticides produce Tue, 10 Feb 2015 22:00:06 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 1286277 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/7-ways-to-make-use-of-sub-par-produce">7 Ways to Make Use of Sub-Par Produce</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 Is Your Apple Dangerous? How to Eat Fewer Pesticides (and Save Money) http://www.wisebread.com/is-your-apple-dangerous-how-to-eat-fewer-pesticides-and-save-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-your-apple-dangerous-how-to-eat-fewer-pesticides-and-save-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/food-apple-5088938-small.jpg" alt="apple" title="apple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the biggest concerns in food safety today is our intake of chemicals that are sprayed on fresh produce. Fungicides, insecticides, and other chemicals are the price we pay for, uniform, beautiful, and bountiful fruits and vegetables. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eating-at-the-intersection-of-cheap-and-healthy" target="_blank">Eating at the Intersection of Cheap and Healthy</a>)</p> <p>Buying organic is one way to minimize your pesticide exposure, but for the frugal among us, organic produce can often seem too costly. The great news is that you don't have to buy exclusively organic produce to drastically minimize your pesticide exposure. By selecting a combination of organic and conventionally grown items, you can reduce the chemical content in your food without breaking the bank.</p> <h2>1. Buy Organic Where It Counts</h2> <p>The Environmental Working Group has compiled a <a href="http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php" target="_blank">list of produce</a> that should be on everyone's refrigerator door. The EWG warns about the &quot;Dirty Dozen Plus,&quot; a list of over a dozen fruits and vegetables that carry the highest pesticide load or which are contaminated with particularly harmful insecticides.</p> <p>Among the Dirty Dozen are apples, peaches, grapes, strawberries, and celery. You can minimize your pesticide exposure by buying organic or pesticide-free versions of those fruits and vegetables, and choosing more alternative produce from the EWG's &quot;Clean Fifteen,'&quot; a list that includes squash, mangoes, avocados, and other produce that carry few pesticides. Knowing specifically what produce has the greatest pesticide load means that you don't have to buy EVERYTHING organic, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-not-to-buy-at-a-farmers-market" target="_blank">just certain items</a>.</p> <p>Buying fruit in season also eases the strain on your wallet. For example, organic blueberries are worth their weight in gold most of the year, but become much more affordable when they are in season in the summer.</p> <h2>2. Shop at Farmers' Markets</h2> <p>Much of the local produce at the farmers' markets is pesticide-free, although they do not officially have an &quot;organic&quot; label. That is because it can be more difficult for small farms to comply with all the requirements for getting an organic label, even if their fruits and vegetables are produced without chemicals and with respect for the environment.</p> <p>Next time you're at the farmers' market, ask whether the produce is pesticide-free. Most likely, you'll be able to buy pesticide-free fruits and vegetables at a lower cost than organic produce at a supermarket (and the produce will be fresher, too).</p> <h2>3. Buy Frozen</h2> <p>When I can't afford to buy fresh organic broccoli, I go for the frozen organic broccoli in a bag. It tastes fine in a casserole, and freezing preserves most of the nutrients. Same goes for spinach (which is on the Dirty Dozen list). Sometimes, frozen vegetables are already cut up; perfect for throwing into a stir-fry or adding to a pasta sauce, so they're convenient, too!</p> <h2>4. Shop at Ethnic Markets</h2> <p>My local Korean grocery store has a surprising amount of organic produce for extremely reasonable prices. A huge assortment of organic mushrooms can be had for 99 cents a package! To take advantage of this organic windfall, I've learned to use different kinds of mushrooms in all sorts of dishes, from omelets and risotto to stir-fries and soups.</p> <p>You can challenge yourself to cook new dishes by using whatever organic ingredients are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-to-save-a-bundle-on-your-groceries-consider-you-local-asian-market" target="_blank">available at your local ethnic market</a>.</p> <h2>5. Rinse, Scrub, and Peel</h2> <p>When you can't afford to buy pesticide-free produce, minimize the pesticides in your food <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wash-it-yourself-other-ways-to-save-money-on-organic-fruits-veggies" target="_blank">by rinsing and scrubbing your produce</a> under running water. Forget the fancy vegetable washes &mdash; studies show that <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/05/health/05real.html?_r=1&amp;" target="_blank">plain old water does just as well</a>. Remember, the scrubbing action is the key to removing pesticides, so rub them vigorously with your hands or scrub them with a brush exclusively devoted to that purpose. If you want to remove potentially harmful bacteria, rinse your fruits and veggies in a vinegar solution.</p> <p>Peeling fruits and vegetables can reduce the pesticides on the surface, but thin-skinned fruits and veggies like tomatoes, apples, and potatoes actually absorb pesticides, so peeling doesn't get rid of chemicals entirely. Scary thought, isn't it?</p> <h2>6. Buy Lean Cuts of Meat</h2> <p>Fruits and vegetables aren't the only culprits when it comes to pesticide exposure. Conventionally raised meats <a href="http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/12-commonly-contaminated-foods" target="_blank">also contain pesticide residues</a> from the feed given to the animals (not to mention antibiotic-resistant bacteria) &mdash; in fact, the EPA states that meats are contaminated with higher levels of pesticides than plant foods.</p> <p>Many harmful pesticides are fat-soluble and accumulate in an animal's fatty tissues, as well as in the fat content of dairy products. To reduce your exposure, choose lean cuts of meat and trim off excess fat. Choose low-fat milk and yogurt when buying conventional dairy. Choose organic whole milk for young children and organic butter if you can.</p> <h2>7. Buy Organic Meat in Bulk, and Choose Less Popular Cuts</h2> <p>To lower your pesticide exposure, eat less, but better-quality meat (it's better for the planet, too).</p> <p>Some families buy a share of a grass-fed animal (a quarter of a steer, for example) at more reasonable prices than buying organic meat retail. You can also buy organic meat at bulk retailers like Costco. Although stores like Costco may not have much selection, you can stock up on organic ground beef and other cuts that you can rotate through.</p> <p>Buy less popular cuts to save even more. For example, a pound of organic, free-range chicken thighs is half the price of organic chicken breasts (and in my opinion, tastes better too). Note that the label &quot;natural&quot; on meats only means that the meat has been minimally processed after butchering &mdash; the animal could have been fed antibiotics and pesticide-contaminated feed.