How Do You Save On Fresh Produce Without Sacrificing Quality Or Flavor

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How Do You Save Money On Fresh Produce

How do you save on fresh produce? This can be a real challenge and a struggle for some families. However, it doesn’t have to be expensive to eat well. Do you feel like you’re spending too much on fresh produce? Are you worried about sacrificing quality or flavor? There are plenty of ways to save on fresh produce without compromising on quality, taste, or nutrition.

The health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables daily are enormous. We all need to be eating more, and having the knowledge to be able to buy fresh produce cheaper will be healthier for you and your wallet.

Looking at what is out there, shopping for bargains this could be buying ugly, odd-shaped blemished produce, or purchasing whole unprocessed vegetables. Even trying your hand at picking your own is some of the most effective ways to save money on fresh produce.

I’ve been running restaurant kitchens for over a decade and have some strategies that will help you stretch your budget while still enjoying delicious and healthy fruits and vegetables.

So, How Do You Save On Fresh Produce?

Some of the cheapest and smartest ways to buy fresh produce are by shopping at local farmer’s markets. Farmer’s markets typically have a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables available for purchase. Another way is to grow your own or join a community garden project, or by purchasing in-season fruits and vegetables.

All this is great however, you’re most properly still thinking about how do you save on fresh produce? We’ll go into detail so you can follow these tips and more. That way you’ll be able to enjoy delicious, fresh produce every day without breaking the bank.

Buy Seasonally

Corn, peaches, plums, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, asparagus, and more. When they are in season they will be cheaper and will probably be grown locally (reduced carbon footprint). They will taste so much better, in the height of their season you’ll be able to buy them in bulk at a fraction of the cost. Consumer New Zealand says buying in season is one of the best ways to save money,

You can then preserve them, make chutneys, and pickles, or process and freeze them. Sticking to buying seasonal produce is one of the best ways to make your money go further. There is an abundance of fresh produce that grows seasonally, you’ll never be short. Seasonality plays an important role as it gives you diversity throughout the year.

One of the ways to save on fresh produce is to buy in season. Fresh fruits and vegetables are usually their cheapest when they’re in season and at their peak of ripeness.

Seasonal Vegetables
Seasonal Vegetables

Buy From Asian Food Stores, Farmers Markets, And Roadside Stalls

There are Asian fruit and vegetable grocery stores where I live selling reasonably priced quality produce. They will usually be family-owned businesses with their own market gardens, or they will be buying directly from Asian growers cutting out the middleman. This gives them the ability to sell produce at a lower cost.

Similar to farmer’s markets are roadside stands selling produce that was just picked. They will typically have a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables available at a fraction of the cost. You’ll find that sellers at farmer’s markets and roadside stalls are the growers and their produce will be fresher and tastier.

Buying fresh produce from roadside stalls, Asian stores, and farmer’s markets is a cost-friendly way of getting your daily intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. Usually, they’re quality fresh produce.

Buy Only What You Need

When I do the grocery shopping at home, I treat it the same way as when I shop for the restaurant. I only shop for what I need for the next couple of days. That way I’ve always got fresh produce on hand and don’t run the risk of anything being wasted.

When buying fresh produce, sometimes it can have already been stored for a period of time. You keeping it for longer won’t help. Do you really want to eat wrinkly old vegetables that are not at their freshest? Or throw out fruit that has spoiled, this is a waste of food and money.

In this modern age, there is an abundance of available fresh fruit and vegetables. There is no need to buy large amounts only to have them sit in your refrigerator and run the risk of it spoiling. 

Using Everything

Cauliflower and broccoli stalks, mushroom peelings, onion and garlic skins, red pepper off-cuts, carrot tops and peelings, and fresh herb stalks. All these can be used to add flavor to dishes.

Cauliflower and broccoli stalks can be used for making soups or slow-braised in a vegetable curry. Other vegetable peelings and off-cuts can be used to make flavorful vegetable stock that can be used as a base for delicious sauces, soups, stews, and curries. Getting the most out of your vegetables will save money and waste.

Keep your vegetable off-cuts, stalks, and peelings to make vegetable stock, and then freeze in snaplock bags. This is an awesome way to use everything and add flavor to soups, stews, casseroles, or sauces.

Vegetable Off-Cuts Use Everything
Vegetable Off-Cuts Use Everything

Buy Ugly Produce

Supermarkets favor consistent sized and underripe produce with no skin blemishes. They almost look perfect; however, this comes at a cost. Buying ugly fruit and vegetables is an excellent way to keep your weekly fruit and vegetable bill in check.

It’s been commonly thought that the prettier the produce, the better it is. This is necessarily not true, you can save money on produce and get perfectly ripe, old-shaped, blemished, or ugly fruits and vegetables. Without sacrificing flavor or nutritional value.

