by Michelle Jones, GrocerySavingTips.com
Tip # 1 - Don't Pay for Water
When buying produce (by the pound), make sure it's dry. If it's just been sprayed with water it will weigh more and cost more!
Tip # 2 - Farmer's Markets
Produce is often cheaper (and fresher) at local vegetable stands or farmers markets, than the grocery stores. Except when they're in season and on sale. Check your store specials each week to make the best shopping choice.
Tip # 3 - When are Fruits and Vegetables in Season
Buy fruits and vegetables when in season, here's a helpful list for the Southern U.S. The list will vary depending on where you live.
Copyright by Michelle Jones, Founder of GrocerySavingTips.com
March - Early June: Asparagus, Broccoli, Lettuce, Peas, Onions, Mushrooms, Strawberries
June: Apples, Broccoli, Cabbage, Peas, Peppers, Garlic, New Potatoes, Onions, Radishes, Raspberries, Strawberries, Tomatoes
July: Acorn Squash, Apples, Apricots, Beets, Black Eyed Peas, Blackberries, Blueberries, Cabbage, Cantaloupes, Carrots, Cherries, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Garlic, Green Beans, Lima Beans, New Potatoes, Onions, Peaches, Peppers, Plums, Radishes, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Watermelons
August: Acorn Squash, Apples, Apricots, Beets, Berries, Cantaloupes, Carrots, Cherries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Cabbage, Cucumber, Eggplant, Garlic, Green Beans, Lima Beans, New Potatoes, Okra, Onions, Parsnips, Peaches, Pears, Peppers, Plums, Potatoes, Radishes, Seeds and Nuts, Tomatoes, Watermelons, Yams
September: Apples, Blueberries, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cantaloupes, Carrots, Cauliflower, Collards, Green Beans, Kale, Mushrooms, Mustard Greens, Okra, Parsnips, Peaches, Peppers, Plums, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Raspberries, Seeds and Nuts, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Turnips, Yams
October: Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards, Kale, Mushrooms, Mustard Greens, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Raspberries, Soybeans, Spinach, Tomatoes, Turnips
(If you would like to share our seasonal produce calendar, please provide a link to this page. Thank you!)
Tip # 4 - BOGO
"Buy 1/Get 1 Free" produce isn't always a great deal, be sure you can use that much or it will just spoil, essentially costing you more money. Or, consider sharing the free item with a neighbor!
Tip # 5 - In the Bag
Before buying large bags of apples, oranges, potatoes, onions or anything else, check the produce carefully to make sure they aren't bruised or spoiled.
Tip # 6 - One Bad Apple
If you buy a large bag of produce (instead of individual produce items), and the bag contains one or more bruised or spoiled items, remove the damaged produce as soon as you get home. One spoiled item can affect the rest of the bag if it's not removed soon.
Tip # 7 - Weight
Prepackaged produce is not always equal in weight, check the scales for the biggest packages.
Tip # 8 - Storage
To get the best value, store produce properly after your purchase. (Do not put tomatoes in the fridge!) If fruit is a little under-ripe, place in a paper bag for one or two days, it will ripen very quickly. If it's over-ripe, put it on the menu for today or tomorrow and either freeze any extra or share with the neighbors if you have more than your family can eat.
* * *Readers' Tips...
"Growing our own garden in the summer is a huge savings for my family. You can freeze or can your veggies and fruits for all winter. Squash is wonderful, we grow a lot of them and the fully grown ones usually will store just fine in a cool place like the basement for the whole winter until next summer. Herbs can also be dried or frozen for the whole year." - Pashia
"I love your website; it has given me so many ideas on how to save on groceries (even if you're single, like I am). Something relatively new on the market is Debbie Meyers Green bags. I gave in and bought a box (on sale and with a coupon at Bed Bath and Beyond), and they are GREAT! It extended the life of ALL of my produce, which I find hard to use all at once. They're worth the money, and they WORK." - Lisa
"This may not be a new tip, but is one that has helped our family for years, and people that I tell about it always say, 'I never thought of doing that.' I keep a container in my refrigerator freezer (usually a one gallon ice cream bucket with lid) and after each meal, I will put my left over vegetables or meats in this bucket. Then when it is full (or whenever I want to use it), I will put it in a large pan with some canned tomatoes and either some cooked ground beef or turkey and make soup. This saves those last green beans, or whatever food, even if it is just a few spoonfuls, and contributes to another delicious cheap meal for the family. My kids will eat this even though they 'can't stand' the individual vegetables. LOL" - Judy
(Editor's note: Judy, I LOVE your grocery tip, it's a great money and food saver! Both my mother and mother-in-law did the same thing for many years when we were growing up. Reading your tip gave me a possible clue as to why hubby and I haven't continued the practice; we were tricked into eating all those miscellaneous veggies and meats when we were children! ;o)
"It might be a good idea to buy the veggies canned or fresh and stock up before the winter when prices raise. I noticed how high tomatoes get in the winter." - Lori Sawyer
"This year I have started buying potatoes in bulk. If you get them in 5 to 15-pound bags, they sell for around 10 to 30 cents a pound (here in the Seattle area), which is cheaper than any other produce I eat. (If you have a family that eats a lot of food, you should be able to get them in larger boxes.) I stick with the Red Potatoes and Yukon Gold, but their are others like Russet also. I cook them in the morning and eat them later in the day cold, which is the way that I like them." -Ron Koenig
Copyright 2003-2013 © by Michelle Jones, Founder of GrocerySavingTips.com. All rights reserved.