Dealing with Eli’s food aversions can be VERY challenging. And it can get super frustrating to find foods he will actually eat without putting up much of a fight.
But fruit and vegetables are probably the ONLY type of foods he will eat without hesitation.
As long as they are raw and fresh, of course!
This often times leaves me scouring for fresh produce to cook with. I love cooking with fresh ingredients. And nothing beats a good Peach or Blackberry Cobbler made with FRESH peaches and blackberries!
Having said that, buying enough fresh produce for me to cook with and Eli to eat has become quite expensive.
So, I had to come up with a plan:
Therefore, a combination of compromise, sales, local shopping and a couple of hours of my time saved me $80 this month!
1. I gave up on (always) having fresh veggies or fruit for my cooking
2. Frozen produce is convenient and healthy
3. Sales are my friend
4. Local farmer’s markets and produce stands are my BEST friend
5. Get ‘overripe’ produce for a steal
This is what I managed to get this month:
Retail prices first:
- 10 red bell peppers (red bell peppers can easily go for $1.79 each where we live)
- 10 green bell peppers (normally around 99 cents each)
- about 4 pounds of celery (retail: 79 cents/lb)
- 10 pounds of Oranges (retail: $1.69/lb during non-peak)
- 8 pounds of green apples (retail: $1.69/lb during non-peak)
- 8 pounds of fuji apples (retail: $1.79/ lb)
- 5 pounds of gala apples (retail: $1.69/ lb)
- about 1 1/2 pounds of different peppers such as jalapenos (retail: $1.99/lb – $4.99/lb, depending on the pepper)
- 6 pounds of bananas (retail: 69 cents/lb)
- $2.00 for all 10 red bell peppers(overripe bin)
- $2.00 for all 10 green bell peppers (overripe bin)
- $1.50 for celery bundles total 4 pounds
- 49 cents/lb for Oranges
- 25 cents/lb for green apples
- 35 cents/lb for fuji apples
- 29 cents/lb for gala apples
- $2.00 for all peppers (overripe bin)
- $2.50 for bananas (mixture of overripe bin and regular produce)
So let’s recap:
Red bell peppers retail: $17.90
Green bell peppers retail: $9.90
Celery retail: $3.16
Oranges retail: $16.90
Green apples retail: $13.52
Fuji apples retail: $14.32
Gala apples retail: $8.45
Peppers: this retail varies depending on the type of peppers, but I estimated the retail to be about $15
Bananas retail: $4.14
Red bell peppers: $2.00
Green bell peppers: $2.00
Green apples: $2.00
Fuji apples: $2.80
Gala apples: $1.45
103.56 – 21.15 = 82.41!!!!!
Amazing right? I was super excited!
So how did I do this and how do I use all this fruit?
OK, so I admit that I have found a wonderful produce market in the next town over! They are only open for about 9 months throughout the year. But their prices cannot be beat AND they sell local produce! So when they are open, I try to get as much of my produce there. Unless, the chain grocery store in town has a sale and the quality at the produce market is not up to par.
However, for the most part, I get my produce at the market. It has saved us so much money. Especially when I get a really good deal on fruits and veggies like I did here. There are a few different ways I use the produce, especially the overripe products.
Here are suggestions on what to do with all the fruit and veggies:
- Freeze it
- Things like bell peppers, onions and celery I cut up, flash freeze and store in freezer containers to use later. Frozen bell peppers and onions are great for Stir fry. I use celery in stir fry or finely chopped in meatloaf.
- Can it
- Just about anything can be canned. It all depends on whether you enjoy the texture of it. I don’t have a problem canning things like apples, peaches, pears, or making jellies. I actually made a batch of apple sauce with the apples I bought in this trip. A few weeks ago, my mother-in-law gave us 2 totes full of pears and apples. Out of that I made apple butter and canned pears.
- Bake with, then freeze, it
- At our house we L-O-V-E banana nut bread. We also love waffles and pancakes. I have found that fruits like bananas are amazing to bake with. So whenever I get overripe bananas, I either freeze the bananas, or bake with them then freeze whatever I made.
- Create Freezer meals
- Another option, of course, is to create freezer meals. Soups, stews, stir fry mixes, etc. there are virtually no limits.
Yes, it takes a lot of time to cut, chop, wash, dry, freeze and package all this produce. But I was able to save $80 this month, by doing just that. That’s $80 I am able to use for extra Christmas presents, savings, other food, or paying down bills. A day of work has probably saved me an entire month worth of financial headache.
Do you stock up on fruits and vegetables? If so, how do you use them?
Disclaimer: Everything I share is solely based on my personal experience and is for informational purposes only. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please view my disclosure policy.