</p> <p>Exclusively eating organic food would be ideal, but most of us can't afford it. By judiciously selecting which foods you buy organic, and by reducing your exposure to pesticides when you buy conventionally-grown produce, you'll be doing your body a favor and keeping some money in your wallet, too.</p> <p><em>How are you keeping pesticides out of your pantry and fridge?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-your-apple-dangerous-how-to-eat-fewer-pesticides-and-save-money">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/10-organic-grocery-items-that-arent-worth-it">10 Organic Grocery Items That Aren&#039;t Worth It</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-only-15-foods-that-are-worth-buying-organic">The Only 15 Foods That Are Worth Buying Organic</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/8-ways-to-buy-organic-and-still-be-frugal">8 Ways to Buy Organic and Still Be Frugal</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/25-low-cost-foods-packed-with-nutrition">25 Low-Cost Foods Packed With Nutrition</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> Food and Drink Green Living Shopping food shopping organic pesticides produce Thu, 18 Jul 2013 10:36:33 +0000 Camilla Cheung 980556 at http://www.wisebread.com It Was on Sale…Now How Do I Cook It? http://www.wisebread.com/it-was-on-sale-now-how-do-i-cook-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/it-was-on-sale-now-how-do-i-cook-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/grocery store.jpg" alt="Produce shop" title="Produce shop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="170" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of my favorite ways to save money on groceries is to shop based on what&rsquo;s on sale in the meat and produce section. Although this requires a little more creativity, I find that I end up buying a wide variety of healthy foods for cheap. Instead of shopping for ingredients based on a new recipe (have you noticed ingredients are never on sale when you need them?), cook based on what&rsquo;s on sale.</p> <p>Unfortunately, it&rsquo;s not always easy to cook unfamiliar produce and cuts of meat. To help those of us who are trying to eat well on a budget, here are a few simple ways to cook food items that often go on sale. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">The Produce Worker's Guide to Choosing Fruits and&nbsp;Vegetables</a>)</p> <h2>Broccoli and Cauliflower</h2> <p>Broccoli crowns go on sale often throughout the year, and this healthy cruciferous vegetable is not only full of vitamins, but it helps prevent cancer too. For a simple salad, blanch the florets of two crowns in boiling water for 30 seconds, shock them in cold water, and then dress them with sliced almonds and a vinaigrette made with 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp sesame oil, salt, and 1 tsp sugar.</p> <p>Cauliflower is also very good for you and is almost as versatile as broccoli. I like to toss boiled broccoli or cauliflower with pasta, cooked chicken, and a few tablespoons of jarred pesto sauce for a quick meal. Cauliflower is also delicious in <a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2009/01/dinner-tonight-cauliflower-gratin-recipe.html">gratins</a> and casseroles.</p> <h2>Cabbage</h2> <p>A staple of budget diets the world over, cabbage is nutritious and cheap, but may not seem to be the easiest vegetable to use. Actually, cabbage is very easy to cook; the hardest part is cutting it up. Try cooking it over high heat in a <a href="http://orangette.blogspot.com/2009/01/best-we-can-hope-for.html">cabbage stir-fry</a> with soy sauce and hot sauce. Or shred it for coleslaw or to top tacos (which is much more authentic than using shredded lettuce). <a href="http://foodrepublik.com/braised-red-cabbage/">Shredded red cabbage</a> makes a delicious side dish when slowly braised with red wine, vinegar, and sugar.</p> <h2>Fruit</h2> <p>Aside from eating fruit whole, there are a variety of ways to use up inexpensive sale fruit in cooking. When peaches are in season, buy a case of them and make a few <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Peach-Cobbler-102277">peach cobblers</a>. Plums are delicious in <a href="http://foodrepublik.com/upside-down-plum-cake/">plum cakes</a>, and extra bananas can be used up in <a href="http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/banana-bread/51427396-6764-4b0a-a73a-78c683c703d2">banana bread</a>, smoothies, or super-simple <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/stay-cool/how-to-make-creamy-ice-cream-with-just-one-ingredient-093414">banana ice cream</a>. Grapes, pears, strawberries, and figs are delicious when cut up into salads. Fruit can also be used up easily in pies and tarts. Try a <a href="http://www.kitchendaily.com/recipe/rustic-pear-tart-642/">rustic free-form pear tart</a>, a classic <a href="http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/02/the-wonders-of-tarte-tatin/">apple tarte tatin</a>, or a decadent <a href="http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/06/sweet-cherry-pie/">cherry pie</a>. Serve up melons in their rinds, scooped into balls and doused with rum, or wrap melons in prosciutto for a classic appetizer.</p> <p>Try using fruit mixed with savory ingredients to make sophisticated canapes. A whole-wheat cracker topped with goat cheese, a basil leaf, and a sweet peach slice is unexpected and delicious. A cracker topped with Brie, thinly sliced apples, and a drizzle of honey is just as good.</p> <h2>Potatoes</h2> <p>Bags of potatoes often go on sale, but make sure they haven&rsquo;t gone green before buying. Store them in a cool dark place to prevent them from sprouting before you can eat them. They&rsquo;re comforting, filling, and believe it or not, they are also a <a href="http://www.healthytheory.com/the-potato-may-be-the-new-superfood">healthy low-fat food</a>, as long as you don&rsquo;t add tons of butter and fat. Try them in a <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Jacquess-French-Potato-Salad-358334">potato salad with a vinaigrette dressing</a>, or have a seasoned baked potato with a dollop of plain yogurt. Be sure to eat the skins too if they&rsquo;re tender enough &mdash; they are packed with vitamins and fiber. Sweet potatoes are also cheap and can be cooked the same way.</p> <h2>Squash</h2> <p>Spaghetti, acorn, and butternut squash are almost always on sale in the fall and are a great way to feed a whole family on a small budget. Squash are healthy, filling, and versatile. To cook squash with a minimum of fuss, prick the squash all over with the tip of a sharp knife, and then place it whole on a baking sheet. Bake it in a pre-heated oven at 375&deg;F for an hour or more, until squash is very tender when pierced with a knife.</p> <p>Once the squash is cooked, you can cut it apart and simply serve with salt and pepper and a little butter. In the case of butternut squash, you can mash it or make it into a <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/curried-butternut-squash-soup-recipe/index.html">flavorful soup</a> seasoned with a pinch of curry powder. Spaghetti squash can be served with marinara sauce as a pasta substitute, and I love pieces of acorn squash topped with brown sugar and butter and re-baked until glazed.