Buying ripe, old-shaped, or blemished produce doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to have less nutritional value or inferior flavor. I’m always buying ugly produce for the home there is nothing wrong with it.

Look for Whole And Simple

Walking through the produce section can be overwhelming. So many fruits and vegetables to choose from. My professional advice is to purchase fruit and vegetables in their whole simplest form. It can be tempting to buy peeled, pre-cut, prepared ready-to-eat fresh produce, washed potatoes, or bagged salad greens. Processed fruits and vegetables can spoil quicker and they are more costly.

Whole fruit and vegetables in their simplest form is a cost-effective way to purchase them. They will also have a longer shelf life, so spending a little more time prepping vegetables for dinner isn’t the end of the world. Saving money when buying whole produce will help you in the long run. Try to avoid buying peeled, cut, prepared fresh produce.

I encourage you to look for whole and simple fruits and vegetables. By that, I mean fruits and vegetables that haven’t been overly processed or manipulated. This will save you hard earned cash.

Grow Your Own

How many times have you brought a bunch of fresh rosemary, used a couple of sprigs, and left the rest in the refrigerator to wilt, discolor and rot? Growing your own fresh herbs and vegetables is so rewarding, planting the seedlings and watching them grow. Not only is this cheaper than buying vegetables from a store, but it’s also healthier because you’re getting organically grown freshest produce possible.

Harvesting what you need on the day, then creating a dish using what you’ve grown is an awesome experience. The whole family can get involved, with the garden. This is one of the most rewarding ways to save money while having fun in the garden. If you have even a small amount of space, you can easily grow enough vegetables to supplement your diet.

Build some raised garden beds in your backyard and grow seasonal herbs and vegetables. If you live in an apartment put some modest planter boxes outside on the patio, or balcony, or inside by the window. This will go a long way to saving money. Proceedng to live on the fruits of your labor. 

Market Gardens Fresh Produce
Market Gardens Fresh Produce

Join a community garden Or CSA Program

One of the cheapest ways to buy vegetables is by signing up for a CSA share. With a CSA share, you pay a farmer upfront for a season’s worth of veggies. This allows the farmer to plan their growing season and harvests accordingly, and in return, you get access to fresh produce at a significantly discounted price. You can usually find CSAs listed online.

You can also join a community garden, this is a piece of land that is gardened by a group of like-minded people. The land is usually owned by the city, school, or another organization, and the group leases it from them. Everyone in the group has their own plot of land where they grow vegetables, fruits, or herbs.

Joining a community garden or signing up for a CSA share is some of the cheapest ways to get your fresh produce daily fix. To join one or the other, simply doing a quick Google search will do the trick.

Pick your own

Finding growers that offer the opportunity to pick your own isn’t hard to find. Search on the internet, there will be local farms or orchards that will have a pick-your-own program. Where we live there is a blueberry orchard that in the summer lets people pick their own blueberries.

We’ll go and pick large amounts of blueberries, then wash and freeze them to use throughout the year. The advantage of picking your own is you’ll be getting the freshest quality and at a cheaper cost as your doing the picking. Some great pick-your-own gardens in my area are Blueberry Country where we can pick fat juicy blueberries or Good Planet for strawberries. Further afield Cheeki Cherries for cherries and stone fruit in Cromwell, South Island, New Zealand.

Picking your own produce can be a fun family outing. However, the best advantage is you’ll be getting cheap very fresh produce that you can process and freeze to use throughout the year.

Pick Your Own Cherries
Pick Your Own Cherries

How Can I Save Money Buying Fruits And Vegetables?

One of the cheapest ways to buy vegetables is to go to a farmer’s market. Farmer’s markets usually have lower prices than grocery stores because the fruits and vegetables are sold directly from the farmer.

Another option is to grow your own vegetables. This can be done either in your backyard vegetable garden. If you don’t have enough space for a garden, you can also grow vegetables in planter boxes on your patio or balcony.

If neither of those options is feasible for you, then find farms or orchards that allow you to pick your own or join a community garden and start growing fresh vegetables with like-minded people. Another option is to join a CSA program.

Final Words On How Do You Save On Fresh Produce

So, how do you save on fresh produce? There are a few key things to keep in mind. First, plan ahead and create a grocery list that focuses on seasonal produce. Second, shop at local farmer’s markets or join a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program.

Third, get creative with your recipes and use off-cuts to make new meals. Finally, get out and pick your own, you can freeze your harvest to use throughout the year.

By following these tips, you can eat well without breaking the bank. That way you can make sure your family has healthy and affordable fruits and vegetables all year long. Knowing how do you save on fresh produce without sacrificing quality or flavor, all the answers are here.

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