Friday, May 11, 2012
Seasonal Produce - The What, The When, The Why | Family Economics
Eating seasonally when it comes to produce helps your grocery budget, your health and your taste buds. It provides the lowest prices, the highest nutritional value and the most flavor! That in and of itself is enough to make me only want to eat oranges in the winter and butternut squash in the Fall.
Heading into the summer season, we can look forward to not only great prices on all sorts of fresh produce but also many items that are at their peak ripeness. This is when you want to go all “grizzly bear” on yourself and flash freeze what you can to stock up your freezer. That way, you’ll get to enjoy “in season” fruits and veggies throughout the winter months and you won’t have to pay for “over-priced” produce later on in the year.
If you don’t know what to do with these seasonal items, learn how to cook them, like butternut squash! And if you come across another piece of produce that you think is a fantastic deal but you’re not sure how to cut it up or cook it, get some help from the $5 Dinners Cooking Tutorials page.
During the summer months, we’ll see prices of popular summer produce like berries, peaches, corn, plums, cherries and grapes go on sale. But even within the few months of summer, the different produce will peak at different points for unbeatable prices. Here are a few examples:
• Berries: June
• Corn: August to early September
• Peaches: late June to early September
• Summer squash: July to August
Of course, this might vary slightly depending on the part of the country you reside in, but these time frames are a good benchmark to work with and use to watch for the best sale prices.
During the rest of the year, here is what you can expect:
• Fall: Apples, butternut squash, acorn squash, carrots, sweet potatoes
• Winter: Citruses, like oranges and grapefruits, winter squash, broccoli, potatoes
• Spring: Asparagus, tender, leafy vegetables like spinach, Swiss chard, and Romaine lettuce
So now you’re covered! You know when to expect to find your favorite produce at the best prices and maybe you’ll be inspired to pick up a butternut squash when it’s on sale for $.49/lb. and not pay full price for the broccoli. It’s these small changes in the way you shop for produce that can really add up to significant savings over time.
How do you shop for seasonal produce while still saving money?