</p> <p>Squashes like zucchini and summer squash are cheap all through the summer and are delicious grated into<a href="http://smittenkitchen.com/2011/08/zucchini-fritters/"> zucchini pancakes</a> or zucchini bread, shaved into ribbons for <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Ribboned-Zucchini-Salad-109755">zucchini salad</a>, or stir-fried with strips of meat.</p> <h2>Beef</h2> <p>In general, the big chunks of meat go on sale more often than smaller, neatly cut-up pieces. So avoid the pre-cut stir-fry strips and go for a piece of flank steak instead, freezing what you don&rsquo;t need for later (flank or sirloin steak makes a great <a href="http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/11/jadens-beef-with-broccoli/">beef and broccoli stir-fry</a>). Roasts tend to go on sale often, especially during grilling season when steaks are more popular, which gives you a chance to stock up on rump roast or round roast, which are perfect for<a href="http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/roast_beef/"> roast beef</a>. When it comes to stew meat, although pre-cut stew meat is inexpensive, it&rsquo;s usually made up of bits and pieces of several cuts of beef, which will take on inconsistent textures when cooked. Instead, buy an inexpensive piece of beef chuck when it&rsquo;s on sale and have your butcher cut it up for free. Then make a <a href="http://foodrepublik.com/bourgignon-esque-beef-stew/">simple beef stew</a> and serve it on top of potatoes or egg noodles for a hearty meal.</p> <h2>Chicken Legs and Thighs</h2> <p>These less-popular cuts of chicken often go on sale, and they are delicious when prepared well. Unlike breast meat, thigh and leg meat stays moist when roasted and is almost impossible to overcook. Bake them with apples for <a href="http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/chicken_normandy/">Chicken Normandy</a>, or add paprika, vinegar, and soy sauce for a simple <a href="http://appetiteforchina.com/recipes/filipino-chicken-adobo/">chicken adobo</a>. Marinate chicken legs in BBQ sauce and grill them for a fast meal.</p> <p>Whole chicken is often on sale, and you can make the entire chicken last for several meals. <a href="http://foodrepublik.com/herb-and-lemon-roasted-chicken/">Roast the chicken</a> with a stuffing of lemons and onion, and after you&rsquo;ve eaten all the roast chicken you can hold, use the leftovers for chicken salad and chicken noodle soup.</p> <h2>Fish</h2> <p>Tilapia and pollock are cheap white fish options that often go on sale. Sole and mahi-mahi are also relatively affordable (go for mahi-mahi from the U.S. Atlantic that has been pole-and-line or troll caught), as are cod and haddock. For white fish, I usually dredge the seasoned fillets in flour, pan-fry them, and make a pan sauce out of melted butter, lemon juice, and parsley. When I can find salmon on sale I like to grill a large salmon fillet with a <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/indonesian-grilled-swordfish-recipe/index.html">gingery marinade</a>.&nbsp; Often you can find frozen fish on sale that is pretty good quality, but make sure it has not been thawed and refrozen.</p> <h2>Pork</h2> <p>Although it may be hard to think beyond pork chops, many other cuts are cheap and just as delicious. Pork shoulder (picnic roast and Boston butt) benefits from slow cooking in a stew or in a crock pot and makes a great <a href="http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/slow-cooker-pulled-pork/detail.aspx">pulled pork</a>. Pork loins and tenderloins are inexpensive but are easy to cook and can feed several people &mdash; a friend of mine roasts <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/easy-crock-pot-pork-tenderloin-roast-53599">pork loin</a> slowly with a couple of cans of mushroom soup thrown over top for an easy meal. Ground pork is a cheap substitute for beef in pasta sauce or chili and makes a mean <a href="http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/lucques-pork-burger-10000000637691/">pork burger</a>.</p> <h2>Canned Goods</h2> <p>Canned food periodically goes on sale, and when it does, stock up on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/canned-vs-dried-beans-which-are-cheaper">beans</a>, tuna, diced tomatoes, and soups. A can of garbanzo beans can make a salad a balanced meal by adding protein and extra fiber. Toss a can of beans into a pot of chili, or mix with enchilada filling to make meat stretch further. Creamy soups can be mixed with pasta for an easy dish like <a href="http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/easy-tuna-casserole/detail.aspx">tuna casserole</a>. Diced tomatoes are the foundation for a variety of dishes, and in a pinch, can be tossed with pasta, salt, and pepper for an inexpensive pantry meal.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/it-was-on-sale-now-how-do-i-cook-it">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/moments-in-the-garden-of-eatin">Moments in the &quot;Garden of Eatin&quot;</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/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</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/25-things-you-shouldnt-buy-at-the-grocery-store">25 Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy at the Grocery Store</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/5-off-season-foods-that-are-destroying-your-grocery-budget">5 Off-Season Foods That Are Destroying Your Grocery Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink affordable cooking budget grocery cheap groceries produce Tue, 13 Sep 2011 10:24:26 +0000 Camilla Cheung 698103 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-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/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/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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-low-cost-foods-packed-with-nutrition">25 Low-Cost Foods Packed With Nutrition</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 Moments in the "Garden of Eatin" http://www.wisebread.com/moments-in-the-garden-of-eatin <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/moments-in-the-garden-of-eatin" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000007543218XSmall.jpg" alt="Basket of fresh vegetables" title="Basket of fresh vegetables" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I know what I&rsquo;m doing differently this summer.</p> <p>No, it doesn&rsquo;t involve the length of my shorts or a different vacation destination. Instead it's something that I can do, every day and every week &mdash; at least in the wake of Memorial Day and up through Labor Day &mdash; and try to perhaps incorporate year around: eating better for much cheaper.</p> <p>In the past couple of years, I&rsquo;ve had a few culinary and nutritional <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-gettin-baptized-in-the-watahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh-epiphany">epiphanies</a>, but this past week, just before Memorial Day, the come-to-the-light moments were palpable, tangible.</p> <p><strong>Moment 1: I sat down as a guest at a house with enough room for a garden with my first born son and ate a fresh spinach and lettuce garden salad &mdash; literally from the backyard.