Author Topic: Cost of fresh food  (Read 6352 times)

webcat86

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Cost of fresh food
« on: November 08, 2015, 01:23:09 PM »
Just wondering what people do to keep the cost down of fruit in particular. I've never been good at eating enough fruit and veg so I've bought a nutri bullet and am following the recipes in there. To start with its mainly fruit to get people used to the bitter taste of dark greens more gradually, so later on it won't be a problem. But fruit is expensive - £2 for a punnet of blueberries or strawberries, which last 3 days. So two punnets is £8 a week, as an additional expense to the grocery budget (which is £40 a month).

Is there a better way to buy it than the grocery store? (I'm in the UK if anyone has specific recommendations)

redbird

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2015, 01:27:39 PM »
I don't know what they have in the UK, but in the US, Farmer's Markets and Asian grocery stores tend to have cheaper and better tasting produce than the regular grocery stores.

You can always try freezing some of your produce to help it last longer so you won't have waste.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2015, 01:32:06 PM »
Frozen berries! I went through a frozen blueberry phase a while ago - defrost in 30 seconds in the microwave or just leave a portion out overnight. Also frozen spinach - SO easy to deal with compared to the big bag of fresh stuff that we can never seem to get through before it expires. You can buy them in Tesco.

A Nutri Bullet is just a smoothie-maker, isn't it? So you can put anything in it, not just the "official" recipes. Pad out with apples and bananas.

MBot

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2015, 01:33:17 PM »
Frozen berries and frozen overripe discount bananas. Way cheaper than fresh here

webcat86

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2015, 01:54:14 PM »

Frozen berries! I went through a frozen blueberry phase a while ago - defrost in 30 seconds in the microwave or just leave a portion out overnight. Also frozen spinach - SO easy to deal with compared to the big bag of fresh stuff that we can never seem to get through before it expires. You can buy them in Tesco.

A Nutri Bullet is just a smoothie-maker, isn't it? So you can put anything in it, not just the "official" recipes. Pad out with apples and bananas.

Yup I'll be deviating as well but the recipes look really nice and berries are one of the types of fruit I never really have except in smoothies. I do put a banana in them too.

Spinach isn't an issue as we always have fresh stuff anyway, frozen berries are a great idea though! Presumably they're just in the grocery store and don't need to be bought online?

Cornbread OMalley

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2015, 02:10:12 PM »
Eating fresh is more costly. I view it as an investment in my health now and in the future. So the higher cost does not bother me as much. I agree with redbird that shopping at outdoor markets, farmer's markets, and Asian stores do help keep the costs down. A lot of the vegans I know grow their own produce. And they really enjoy it as a healthy hobby.

Deo

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2015, 03:41:50 PM »
I haven't figured it out yet.

I also live in the UK, and my wife is a fruitoholic.  We spend a small fortune on fresh fruit.

Goldielocks

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2015, 04:41:25 PM »
Fruit is very expensive.   We have to stick to apples, bananas, and oranges in the winter, and frozen berries.   I managed to preserve / dry / freeze fruits inthe  summer.

In the winter, try eating more orange squashes, beets, cabbage, onions, carrots , rutabaga, frozen spinach to offset, as you say.  Start adding / eating them slowly.  A big help is making a large batch, and freezing portions of root veg and squash for a quick re-heat.  if you use a light glaze (butter+sugar or syrup) they taste so good out of the freezer.

Bucksandreds

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2015, 05:25:06 PM »
Guacamole for 5 tonight (a lot each)

$1 Avocado times 4

85cent red onion

23cent jalapeño

99cent cilantro

89cent lime

Insanely delicious and healthy. Cost about $6.75 or $1.35 per person.  Not insanely cheap but not out of this world expensive.  That amount of Guacamole at Chipotle who have been $15.  A few extra dollars per day in fresh healthy food may set back your budget $1000 per year but your body will thank you over time.  Better to start your retirement a year later with 10 extra healthy years than you would have had eating as cheap as possible.

Rural

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2015, 05:59:54 PM »
On regular grocery trips, I buy only bananas and whatever other fruit is on sale, preferably under $1 a pound. The usually that's apples, but not always. In winter it's more likely to be citrus. Also I look for sales and stock the freezer - pumpkin is really good in smoothies. So are cranberries, which go on sale after the holidays.


