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Spend Smart. Eat Smart.

Is fruit really too expensive?

On a recent shopping trip, I started thinking about the cost of produce—bananas to be specific. It seems their cost has really skyrocketed over the past few years. I’m probably dating myself by admitting that I remember when I could buy bananas for 25 cents a pound! On this shopping trip to a big box store, the cost was 64 cents a pound. Well, it’s no wonder families are tempted to buy snack food to satisfy their hungry members instead of produce. So, being a home economist, I decided to do a comparison. I bought 5 bananas that weighed 1.71 pounds; the cost was $1.09. That meant that each banana cost between 20 and 21 cents each.

plant-grow-share

Plant. Grow. Share.

Is your garden overflowing with tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash or zucchini and you are not quite sure what to do with the extra harvest? Consider donating your fresh garden produce to your local food pantry.

vegetables-fruit-mixed-heart

Seasonal Produce – The time has come!

Warm weather has finally arrived here in Iowa and locally grown produce is starting to become available. Summer is my favorite time of year to cook because my favorite ingredients like tomatoes, fresh green beans and bell peppers are in season. When fruits and vegetables are in season they are often available at a lower price and fresh-picked produce tastes great.

fruit-salad-in-bowl

How many fruits and vegetables do you need?

Here are the facts.

fresh green beans cooking in a pot

Blanching your Produce

We get lots of calls at AnswerLine from gardeners who are getting ready to freeze their vegetables. Blanching helps maintain the quality of garden produce and even experienced gardeners often ask us to review the directions for blanching as it has been a while since they did it last.

carrots canned in glass jars

Canning

Have you been bitten by the canning bug? Buying fresh local produce at the farmers market or growing it yourself in your own back yard garden has been inspiring lots of people to give canning a try. If you would like to try canning before making a huge investment in equipment, we have some suggestions.

fresh produce and a paper bag

On the Counter or in the Fridge?

My kids and I have been faithfully watering our tomato plant (we’re not getting much rain where we live!) and watching it grow this summer. We’re growing the plant in a large container and it’s the only produce we are growing this year, so we’re giving it extra good care. There are 3 green tomatoes on it so far, but lots of flowers so I think we could get quite a few tomatoes!

strawberry on plant

Spring Produce

Each spring I love watching the plants pop up out of the ground.  Some days I feel like I can see the plants growing in my yard.  Now that we are in April, more and more fresh spring produce is popping up in the stores and in gardens.

Chicken BLT Salads Meal

Chicken BLT Salads

My parents are professional tomato growers. They started out small when I was young with about six plants. Now they have dozens of plants of many different varieties. Regardless of how many tomato plants they have, one thing remains the same – bacon, lettuce, and tomato (BLT) sandwiches. We feast on them along with any other fresh produce we can find (usually corn on the cob, green beans, and cucumbers).

couple grocery shopping

On-line Grocery Shopping Part 3 – Cons

Welcome to the third part of our blog series about on-line grocery shopping. If you did not see the first two parts of this series, here are the links to the overview and the pros of on-line grocery shopping. Today we are going to look at, what I think, are the cons to on-line grocery shopping.

cut avocado

Avocado

Now that summer is in full swing and lots of fruits and vegetables are in season, we will be sharing some new produce videos we’ve created. Today I’m sharing with you our video on how to prepare an avocado.

My Fall Kitchen

The mornings are getting chilly and sweet corn and tomato season is wrapping up. These are sure-fire signs that it is time to switch my kitchen over to fall. This is my favorite time of year to cook, not only because I love to make cozy dishes like soups and stews, but because there are delicious fruits and vegetables that come into season in the fall.