</strong> It had just been walked into the kitchen and washed. As the fresh green vegetables pimp-smacked my taste buds into a preservative-free realm of sublimity, the four year old Leffall man-child pointed out the obvious: &ldquo;This tastes different, Daddy.&rdquo;</p> <p>Yes son, it does and not only that, it tastes better and it&rsquo;s better for us.</p> <p>If you know me or you&rsquo;ve read my posts on this site, you&rsquo;ll know I&rsquo;m not the &ldquo;shockable&rdquo; type. I believe in daily irony and find myself smirking at most things good or bad, but imagine my delight, experiencing something I hadn&rsquo;t experienced in more than 20 years since Grandma&rsquo;s garden in East Texas &mdash; an organic experience without the buzzword.</p> <p>Yes, a fresh food experience &mdash; no pesticides, no transportation wear and tear, no artificial light, no plastic bags, no huge line at the grocery store, no skeptical eye. Suddenly I&rsquo;d been transported to another time and at once enlightened about what I&rsquo;ve been missing and doing wrong &mdash; even when eating right &mdash; for the past two decades.</p> <p><strong>Moment 2: A day later, I saw a segment on the Today show about the <a href="http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/13737389/page/2/">Dirty Dozen</a>.</strong> Apparently the U.S. Department of Agriculture says apples, cherries, peaches, bears, raspberries, strawberries, potatoes and even my beloved spinach, are all on a list of 12 fruits and vegetables that should, if possible, be purchased organically because of (throaty gasp) higher levels of pesticide residue than others. Whaaaaa?!</p> <p><strong>Moment 3: Two days after that was a farmer's market visit.</strong> I discovered that <a href="http://www.goinglocal-info.com/my_weblog/community-sponsored-agriculture.html">Community Supported Agriculture</a> (CSA) accounts for the farmer's market summer season, between Memorial Day and Labor Day. More on that in a minute but first a primer on my farmers market experiences.</p> <p>My previous dalliances at farmer's markets were always in large urban centers, gawking at all the sunflowers and yes sun dresses, young people carrying Yoga mats and sampling wares from farms 2 to 8 hours away being hawked by mostly wholesalers with retail savvy and retailers of small outlying health food stores passing themselves off as farmers with farm fresh products.</p> <p>As always, it was good to get outside, but similarly almost always a less than organic experience at these farmer's markets to say the least. And I always seemed to be out of cash, and it was a hassle to leave the market and go to the ATM and then come back.</p> <p>But at this particular farmer's market last week, I talked to an actual farmer who hipped me to the concept of a CSA prepaid account and card. I could simply put $400 on a card and through 20 weeks of produce in the summer season, I would be spending $20 a week on fresh fruits and vegetables cultivated with homegrown seeds and organic pesticides extracted from flowers. If I didn&rsquo;t want to do the $400, I could even get $50 gift cards and max those out, sparingly and gradually. I could even order ahead, get the amount deducted from my card and show up for express check out.</p> <p>Soooooooooo&hellip;by the time you read this, I will have enjoyed some organic bok choy garnishing a local whitefish over a bed of wild rice. That head of bok choy was less than two bucks. In the store &mdash; and I checked &mdash; it&rsquo;s five simoleons and I have no idea where it came from or what it went through, to boot.</p> <p>The USDA estimates that Americans spends more than 30 percent of their monthly household budgets on food, with a national grocery bill of more than $2 trillion annually.</p> <p>Based on that data, it&rsquo;s likely that in the aggregate, over the average Memorial Day weekend alone, many families typically spend between $100 to $400 just for that holiday weekend on chips, hot dogs, and other wonderful American starches &mdash; not least because of the fact that demand spikes on weekends like that.</p> <p>Yet $400 for the whole summer could get you fresh stuff &mdash; such as an organic ginger, lemon and cayenne pepper seltzer concoction that I picked up &mdash; and get the experience of tasting before you buy, talking to the person that grew it, saving some money and living better in the process. Whaaaaaa?!</p> <p>I'm thankful and glad for these recent moments. Yeah, I definitely know what I'm doing differently this summer.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jabulani-leffall">Jabulani Leffall</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/moments-in-the-garden-of-eatin">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/are-farmers-markets-frugal-or-a-luxury">Are Farmer&#039;s Markets Frugal or a Luxury?</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/it-was-on-sale-now-how-do-i-cook-it">It Was on Sale…Now How Do I Cook It?</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/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-you-shouldnt-buy-at-the-grocery-store">25 Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy at the Grocery Store</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink cheap groceries farmer's market organic produce produce Sat, 29 May 2010 17:00:03 +0000 Jabulani Leffall 105839 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-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/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/10-most-valuable-things-to-plant-in-your-garden-this-spring">10 Most Valuable Things to Plant in Your Garden This Spring</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-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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </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 Dumbest packaging ever? http://www.wisebread.com/unbearably-stupid-packaging <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/unbearably-stupid-packaging" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/stupid1.JPG" alt="" title="From the Department of Redundancy Department" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I understand the need for clean, sterile packaging of food. We live in an era (soon to be ending, mind you, if you believe the peak oil people) in which food travels great distances before it arrives in the massive grocery stores where we purchase it. It is true that frozen peas need to be placed in some kind of container for shipping, and a plastic bag or a thin carboard box are currently appropriate methods for keeping all those rolling green balls in a single package. </p> <p>However, we&#39;d be naive to think that our food is merely grown, harvested, processed and packaged. The agro-industrial complex is alive and functioning, and millions of dollars of research and thousands of man-hours go into determining the best packaging for, say, a can of beef stew.