Friday, June 3, 2011

Vegetable Bargains

I've talked about eating healthfully on a budget before and the subject is very polarizing.  But for the moment I want to say that there are ways to stretch the produce dollar.  Shopping at supermarkets that discount produce when it nears the sell by date is one of the best ways to save.

Not all supermarkets do this.  But it can't hurt to ask.  I was shocked to find out that Publix will not discount their produce.  I wanted to buy some avocados a while back and they were $2.49 each, which in itself is shocking.  Add to that the fact they were all soft and overripe.  I asked the produce staff member if I could get a few at a discounted rate.  She was indignant!  "That is NOT Publix policy."  When I asked if they would rather throw them away then sell them at a discount, she turned and walked away.  Shame on you Publix.

So I decided I would try Kroger for my in between Whole Foods and Trader Joe's shopping.  It has definitely paid off.  Each time I pop to Kroger I scan for produce specials and usually find lots of good ones.

How much did this mess of greens cost? Two pounds of kale, two pounds of collards and two 5 ounce containers of organic salad greens. The retail cost is $18.96.

I paid (before sales tax) just $3.04.   Everything but the baby romaine was just 25cents. 

And although everything was around the sell by date, everything was in perfect condition.  Nothing wilted or mushy!  The spring mix was the base of our supper last night.

Greens, tomatoes, cheese ravioli with homemade pesto with herbs from the garden.

Now to be sure all those beautiful bargain kale and collard greens don't go to waste, I just cooked them up like I usually would with garlic, onion, crushed red pepper, olive oil and salt and water. 

After letting them cool a bit, I portioned the out into freezer containers and they are ready for whatever meal plans I have.  Two are grab and go single portions for work dinners.  The others are family sized.  I can turn them into creamed greens by adding a bit of cream cheese when reheating them to go with grass fed steak and asparagus.  I can make them Indian style by sauteing ginger, cumin and coriander before adding the greens to serve with curry and brown rice.  I can add some vinegar and serve with slow smoked chicken.  Healthy greens at the ready on the cheap, now that's nutritious and delicious!

What are your favorite ways to eat healthy without breaking the bank?


  1. I would love to know more about your freezing process. Do you have special containers or just tupperware? Do you let it 100% cool before freezing? Do you add dried ice to the freezer when you put them in to get them frozen quicker at a lower temp?

    I try to freeze things once in a while, and I often find that they get freezer frost on them really quickly. I have a feeling I'm doing it wrong, but am not sure how to eliminate the problem. Since I have a full size upright freezer just waiting to be plugged in, this is a something I would really like to learn and learn well!

  2. I don't really do anything special. I have a regular side by side fridge/freezer. I use rubbermaid containers and I do let things cool before popping them in. Sometimes I like to refrigerate things before transferring them to the freezer. I don't leave things too long. I only freeze as much as we'll eat in 3 or so months as not to let things go to waste.

  3. You did well there, some great bargains! I personally eat eggs quite often, as they can be picked up fairly cheaply.

  4. you know, Andra, if you have a local co-op or organic and natural foods store, you might check it out. I actually work at my local coop and we sell a ton of local produce, and we also sell discount bags for 1.00 that have bruised or about-to-turn produce! i have made many soups from our dollar bags. local shops can often offer great deals on local produce (plus you're supporting the local economy, and making sure someone has a job) and there are often good sales, too.