Lynn DiTaranto, Department of Public Health.
Lynn is a Nutrition Education Specialist with DPH.
Tired of paying high prices for fresh fruits and vegetables at the store? Do you often find yourself throwing your produce away because it is spoiling before you can eat it? You’re not alone!
Grocery shopping can certainly become tricky when many of us are on a budget and certain produce may cost more at this time of the winter. Even so, we all know we should get our fruits and veggies in every day! In fact, two of the top New Year’s resolutions I have heard this year have been to eat more fruits and vegetables and to spend money wisely. Below are some tips to help you do both.
Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season
Fresh fruits and vegetables are cheapest in season. Check out this list of seasonal produce. Don’t forget that frozen, canned, and dried options are available all year round!
Reduced price produce
Many grocery stores offer reduced price produce in a back section of the store. These products are often packaged in plastic wrap with stickers citing the reduced price. They are reduced, often to half price, because a newer shipment arrived or because they were nearing peak ripeness. (Oranges and apples are often $.70/lb vs. approximately $1.50-$2.00/lb for regular priced). I like to purchase vegetables from this section and use them in soups, stews and casseroles.
I often find that I cannot eat all of my fresh fruits or vegetables before they go bad, but I also know I can sometimes save money by purchasing larger quantities. Recently, I find freezing excess produce helps me use all of what I buy and avoid throwing food away! Items that I often freeze are spinach (to make omelets or add to pasta dishes), and berries (to add in smoothies).
Take care of your fruits and veggies once you get them home
Once you get home, inspect your fruits and veggies for any signs of bruising or spoilage that may have been hidden in the package. An easy fix to keep produce fresher longer is to line the vegetable or fruit containers with paper towels. This helps to absorb moisture which can often cause the spoilage. This tip works great for leaf lettuce in zip-lock bags, tomatoes in plastic containers, peaches, broccoli, peppers, or mushrooms.
What are some ways that you penny pinch while grocery shopping or keep your produce fresh? Let us know!