</p> <p>I understand the business need to keep consumers interested in buying your products, but there&#39;s a side to the food marketing that really bugs the heck out of me. And that&#39;s the way in which the same food is repackaged in a novel way, and pitched to the consumer in such a way that makes it seem like we just HAVE to have it, when in fact:</p> <ul> <li>only actual difference is the packaging</li> <li>the packaging causes the food item to cost more</li> <li>the packaging is unbearably superfluous</li> </ul> <p>Take Blueberry Blasters, which I saw recently at a local Safeway. One normal package of blueberries had been split up into four individual... well, servings, I guess. It&#39;s sort of hard to describe the containers used without giggling a bit. A plastic narrow cylinder about four inches tall is topped off by a big plastic blueberry that serves as the lid for the bottle. The cylinder has holes punched in it so that you can rinse the blueberries in the bottle without having to go to the trouble of removing them and washing them.</p> <p>The cost of four of these <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ljc_pics/2497092539/">oddly-phallic containers</a> of blueberries rang in at around $7. Seven dollars??! This is the same weight and class of blueberries that come in less sexy plastic boxes, which cost between $2-4 (in season).</p> <p>I can&#39;t, for the life of me, figure out why the current method used to prepare and eat blueberries is so arduous as to necessitate the repackaging of these fruits into lidded tubes for easier consumption. Which part is difficult? Is it removing the berries from the plastic box to wash them? Is it touching the berries directly with your fingers that turns people away from fruit? </p> <p>What marketing bozo was sitting around one day and suddenly said to himself, &quot;You know what&#39;s really hard to eat? Berries! If they only came in a sort of tube that I could use to pour them directly into my mouth....&quot;</p> <p>I was similarly irked by <a href="http://www.yoplait.com/products_gogurt.aspx">Gogurt</a> a few years ago. I can understand similar packaging for frozen, drippy treats, like popsicles, but since when did raising a spoon from yogurt container to mouth get to be so difficult that we need to suck yogurt from a flexible tube? How long before we end up like the humans in Wall-E, crusing around on hovering scooter, too fat to walk, simply slurping our meals through a plastic straw?</p> <p>And there&#39;s no actual <em>blasting</em> going on in Blueberry Blasters, unless I misunderstood the instructions for the containers. You&#39;re not (thankfully) able to use some sort of air gun to shoot blueberries across the room into someone&#39;s mouth. The blueberries themselves, while no doubt very tasty, don&#39;t explode in your mouth like Pop Rocks (again, thankfully). It&#39;s just a stupid alliteration that some poor copywriter was forced to come up with.</p> <p>Besides being shocking waste of marketing and sales time and materials (how much plastic do you NEED to sell someone a few ounces of blueberries?), Blueberry Blasters are just another product in a long line of products that serve to remind you just how little time you have left to do anything. Feeling the pressure to work extra hours or more than one job so that you can afford your mortgage or health care? Carting kids around to a variety of sports and hobbies? Overstretched with volunteer activities? <em>No time left to do things like allow produce to come into contact with your outer epidermal layer?</em> <strong>Don&#39;t worry!</strong> We&#39;ve created an even easier way to get your nutrients without performing tedious, time-consuming tasks like food-prep.</p> <p>I can just envision a commercial touting this product as an &quot;on-the-go&quot; kind of snack, but really, aren&#39;t blueberries ALREADY an on-the-go kind of snack? I mean, the darn things have a skin that keeps all the insides neatly contained, are easily washed, don&#39;t require peeling or slicing or de-seeding - they&#39;re just about the most easily-eaten item in nature.</p> <p>What&#39;s next? Pre-masticated bananas wrapped in plastic so we don&#39;t work our jaws too hard? IV drips for beer? Wait. Well, that one might actually be OK.</p> <p>Of course, the stupidity of re-packing blueberries to make it more fun and appealing is that it doesn&#39;t actually save you any time. Pre-sliced apples almost make some kind of sense, even if the time saving is less than a minute, but blueberries? You still have to wash the blueberries before eating them, and you will still have to use one or more appendages to lift the container to your mouth. The only advantage to eating Blueberry Blasters is that you get to tip the berries into your mouth from a blue-tipped phallic tube. The shape of the container makes me wonder if the design wasn&#39;t the result of some kind of wager (&quot;Dude, I&#39;ll bet you a six-pack of Alaskan Amber that you can&#39;t get a vaguely penile-like container through the design process without <em>someone</em> noticing&quot; &quot;Oh, yeah? You&#39;re on!&quot;). Oh, and you get to pay more for the honor.</p> <p>Listen, I&#39;m not terrible busy in life; I&#39;ve mostly limited my hobbies to drinking and napping. I don&#39;t have any children to care for, or a partner to worry about - so things are more or less easy for me. But even with all that ease, sometimes I feel too tired after a long day of work to make dinner from scratch, and prepared foods are a life-saver. But there&#39;s a point where I draw the line, and Blueberry Blasters stepped WAY over that line.</p> <p>I keep Googling &quot;Blueberry Blasters&quot; to see if it&#39;s some kind of hoax created to get bloggers with too much time on their hands riled up over stupid packaging, but alas, I have found nothing. Has anyone else seen these little gems while shopping?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/unbearably-stupid-packaging">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/packing-it-in-the-independent-of-london-issues-a-challenge">Packing it in - The Independent of London issues a challenge</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/the-7-dumbest-big-purchases-people-make">The 7 Dumbest Big Purchases People Make</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/a-supermarket-insider-reveals-5-ways-your-grocer-is-trying-to-upsell-you">A Supermarket Insider Reveals 5 Ways Your Grocer Is Trying to Upsell You</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/oprah-asks-a-great-question-what-can-you-live-without">Oprah Asks A Great Question; What Can You Live Without?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Green Living Lifestyle Shopping consumerism Food fruit groceries healthy food marketing packaging produce shopping Wed, 27 Aug 2008 21:17:58 +0000 Andrea Karim 2273 at http://www.wisebread.com Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fruits-5374223-small.jpg" alt="woman chopping fruits" title="woman chopping fruits" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <style> td.recipe-td {vertical-align:top;width:50%;} td.recipe-td ul li a:link {color:#333;border-bottom:none;} </style> <p>Every blogger who writes about saving money, eating healthy or just plain cooking tasty meals tells their readers to choose fruits and vegetables that are in season. I've had just one problem: I don't know what's 'in season.' I vaguely know that apples are harvested in the fall, and I know that my third grade class picked pumpkins the week before Halloween. Beyond that, though, I'm at a loss.