I try to create a diet for my family and myself that is full of a wide selection of fruits and vegetables, but sometimes it can be shocking to see that certain produce costs more per pound than chicken or beef. One way to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies on a budget is to shop for what’s in season. The price of corn on the cob or blueberries can double, triple, or more in the winter when compared to the summer months when they are plentiful.
Wondering when to look for which ingredients? Check out the Seasonal Ingredient Map at one of my favorite food related websites, epicurious.com. With one click you can find out what is currently fresh near you. Plan ahead by checking out what’s in peak season in other months.
If you generally make a meal plan before heading to the store knowing what’s in season can help you keep lower priced items on your list. Should you get to the store and realize an element of one of your planned meals is out of season and dreadfully expensive try to be flexible and get creative. Try your recipes with different types of produce – substitute green beans for broccoli, apples for pears, or peaches for mango.
Now that we’re in the height of summer and enjoying all the delicious produce that is readily and cheaply available this time of year take advantage of the bargains and plan ahead for a long dark winter. Slice corn off the cob, spread it on a sheet tray, and freeze it. Once frozen toss the kernels in a freezer bag or plastic container and use them just as you would a purchased bag of frozen corn. You can do the same with berries, chopped peaches, peas, green beans, and many other summer treats.