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Saving Money on Produce

Updated on February 17, 2010

Some of the most expensive foods at a grocery store are the produce. Of course we are always hearing about how we need to eat our fruits and vegetables. Can we eat the recommended number of fruits and vegetables and not break the bank? Yes, we definitely can. One of the keys to doing this is to eat what is in season. The fruits and vegetables that are in season are the ones that will be healthiest for you, will taste the best (because they are ripe and usually not shipped from 1/2 way around the world), and will be the least expensive.

Take apples for instance. Do you buy apples in June? Of course these days you can, but you will pay a pretty penny for them. If you buy apples in October you will pay much, much less for them, because they are in season, there is an abundance of them, and they can be found locally - therefore no high shipping costs involved in getting them to the store. Apples are actually in season from September through March, but the cheapest prices will be found in the fall.

Celery, carrots, onions, potatoes, and sweet potatoes are all in season in the fall. Citrus - lemons, grapefruit and oranges - are all in season in the winter. Tomatoes, cucumbers, peaches, corn, okra and squashes are in season from late July through September or October. Strawberries are in season in May and June, other berries later in the summer. Have you ever bought blackberries in December or oranges in July? They will be very expensive. Cranberries are in season for a very short time each year - October through December. If you try buying them in May they are very expensvie, if you can find them.

Decades ago the only fruits and vegetables that would be found in the store were the ones in season. The stores had no way to ship fruits and vegetables from another country. They had to sell what was grown locally. We have become spoiled over the years by having almost every fruit and vegetable there is, available to us year round. Just because they are available doesn't mean we should buy them. You can get all the vitamins and nutrients you need all throughout the year buying what is in season. Eat the salads and berrries all through the summer. But eat the citrus fruit and root vegetables in the winter. This will save you a lot of money and you will still be eating healthy.

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