</p> <p>(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">How to Choose Fruits &amp; Vegetables</a>)</p> <p>I've been searching for a simple page that I could add to my shopping list or something equally convenient. Even asking around the local farmer's market gave me only a general idea. After some online research, though, I've got something of a list to go by. Keep in mind that depending on your part of the world, this list may not hold true. This list is pretty decent for the U.S. &mdash; I'm not sure about warmer climates, but I would guess it's basically reversed for the Southern Hemisphere.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://static2.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/pasta-tomato-broccoli-asparagus-iStock_000004808414Medium-605x200.jpg" width="605" height="200" alt="Broccoli, Asparagus, and Tomato Pasta" /></p> <h2 style="font-family: trebuchet ms, helvetica, sans;color: #999;text-transform: uppercase;font-size: 24pt;border-bottom: 1px solid skyblue;font-weight: normal;">January</h2> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td style="vertical-align:top;"> <p><strong>Vegetables</strong></p> <ul> <li>cabbages</li> <li>leeks</li> <li>broccoli</li> <li>cauliflower</li> </ul> </td> <td style="vertical-align:top;"> <p><strong>Fruits</strong></p> <ul> <li>oranges</li> <li>grapefruit</li> <li>tangerines</li> <li>tangelos</li> <li>lemons</li> <li>papayas</li> </ul> </td> <td class="recipe-td"> <p>Recipes:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-delicious-and-dollar-wise-winter-staples">Delicious and Frugal Winter Staples</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-with-cabbage-ten-cheap-meal-ideas">10 Cheap Meals Featuring Cabbage</a></li> </ul> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2 style="font-family: trebuchet ms, helvetica, sans;color: #999;text-transform: uppercase;font-size: 24pt;border-bottom: 1px solid skyblue;font-weight: normal;">February</h2> <table width="100%" border="1" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="vertical-align:top;"> <p><strong>Vegetables</strong></p> <ul> <li>broccoli</li> <li>cauliflower</li> </ul> </td> <td style="vertical-align:top;"> <p><strong>Fruits</strong></p> <ul> <li>oranges</li> <li>grapefruits</li> <li>lemons</li> <li>papayas</li> </ul> </td> <td class="recipe-td"> <p>Recipes:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-alternative-uses-for-lemons">25 Ways to Use Lemons</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cheap-cruciferous-vegetables-for-health-conscious-cooks">How to Cook Brocolli, Cauliflower, Kale, and Other Cruciferous Veggies</a></li> </ul> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2 style="font-family: trebuchet ms, helvetica, sans;color: #999;text-transform: uppercase;font-size: 24pt;border-bottom: 1px solid skyblue;font-weight: normal;">March</h2> <table width="60%" border="1" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="vertical-align:top;"> <p><strong>Vegetables</strong></p> <ul> <li>broccoli</li> <li>lettuce</li> </ul> </td> <td style="vertical-align:top;"> <p><strong>Fruits</strong></p> <ul> <li>pineapples</li> <li>mangoes</li> </ul> </td> <td class="recipe-td"> <p>Recipes:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-delectable-frugal-pineapple-recipes">20 Delectable and Frugal Pineapple Recipes</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cheap-pineapple-recipes">12 More Cheap Pineapple Recipes</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/unexpected-delicious-drinks-you-can-make-at-home">Mango Lassi, Frapuccinos, Thai Iced Tea, and 7 Other Fancy Drinks You Can Make at Home</a></li> </ul> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://static2.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/monthberries-4784979-small-605x200.jpg" width="605" height="200" alt="fresh berries" /></p> <h2 style="font-family: trebuchet ms, helvetica, sans;color: #999;text-transform: uppercase;font-size: 24pt;border-bottom: 1px solid skyblue;font-weight: normal;">April</h2> <table width="100%" border="1" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="vertical-align:top;"> <p><strong>Vegetables</strong></p> <ul> <li>zucchini</li> <li>rhubarb</li> <li>artichokes</li> <li>asparagus</li> <li>spring peas</li> <li>broccoli</li> <li>lettuce</li> </ul> </td> <td style="vertical-align:top;"> <p><strong>Fruits</strong></p> <ul> <li>pineapples</li> <li>mangoes</li> </ul> </td> <td class="recipe-td"> <p>Recipes:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/gadzukes-10-ways-to-use-up-your-zucchini-bounty">10 Ways to Use Zucchinis</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-quick-meals-that-are-faster-than-pizza-delivery">Asparagus &amp; Salmon Steaks, and 6 Other Meals That are Faster Than Pizza Delivery</a></li> </ul> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2 style="font-family: trebuchet ms, helvetica, sans;color: #999;text-transform: uppercase;font-size: 24pt;border-bottom: 1px solid skyblue;font-weight: normal;">May</h2> <table width="100%" border="1" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="vertical-align:top;"> <p><strong>Vegetables</strong></p> <ul> <li>okra</li> <li>zucchini</li> <li>rhubarb</li> <li>artichokes</li> <li>asparagus</li> <li>spring peas</li> <li>broccoli</li> <li>lettuce</li> </ul> </td> <td style="vertical-align:top;"> <p><strong>Fruit</strong></p> <ul> <li>cherries</li> <li>pineapples</li> <li>apricots</li> </ul> </td> <td class="recipe-td"> <p>Recipes:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-perfect-ways-to-prepare-frozen-peas">25 Perfect Ways to Cook Peas</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-wonderful-ways-to-use-this-year-s-cherry-crop">6 Ways to Use Up a Cherry Bounty</a></li> </ul> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2 style="font-family: trebuchet ms, helvetica, sans;color: #999;text-transform: uppercase;font-size: 24pt;border-bottom: 1px solid skyblue;font-weight: normal;">June</h2> <table width="100%" border="1" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="vertical-align:top;"> <p><strong>Vegetables</strong></p> <ul> <li>corn</li> <li>lettuce</li> </ul> </td> <td style="vertical-align:top;"> <p><strong>Fruit</strong></p> <ul> <li>watermelon</li> <li>strawberries</li> <li>cantaloupe</li> <li>cherries</li> <li>blueberries</li> <li>peaches</li> <li>apricots</li> </ul> </td> <td class="recipe-td"> <p>Recipes:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tasty-ways-to-use-canned-corn">10 Ways to Cook Corn</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-a-bbq-grill">How to Buy a BBQ Grill</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ultra-quick-homemade-desserts">15 Ultra Quick Homemade Desserts</a></li> </ul> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/monthplums-3802183-small-605x200.jpg" width="605" height="200" alt="fresh plums" /></p> <h2 style="font-family: trebuchet ms, helvetica, sans;color: #999;text-transform: uppercase;font-size: 24pt;border-bottom: 1px solid skyblue;font-weight: normal;">July</h2> <table width="100%" border="1" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="vertical-align:top;"> <p><strong>Vegetables</strong></p> <ul> <li>cucumbers</li> <li>tomatoes</li> <li>summer squash</li> <li>corn</li> <li>green beans</li> <li>lettuce</li> </ul> </td> <td