I buy strawberries in season for the freezer, and pick gallons of blueberries, blackberries, wild cherries, and elderberries in the woods (elderberries should be cooked and are too seedy for smoothies, anyway, so they go in muffins and syrups). In good years, I also get tons of wild grapes. Blanched and seeded in a food mill, they yield both juice and pulp to be frozen for pies or smoothies. They also go on good sales in season, and they can be frozen whole and cooked down for juice and pulp later as needed.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2015, 02:08:11 AM »


Spinach isn't an issue as we always have fresh stuff anyway, frozen berries are a great idea though! Presumably they're just in the grocery store and don't need to be bought online?

I was actually getting them online (specifically Ocado) but I'm sure a big supermarket would sell them (not one of those "corner shop" ones). If not, and if you have a big enough freezer, you could always do an order of frozen berries and a few other store cup board things like tins of beans or even wine (just enough to make up the minimum order).

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2015, 04:37:40 AM »
Do you have any small fruit and vegetable shops nearby or local markets? Often they'll be cheaper than the supermarkets.

Another thing would be to become aware of seasonal produce. If it's out of season and the fruit or vegetable of your choice is expensive (ie: if it's imported or has been in cold storage for months),  then maybe buy something else (or frozen).

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TomTX

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2015, 04:55:15 AM »
Buy cheap fruit! Around me, that means under $1/lb. BUT - exactly which fruit it will be is going to vary a lot depending on what season it is, and what sales are going on.

Always under $1/lb: Bananas

Sometimes under $1/lb: Grapes, oranges, grapefruit, apples, pears, pineapple, mandarins

Rarely under $1/lb: Strawberries, blueberries, papaya, mango

Most weeks there are 2-4 fruits which meet the benchmark, maybe bananas, green grapes, Fuji apples. The next week it's bananas, red grapes, Pink Lady apples and pineapple.

*The easy-to-peel citrus family: Tangerines, satsumas, tangelos

GuitarStv

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2015, 07:05:13 AM »
Eating fresh is more costly. I view it as an investment in my health now and in the future. So the higher cost does not bother me as much.

'Fresh' fruit and vegetables are typically lower in nutrient value than frozen.  (Greater transportation times mean more nutrient degradation for 'fresh' stuff, frozen stuff is frozen quickly on site and doesn't degrade as much while trasported.)  If you're concerned about health, you should be eating frozen.

That said, I second the 'cheap fruit' option.  Berries and most exotic fruit are more expensive.  Try to buy seasonal fruit and veggies when available as they're usually cheaper.  Asian supermarkets around here seem to have great discounts on one or two types of fruit each week, so it might be worth biking down to pick some up on the weekends if you have one near you.

Dee18

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2015, 07:38:39 AM »
Eat what's in season.  Right now I'm eating apples. Also I go to a farmers market once a week.  I buy all my veggies at one stall, where they will sell me two tomatoes, one eggplant, 5 red peppers, etc...exactly what I need .  They charge a $10 for what would be $20 or more at the grocery and it's all fresh so it keeps well.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2015, 11:16:14 AM »
I was inspired and popped to the shop and bought some frozen blueberries. Defrosted in ten minutes in a low oven (no microwave) and SO TASTY.

4alpacas

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2015, 11:25:50 AM »
Eat what's in season.  Right now I'm eating apples. Also I go to a farmers market once a week.  I buy all my veggies at one stall, where they will sell me two tomatoes, one eggplant, 5 red peppers, etc...exactly what I need .  They charge a $10 for what would be $20 or more at the grocery and it's all fresh so it keeps well.
Eating seasonally is inexpensive and SO tasty. 

I also use frozen fruit and vegetables, especially for smoothies, if the item I want is out of season.

The Wire

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2015, 11:44:11 AM »
Frozen berries! I went through a frozen blueberry phase a while ago - defrost in 30 seconds in the microwave or just leave a portion out overnight. Also frozen spinach - SO easy to deal with compared to the big bag of fresh stuff that we can never seem to get through before it expires. You can buy them in Tesco.

