Canned and Frozen Produce Over Fresh? Give it a Try!
Last month Jody wrote a blog highlighting tips to help us save money at the grocery store. Recently I have found that some of the fresh produce I used to buy on a regular basis has started to increase my family’s grocery bill. To lower my grocery bill but still get the same nutritional benefits, I have found that swapping in canned and frozen produce options has worked out well for many recipes that my family enjoys. Below are a few tips for purchasing these options.
Storing Fruits and Vegetables to Reduce Food Waste
Last week Katy shared about how she uses canned and frozen fruits and vegetables, along with fresh, in her meals, to help stretch her grocery budget. Today I want to share a few tips and resources on storing produce. Storing fruits and vegetables properly will help them last longer and taste better. The longer produce lasts, the longer you have to use it before it goes bad and it has to be thrown out. Food wasted is money wasted and we want to limit both of those!
Moldy Veggies – Yucky and Disappointing
Guess what my son found in our refrigerator last week? Moldy celery. It was yucky and disappointing at the same time. We were working together to make chicken noodle soup for supper that night. He was disappointed because he wanted to chop the celery. His brother was disappointed because we ended up using frozen peas instead of the celery.
4 Tips to Make Convenience Foods Healthier
Are you trying to eat healthy AND use packaged foods because your time is limited? If so, here are a few tips to make convenience foods healthier:
Do the new “green bags” really keep food fresh?
The “green bags” are designed for fruits and vegetables that ripen by the production of the plant hormone, ethylene. Ethylene gas is produced in copious quantities by certain fruits, most notably bananas. As the concentration of ethylene gas increases in an enclosed environment, the fruit ripens faster. Removal of ethylene helps keep fruits from over-ripening quickly. The green bags are made of a polymer that allows the escape of the gas while keeping others, and some of them actually use additives to the film to absorb other gases that promote ripening or deterioration.
Gourmet Salsa is a hit!
My entire family enjoys snacking on baked taco chips and salsa for an easy snack. We usually just eat tomato salsa that I buy at the store until our home grown tomatoes are ready from the garden. But, for something a little different, I tried adding some plain yogurt to it along with some fat free sour cream. It was a big hit with my son and husband – the yogurt was cool but there was still the spiciness of the salsa for a great flavor combination. It couldn’t be any easier to make – equal parts of salsa, fat free sour cream and nonfat plain yogurt. Just a 2 tablespoon serving yields 2% of the daily value for calcium and it only costs $ .15 a serving. I also liked the fact that it tasted great with vegetables. There was just enough spice to make you keep eating and that IS what I need – ideas to keep me eating more nutrient rich vegetables. At only 25 calories for a 2 tablespoon serving of this South of the Border Dip, you can enjoy this guilt free, inexpensive snack.
Farmers Markets = Fresh Produce
Did you know there are more than 212 farmers markets located in communities across the state with direct access to Iowa’s nutritious, affordable and delicious products?
Cabbage – what’s cheaper?
What is cheaper? The slaw mix or the entire head of cabbage and shredding it yourself?
What can you buy for $6?
One great change in the food that families receive from WIC is vouchers for fruits and vegetables. The amount of the voucher varies, but as I understand it, each child on WIC old enough to eat table food gets a $6 voucher each month. Amanda and I headed to the grocery store last Friday to see what $6 would buy. We were in luck because lots of fruits and vegetables were on sale.
Can a Vegetable Garden Save You Money?
That’s the title of an article by Cindy Haynes, Extension Horticulturalist. Her answer was “yes” – if done correctly. She goes on to quote a book about $64 tomatoes.
Save money and don’t heat up your kitchen–cook on the grill!
We have lots of rain and heat in Iowa this summer (it seems like a sauna). And, since I try to use the air conditioner as little as possible, the thought of adding to the heat by starting the oven doesn’t appeal. Grilling is my answer. It keeps the house cooler, I have fewer dishes to wash, and food from the grill tastes good.
Schools Back in Session
Here in Iowa, schools are back in session. For some families this means packing lunches, although the cost of school lunches is hard to beat, and packed lunches are not automatically healthier than school lunch.