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Ways to Save on Fruits and Vegetables

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We have several good pages on ways to save on the food you buy. This one looks at how to spend less on fruits and vegetables.

Buy Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

Frozen fruits and vegetables often cost much less than fresh, depending on the season. You can use frozen vegetables in cooked dishes and frozen fruit in "smoothies" (just blend orange juice with frozen blueberries, strawberries or raspberries).

Now for the really good news: The frozen versions may have more vitamins than the fresh. This is because fresh fruits and vegetables travel for days and sit in the store displays for days, and then sit in your refrigerator for days, all the while losing vitamins. The ones in the freezer department are usually cleaned and flash-frozen shortly after being picked, thus locking in much of the vitamin content.

How to Save on Organic Fruits and Vegetables

If you sometimes buy organic produce to avoid pesticides you know that they can be expensive. But there is a way to keep your pesticide exposure down while saving money. Just buy organic when shopping for those foods with the most pesticides and spend less to get non-organic fruits and vegetables when buying those that typically are lowest in pesticides. The lists:

Foods with most pesticides:

Peach
Apple
Bell Pepper
Celery
Nectarine
Strawberries
Cherries
Kale
Lettuce
Grapes (Imported)
Carrot
Pear

Foods lowest in pesticides:

Onion
Avocado
Sweet Corn
Pineapple
Mango
Asparagus
Sweet Peas
Kiwi
Cabbage
Eggplant
Papaya
Watermelon
Broccoli
Tomato
Sweet Potato

More Ways to Save

Do you want the freshest, best produce at the lowest cost? Then buy whatever is in season at the moment. That's when you get the highest quality, and because of the abundant supply this is also when prices are normally the lowest. You get the same fruits and vegetables as you normally do, but when they are ripe and probably better for you.

You can also adjust your diet to include more fruits or vegetables that are cheaper. Habit alone may have you buying some of the things you eat, while there are cheaper alternatives that you would enjoy just as much. Try any produce that's on sale and see what you really like. Then among your favorites just buy whatever costs the least each time you go shopping.

Gardening might seem like a way to save on your food costs, but this rarely works if you have a small garden. By the time you figure the costs of seeds supplies and water you may be paying twice as much for each tomato or cucumber. On the other hand, why not visit friends who like to show off their gardens. They will probably send you home with a free zucchini or two.



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