As much as I hate to say it, there are some items that are difficult to find coupons for. Fresh produce is one of those items. As grocery budgets decrease, fresh fruits and vegetables are usually one of the first things to go. Prepackaged food tends to be cheaper, stay edible longer and is easier to prepare. So we sacrifice what is good for us for the sake of our wallets.
But there are some simple ways to save on produce that can help both your body and your wallet.
Shop the farmer’s markets! In Hampton Roads we have multiple farmers markets available. In almost every city there are places as small as roadside stands and as large as free standing buildings open 7 days a week. Consider buying local to save for yourself and benefit from money staying in the community. Additionally because these items were likely picked very recently and not shipped they will stay good longer in your kitchen!
Buy in Bulk! Most fruits and vegetables can be frozen or canned. If you can find a great deal on vegetables go ahead and buy them in larger quantities and use them later. Google is your friend when it comes to finding out how to store things long term. My favorite is corn in the husk- you can just throw it right in the freezer without any preparation!
Shop the discount shelves! Many local grocery stores have discount produce racks. You can find peppers, bagged salads and other items that are a day or two away from the end of their shelf life. Store them in mason jars or air tight bags. Ask your produce manager when discount items are released for sale.
Swap colors! I love the way red peppers taste but I hate the price. Consider swapping them out for the less sweet (but still good) yellow or orange peppers. If your recipe calls for a specific color consider switching them out. A few minutes on-line should let you know about workable options.
Know your organics! Use websites like www.foodnews.org to find out which fruits and vegetables are most beneficial to eat organic. You can save money by buying non-organic versions of the others.
By following these basic steps you can keep healthy food on the table and some green in your wallet!