Depending on where you live, produce can get pretty expensive in the winter months. It is typically the season where not much is being grown and half the country’s growing areas are on lock down until Spring. There are some ways to save money on produce in the cold months, though, so don’t think you are stuck paying the high prices. These helpful tips will show you How to Save Money on Produce in the Winter.
How to Save Money on Produce in the Winter
Buy seasonally. All is not lost in the cold winter months. There are some winter vegetables and fruits that are sold at great prices. Some of these include root vegetables like potatoes and carrots as well as citrus like oranges and grapefruit. Typically broccoli is harvested in the early part of the winter/late fall as well and freezes great!
You can actually “flash freeze” most types of produce by cutting it small and placing on a single layer on a cookie sheet in the freezer for several hours before storing. This is an excellent way to make your fresh vegetables last when you find a great sale or stock up at the end of the fall.
Grow your own produce indoors. There are many low cost options for growing fruits and veggies indoors during the cold months. You can generally re-grow things like green onions and celery indoors in any season as long as you have a sunny window. Additionally, many herbs and spices grow well in windows in the winter and year-round.
Buy frozen, not canned. If you are going to buy produce that is not fresh during the winter to save money, go with frozen over canned. While it might seem cheaper to buy canned, you often get less per package and pay more per ounce. Plus, frozen is typically way better for you nutritionally.
Look into harvest boxes in your area. These can go by many names, but often they are a once a month (or every 2 months) deal where you get seasonal fruits and vegetables from local farmers at a great discount. If you can’t use all that is in your box, make a trade with someone. Bartering is still an acceptable way to save money.
Plan your meals around what is in season. One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to shopping in the produce aisle in the winter months is making meals they would make in the warmer months when produce is cheaper without even thinking. Some produce can be 2-3 times more in the winter depending on what it is, so try to keep that in mind when meal planning.
Make substitutions in your meals. You can switch out some more expensive fruits or vegetables for less expensive ones in your dishes and save yourself a lot of money.
Store your produce correctly. With the high cost of produce in the winter, it is vital that none is wasted. Only buy what you can reasonably use and store leftovers well. Also, look for ways to use leftovers or typical “throw away parts”. For instance, you can use carrots, celery, and onion cores and skins for making stock for soups rather than buying them. This really makes sure you get your money’s worth!