style="vertical-align:top;"> <p><strong>Fruits</strong></p> <ul> <li>watermelon</li> <li>strawberries</li> <li>cantaloupe</li> <li>blueberries</li> <li>peaches</li> <li>apricots</li> <li>kiwi</li> <li>raspberries</li> <li>plums</li> </ul> </td> <td class="recipe-td"> <p>Recipes:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-cheap-summer-foods-to-jazz-up-your-menus">Cheap Summer Foods to Jazz Up Your Menus</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/all-dried-up-how-to-dry-fruits-and-vegetables">How to Dry Fruits Like Strawberries, Apples, and Pineapples</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-tantalizing-fresh-tomato-recipes">25 Fresh Tomato Recipes</a></li> </ul> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2 style="font-family: trebuchet ms, helvetica, sans;color: #999;text-transform: uppercase;font-size: 24pt;border-bottom: 1px solid skyblue;font-weight: normal;">August</h2> <table width="100%" border="1" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="vertical-align:top;"> <p><strong>Vegetables</strong></p> <ul> <li>cucumbers</li> <li>corn</li> <li>eggplant</li> <li>tomatoes</li> <li>summer squash</li> <li>green beans</li> <li>lettuce</li> </ul> </td> <td style="vertical-align:top;"> <p><strong>Fruits</strong></p> <ul> <li>watermelon</li> <li>strawberries</li> <li>cantaloupe</li> <li>blueberries</li> <li>peaches</li> <li>apricots</li> <li>kiwi</li> <li>raspberries</li> <li>plums</li> </ul> </td> <td class="recipe-td"> <p>Recipes:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-pick-and-cut-a-watermelon-and-eat-the-rind-too">How to Pick, Cut, and Eat (Including Rind) a Watermelon</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-tasty-and-cheap-meals-for-one">Prosciutto and Melon, and 13 Other Quick Meals for One</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-big-barbecue-sauce-recipe-roundup">26 Homemade Barbecue Sauce Recipes</a></li> </ul> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2 style="font-family: trebuchet ms, helvetica, sans;color: #999;text-transform: uppercase;font-size: 24pt;border-bottom: 1px solid skyblue;font-weight: normal;">September</h2> <table width="100%" border="1" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="vertical-align:top;"> <p><strong>Vegetables</strong></p> <ul> <li>eggplants</li> <li>pumpkins</li> <li>tomatoes</li> <li>spinach</li> <li>lettuce</li> </ul> </td> <td style="vertical-align:top;"> <p><strong>Fruits</strong></p> <ul> <li>grapes</li> <li>pomegranates</li> </ul> </td> <td class="recipe-td"> <p>Recipes:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-winning-ways-to-enjoy-winter-squash">25 Ways to Enjoy Pumpkin and Other Winter Squash</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sex-up-your-sandwich-ideas-for-budget-conscious-brown-baggers">Sex Up Your Lunch: 7 Ideas for More Interesting Sandwiches</a></li> </ul> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/monthpumpkin-5231535-small-605x200.jpg" width="605" height="200" alt="pumpkin soup"/></p> <h2 style="font-family: trebuchet ms, helvetica, sans;color: #999;text-transform: uppercase;font-size: 24pt;border-bottom: 1px solid skyblue;font-weight: normal;">October</h2> <table width="100%" border="1" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="vertical-align:top;"> <p><strong>Vegetables</strong></p> <ul> <li>pumpkins</li> <li>winter squash</li> <li>broccoli</li> <li>spinach</li> <li>lettuce</li> <li>sweet potatoes</li> </ul> </td> <td style="vertical-align:top;"> <p><strong>Fruits</strong></p> <ul> <li>cranberries</li> <li>apples</li> <li>pomegranates</li> <li>grapes</li> </ul> </td> <td class="recipe-td"> <p>Recipes:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/little-old-lady-recipes-thanksgiving-sweet-potatoes">Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Recipe</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/twenty-five-ways-to-use-frozen-spinach">25 Recipes for Spinach</a></li> </ul> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2 style="font-family: trebuchet ms, helvetica, sans;color: #999;text-transform: uppercase;font-size: 24pt;border-bottom: 1px solid skyblue;font-weight: normal;">November</h2> <table width="100%" border="1" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="vertical-align:top;"> <p><strong>Vegetables</strong></p> <ul> <li>pumpkins</li> <li>winter squash</li> <li>sweet potatoes</li> <li>broccoli</li> <li>mushrooms</li> <li>spinach</li> </ul> </td> <td style="vertical-align:top;"> <p><strong>Fruit</strong></p> <ul> <li>cranberries</li> <li>oranges</li> <li>tangerines</li> <li>pears</li> <li>pomegranates</li> </ul> </td> <td class="recipe-td"> <p>Recipes:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-magnificent-mushroom-recipes">40 Savory Recipes Featuring Mushrooms</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kick-ass-alternatives-to-canned-cranberry-sauce">6 Kick-Ass Ways to Use Fresh Cranberries</a></li> </ul> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2 style="font-family: trebuchet ms, helvetica, sans;color: #999;text-transform: uppercase;font-size: 24pt;border-bottom: 1px solid skyblue;font-weight: normal;">December</h2> <table width="100%" border="1" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="vertical-align:top;"> <p><strong>Vegetables</strong></p> <ul> <li>sweet potatoes</li> <li>mushrooms</li> <li>broccoli</li> <li>cauliflower</li> </ul> </td> <td style="vertical-align:top;"> <p><strong>Fruit</strong></p> <ul> <li>pears</li> <li>oranges</li> <li>grapefruit</li> <li>tangerines</li> <li>papayas</li> <li>pomegranates</li> </ul> </td> <td class="recipe-td"> <p>Recipes:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-tasty-and-affordable-salad-dressing-recipes">20 Salad Dressing Recipes, Including Pear, Smoky Avocado, and Honey Mustard</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-and-delicious-marinades">Honey-Orange and 9 More Delicious Homemade Marinades</a></li> </ul> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/food-bananas-356155-small.jpg" width="605" height="341" alt="" /></p> <h2>How Is This List Helpful?</h2> <p>Knowing which fruits and vegetables are in season gives you a clue as to what produce is likely to be on sale at given times in the year. At the very least, it can help you plan your shopping list &mdash; and skip the expensive, out of season items. It can give you ideas for menu planning, as well; there's a reason that holiday favorites are popular at certain times of the year. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a>)</p> <p>Bananas, potatoes, and celery seem to always be in season. For bananas, at least, I think it's because they have to be shipped into just about everywhere. There are a few holes in this list, admittedly. I didn't find a clear season for carrots, parsnips, and a few other vegetables and fruits.</p> <p>If you want to go all out on saving money on your food, having an idea of what's in season tells you when to buy produce. While you can buy out of season produce fresh, it may be worth your while to can or preserve some of your preferred fruits or vegetables during the months that they're cheap.</p> <p>For anyone trying to buy locally, through farmer's markets or CSAs, having a good idea of seasonal produce is also important. You'll have a better idea of what to expect. And with certain 'farmers' looking to take advantage of the local trend, you'll be able to do a little due diligence on what you buy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div align="center"> <!