One thing that helps when buying things on sale is to know the in season fruits and vegetables. Even when I started couponing, I didn’t realize how important this is. I just would buy the sale items, a lot of times these would be the in season items, but a problem has come that sometimes I had no recipes with that item or had no idea how to cook the item. When I started to think more about my purchase of produce I realized that I have a lot of work to do if I was going to really save by utilizing the in season produce.
So I began to research this and I will probably write up a more detailed post later, but I wanted to get you started with a few ideas of how you can really plan your meals around the produce that is in season and use what is on sale as a driving force behind your families food.
I used to cook the same meals all the time too. This wasn’t really a “problem” in our family but as I have been trying to cook in season I have discovered that there are a million things that we have never tried. We were so boring and didn’t even know it! Starting to cook in season has created learning opportunities for all of us in the family, so the first thing you need to learn to do is to be flexible and willing to stretch yourself to try new things. I think this is the biggest hurdle to get over when you start this process. It is the scariest, but when you overcome it, your life is better and your produce costs are lower. I would suggest if you don’t know how to use something, ask others, read up on it, or just expiriment and try to make it part of your meals.
Second you need to know what produce is in season. Usually you can rely on the sales, but not everything will go on sale that is in season. The best list I have found is HERE. It lets you pick the area and the season so you can get personalized help so you can shop the right way. This also helps you to shop at local markets or farmers markets. When I first attended a farmers market I looked at everything they had an felt a bit overwhelmed. This helps you to go in with a plan and to be able to cook what you buy. You know what type of a price you should be getting if it is in season and you can then barter to get the price down if you feel it is to high.
Third, You need to know what recipes you have that are in season. I have a great list of recipes that I have here at home and I have no idea what season they would fit into. By the end of the year this year I plan on taking that book and reorganizing it by season. I will have the lists of recipes at the front of each season for quick meal planning and the recipes will be filed behind that. This way I will be rotating meals and always planning around the season.
Each of these things will help you to cut the costs. Do you have other ideas or tips on using in season produce?