Make the Most Out of Reduced Produce

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It’s that time of the year again when you get to enjoy discounted or reduced produce.  Are you thinking of making some dietary changes?  Do you want to add more fruits and vegetables into your diet?  Now, it’s the perfect time to do just that.  Many supermarkets are selling reduced produce, and it would be a great idea if you’d learn how to make the most out of reduced produce.


Make sure to plan your trip to the store before you go there.  Grocery stores and supermarkets have shelves for discounted or reduced produce.  They are often referred to as clearance shelves.  Before you start dumping other items into your grocery cart, it might be an excellent idea to drop by these shelves first, and check out the items available.

You can probably buy a few items from these shelves at much discounted prices.  You can whip up apple pies without spending a lot of money.  Perhaps, you’d be able to buy 2 pounds of apples at $0.75! If you’re not sure what to do, the store manager or staff members are almost always willing to help customers with their purchases.  You can always just ask for assistance.  They will likely direct you to where they store discounted items.  You can save money from your grocery budget when you choose to buy discounted fruits and veggies.

Before you start buying reduced produce, there are some things that you have to take note of:

1.  Create a Meal Plan Before You Go to the Grocery Store

You have to create a meal plan before you hit the grocery store or supermarket.  You might think that 8 pounds of tomatoes for $2 is something you shouldn’t miss, but it is not a good idea if you don’t have any meal plan.  What would you do with several pounds of tomatoes?  You could end up just wasting your money.

With a meal plan, you’d know what to buy or not to buy.  List the items you need for your meal plan, and you can check the clearance shelves for items included in your meal plan.  For instance, you might be planning to bake an apple pie or cook an apple sauce.  You can check the clearance shelves for discounted apples.  Usually, these items may be a little bit bruised, so you might have to adjust your meal plan accordingly.  Are you planning to prepare pasta?  Maybe you can buy tomatoes for pasta sauce.  Just make sure you have enough for your planned meals.  Otherwise, you could end up with rotting vegetables in your fridge.

2. Be Open to Adjusting Your Meal Plans

You have to create a flexible meal plan.  Sometimes, the produce you need might not be available at discounted prices.  You go to the store, and you find items that are available for a clearance sale. What should you do?  Should you just ignore them and go on your merry way looking for the ingredients on your shopping list, or should you make some adjustments to your meal plan?  So, for instance, you weren’t planning to cook pasta, but you saw that tomatoes are on sale for 80%, shouldn’t you go ahead and buy a couple of pounds to use as pasta sauce?

3. Take Note of the State of the Produce

As much as you would like to grab all available reduced produce, you shouldn’t.  The lifespan of the items in the clearance shelves varies.  There are some items that will last a few more days, but there are items that have already live long past their freshness.  There are items that you have to eat and cook immediately, but there are items that you can store a few days before they become unsafe and unusable.  These items include apples, carrots, oranges, and lemons.  If you see any of these items, it is safe to buy them unless they’re completely soft, and they’ve turned brown.

4.  Use the Reduced Produce Immediately

Reduced fruits and veggies need to be used or eaten immediately. They are sometimes too ripe or too soft, so before they turn unusable, make sure to eat them, puree, freeze, or cook them.  Some items may not be pureed or frozen, so take note of them.  They should be prepared immediately, so you don’t end up wasting them.  An example is a lettuce.  Never buy lettuce unless you intend to use it immediately.  It is hardly the type of vegetable that you can store in your fridge for days.

 

Image Credit:

Sanford Shaw's Alert via darlenemichaud.com
meal plan march 2-6 via themuffinmyth.com
Paleo On The Cheap via paleoonthecheap.blogspot.com
Cast Iron & Cupcakes: May 2012 via castironandcupcakes.blogspot.com
My awesome reduced produce score via darlenemichaud.com

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