A Nutri Bullet is just a smoothie-maker, isn't it? So you can put anything in it, not just the "official" recipes. Pad out with apples and bananas.

Im always paranoid that they weren't washed good when frozen

FLBiker

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2015, 11:49:50 AM »
Good tips here.  Frozen berries are great, as are (in Florida, at least) Asian grocery stores.  Farmer's markets can be good, but some are overpriced.

If you target their weekly specials, Aldi can be amazing.  In season, their prices on pineapples, watermelon, avocados, grapes and pomegranates can't be beat.

I'm also a fan of growing my own, but I don't know that it's truly cost effective if you factor in time.  My most successful fruit tree is an Indian Jujube, but I've also had some luck w/ meyer lemon, fig and starfruit.

mm1970

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2015, 11:51:31 AM »
Keep a price book
Calculate the cost per serving
Know (and buy) what's in season (plus it tastes better)
Shop the loss leaders
Check out ALL the grocery stores (including Mexican or Asian stores)
Shop at local farms
Consider a CSA
Big box stores (Costco)
Frozen fruit/ veggies
"Distressed" fruit (bruised apples or peaches can be made into apple sauce or frozen peaches to be mixed with ...?)
Grow some if you can
Glean from the neighborhood
Take free stuff from friends (I have friends who have way too many lemons or apples, and will just give them to me because I take everything)
Eat what you buy, buy what you eat.  I know that it's grape season right now.  I hate grapes (unless fermented!!)  I don't buy them.

dcozad999

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2015, 12:30:05 PM »
Guacamole for 5 tonight (a lot each)

$1 Avocado times 4

85cent red onion

23cent jalapeño

99cent cilantro

89cent lime

Insanely delicious and healthy. Cost about $6.75 or $1.35 per person.  Not insanely cheap but not out of this world expensive.  That amount of Guacamole at Chipotle who have been $15.  A few extra dollars per day in fresh healthy food may set back your budget $1000 per year but your body will thank you over time.  Better to start your retirement a year later with 10 extra healthy years than you would have had eating as cheap as possible.


Add a diced tomato and you have my recipe.  Sometimes I add more lime.

dcozad999

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2015, 12:32:13 PM »
You guys are lucky

Our farmer's market is almost always more expensive than a grocery store.

webcat86

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2015, 01:03:35 PM »
I think I'll look into frozen. Do you defrost them first?

reader2580

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2015, 01:27:46 PM »
I eat frozen blueberries straight out of the freezer pretty much.  I might let them sit 5 to 10 minutes.  They will be quite frozen yet, but they can be eaten.

honeybbq

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2015, 01:32:02 PM »
Eat seasonally.

Winter fruits are oranges, pears, grapefruit.... after Thanksgiving you can load up on cheap cranberries and pomegranites. 

In the summer, I pick as many berries as I can and freeze. We grow blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries, and often go hunting for wild blackberries in the city (parks often have wild bushes growing full of berries).


4alpacas

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #25 on: November 09, 2015, 01:46:24 PM »
I think I'll look into frozen. Do you defrost them first?
I use the frozen fruit directly in my smoothies. 

Argyle

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #26 on: November 09, 2015, 02:22:13 PM »
Berries are still seasonal fruits and you are buying them way out of season.  Spring and early summer is the season for berries.  Yours are probably flown in from South Africa or somewhere like that.  No wonder they're expensive!  Apples and pears are the local seasonal fruits for autumn.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Cost of fresh food
« Reply #27 on: November 09, 2015, 04:10:42 PM »
Frozen berries! I went through a frozen blueberry phase a while ago - defrost in 30 seconds in the microwave or just leave a portion out overnight. Also frozen spinach - SO easy to deal with compared to the big bag of fresh stuff that we can never seem to get through before it expires. You can buy them in Tesco.

A Nutri Bullet is just a smoothie-maker, isn't it? So you can put anything in it, not just the "official" recipes. Pad out with apples and bananas.

Im always paranoid that they weren't washed good when frozen

That's kind of pathetic. So what, you scrub everything in boiling water before you eat it? As if food safety laws would allow that. If frozen berries were inadequately washed to the point where it was a problem (I.e. Caused food poisoning) there would be a national outcry. There isn't.