|I know, it's been a while. Sorry. The summer semester has started and crazy me signed on for 12 credit hours...the semester is only 7weeks long. Ouch!
Anywho, the subject du jour is reduced produce :)
How many people know if their grocery stores offer a reduced produce section? Our commissary doesn't have a reduced produce section, but they do have a dented/dinged section where they have products who's packages have been damaged in some way. A crushed box of cereal or a dented can of soup, shampoo w/ a broken cap. I don't usually buy the foods because they've been opened or spilled. But I have gotten shampoo, sunscreen, etc nearly free after the reduction in price and a coupon for that product.
My big scores come from the reduced produce section. Next to meat, fresh produce has to be the second most expensive part of my grocery bill. We love fresh salads, fresh tomatoes, green beans, apples, bananas, grapes, squash, zucchini, carrots, peppers, etc. I did do a garden last year and got plenty of tomatoes, but everything else was a flop. This year I did not put one in because we may or may not be moving and I don't want to put all that work into a garden only to have to leave the fruit of my labors for someone else to enjoy.
Back to the reduced produce...
At my regular grocery store (not the commissary) there is a set of shelves in the back of the produce section where they have marked down fruits & veggies. Some of it is not worth the cellophane it's wrapped in because it's rotten and they shouldn't be selling it.
But most of it is good. Just needs to be cooked right then or are from a bigger bag of produce that's been opened and is loose. Like potatoes & apples. I buy my potatoes & apples from the reduced produce bin because often they have the 5lb bag of apples that's been split open and only weighs 4lbs now. So I get it for 29c/lb instead of $3.99 for 5lbs. Potatoes are the same way. A 10lb bag splits and only weighs 6.5lbs so I get them for 19c/lb instead of $4 for 10lbs (WHEN did potatoes get so expensive? Even at the commissary I only pay about 19c/lb). Buying them from the reduced produce section saves me the 20 min drive to the commissary because the regular grocery store is right on my way home from my night course at the college and only 5 minutes from home.
My last haul at the reduced produce section netted me this:
1.06lb of whole white mushrooms $1.05 (regular $3/lb)
3lbs yellow summer squash @ 39c/lb = $1.17 (the regular price is about $1.15/lb)
6.5lbs white & yukon gold potatoes @ 19c/lb = $1.24 (regular 40c/lb)
5lbs various apples in separate pkgs @29c/lb = $1.45 (regular 80-$1/lb)
2.14lb small white onions @ 19c/lb = 41cents (regular price is nearly 50c/lb)
Reduced produce price: $5.32
Regular produce price: $14.29
Total savings: $8.97
I brought these items home, washed & sauted the mushrooms then froze them for further use in casseroles or on pizzas. The potatoes went in the fridge drawer (not for too long or they break down quickly when cooked). The summer squash, some of it was grilled for dinner that night. The rest was blanched, then flash frozen before putting into a freezer bag for later consumption. The apples are quickly scarfed down, mostly by my 3yr old who I swear has a hollow leg! Onions also went in the fridge drawer (separate from apples & potatoes), although I have diced & frozen them as well for future use in casseroles or whatever recipe calls for cooked onions. Just take a handful of frozen diced onions out of the bag & throw them in the frying pan. They don't do well in anything that calls for fresh onions. I have done this with green peppers too. I hit the motherload in sweet red/yellow/orange/green/purple peppers a few weeks ago, brought them home and sliced & diced them before putting them in the freezer. Now when I recipe calls for peppers that are going to be cooked, I use them. Saves me a bundle :)
Here is a valuable website with information on freezing fruits & vegetables:
Now who's going to scout out their reduced produce section next time they go to the grocery store?