-- Place this tag where you want the su badge to render --> <su:badge layout="5"></su:badge> <!-- Place this snippet wherever appropriate --> <script type="text/javascript"> (function() { var li = document.createElement('script'); li.type = 'text/javascript'; li.async = true; li.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https:' : 'http:') + '//platform.stumbleupon.com/1/widgets.js'; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(li, s); })(); </script> </div> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=www.wisebread.com%2Ffresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month&media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FFresh%2520Fruits%2520and%2520Vegetables%2520by%2520Month%2520plus%2520Seasonal%2520Recipes.jpg&description=Fresh%20Fruits%20and%20Vegetables%2C%20By%20the%20Month"></a><script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Fresh%20Fruits%20and%20Vegetables%20by%20Month%20plus%20Seasonal%20Recipes.jpg" alt="Fruit and veg by month" width="250" height="374" /></p> <div style="display: none;"><p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Fresh%20Fruit%20and%20Vegetable%20by%20Month%20plus%20Seasonal%20Recipes.jpg" alt="Monthly Fruit and veg" width="212" height="605" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Fresh%20Fruit%20and%20Vegetable%20by%20Month%20plus%20Seasonal%20Recipes%20%281%29.jpg" alt="seasonal recipes" width="212" height="605" /></p></div><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/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">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/20-ways-to-eat-paleo-for-super-cheap">20 Ways to Eat Paleo for Super Cheap</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/why-is-gasoline-so-cheap-a-cost-comparison-of-40-common-household-liquids">Why is Gasoline So Cheap? A Cost Comparison of 40 Common Household Liquids</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-five-day-freeze-batch-cooking-for-the-rest-of-us">The Five-Day Freeze: Batch Cooking for the Rest of Us</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink easy recipes fruits groceries produce shopping vegetables Sat, 19 Jul 2008 18:34:49 +0000 Thursday Bram 2241 at http://www.wisebread.com Are Farmer's Markets Frugal or a Luxury? http://www.wisebread.com/are-farmers-markets-frugal-or-a-luxury <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-farmers-markets-frugal-or-a-luxury" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/farmersmarket.JPG" alt="farmer&#039;s market produce" title="These Kohlrabi Look Like a Yummy Steal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="200" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We have always shopped farmer&#39;s markets sporadically, but this is the first season that we are on a specific weekly grocery budget. As we prepared to hit the opening weekend of our local farmer&#39;s market, I wondered: Is this going to help me stay under budget or strain the budget?</p> <p>Turns out, I&#39;m not the only one to wonder whether I was paying more for the pleasure of farmer&#39;s market shopping: the freshness, the -- at many markets -- dazzling choices, the opportunity to meet the farmers, the chance to show off your cute vegetable basket/baby in Baby Bjorn/new caftan. There is no argument that most farmer&#39;s market produce is much better than what you get at conventional supermarkets. But is it affordable? </p> <p>Several bloggers did an item-by-item comparison and realized they were paying less for better at the farmer&#39;s market:</p> <p><a href="http://becksposhnosh.blogspot.com/2007/05/farmers-market-versus-safeway.html">Beck&#39;s and Posh</a> compared the sublime farmer&#39;s market at San Francisco&#39;s Ferry Plaza, one of the priciest you&#39;ll find, to Safeway and was surprised to see that Safeway&#39;s crappy vegetables usually cost her more.</p> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2007/08/21/grocery-store-vs-farmers-market-which-has-the-cheapest-produce/">Get Rich Slowly</a> found that the farmer&#39;s market was on par with Safeway on price but not the local produce stand, which it deemd the best all-around value.</p> <p>In Florida, <a href="http://www.leftoverqueen.com/2008/03/24/farmers-market-costs-vs-grocery-store-costs/">The Leftover Queen</a> found better prices at the farmer&#39;s market than at her local grocery.</p> <p>So what about the suburbs of Chicago? I headed out to our area&#39;s first farmer&#39;s market this weekend to find out. The market in my town opened two weeks earlier than normal this year, and since we are barely past danger of frost around here, not much has been growing yet on local farms. So it was not a big surprise to find very little produce to choose from. Plenty of people showed up, however, to enjoy the sunshine and -- this is important -- the homemade donuts sold each week by nonprofit organizations.</p> <p>After setting up the husband and kids with donuts and coffee and casing the market thoroughly, I bought a bag of spinach, two pounds of asparagus, two bunches of green onions, and half a pound of cheese. None of it was organic -- even in full swing my local market doesn&#39;t have a ton of organic growers -- but the cheese was BGH-free (&quot;From Amish cows,&quot; the Wisconsin farmer told me.) I paid $21.25 for a pretty small bag of food.</p> <p>Here&#39;s how the prices I paid stack up to what I usually pay:</p> <p> Farmer&#39;s Market Grocery Store</p> <p>spinach $3.25 $1 on sale</p> <p>green onions 2/$5 never buy this but woudln&#39;t pay that much</p> <p>asparagus $3/lb same or better on sale</p> <p>cheese $14/lb buy lower quality for $4/lb when I can find it</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When you put aside the cheese, which was a delcious luxury, I paid more at the farmer&#39;s market than I would at the store, but not outrageously so. It seems inevitable that for people who rely on loss leaders for much of their food, like I do, you&#39;re going to pay more when you buy directy from the farmer. After all, while supermarkets might offer a special on asparagus to get you in the door and sell you $4 boxes of cereal, farmers can&#39;t.</p> <p>At any rate, I&#39;m hoping that when my local market gets into full swing I&#39;ll have some lower-cost items to choose from and maybe even see lower prices due to more competition. We&#39;ll see.</p> <p>I am also looking into joining a CSA for the summer, but so far haven&#39;t found quite the right one. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-farmers-markets-frugal-or-a-luxury">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/moments-in-the-garden-of-eatin">Moments in the &quot;Garden of Eatin&quot;</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/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</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/it-was-on-sale-now-how-do-i-cook-it">It Was on Sale…Now How Do I Cook It?</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/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-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> Food and Drink farmer's market produce Tue, 27 May 2008 04:32:52 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2128 at http://www.wisebread.com