The Clean 15 in produce
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas
- Cantaloupe (domestic)
- Sweet potatoes
- Buy locally and in season. When produce is in season, it’s more plentiful and it should be less expensive than other times of the year. Use the free Locovore app on your smartphone or Epicurious’ online Seasonal Ingredient Map to find out what is in season right now.
- Pick your own. Again, this is a way of buying locally and seasonally, but you’ll get even more bang for your buck if you pick your own. A few weeks ago, I picked a little more than 9 pounds of strawberries for $20. That’s a little more than $2/pound. It’s a great price.
- Learn to preserve food. If you do get seasonal produce at a great price, preserve some of it for eating when it’s out of season. You don’t have to know how to can (although learning how to can is a skill you’ll be happy to have). You can freeze seasonal berries or make a large batch of slow cooker applesauce in the fall and freeze it in small containers. Freezing takes no special skills.
- Buy in bulk. Some grocery stores sell bags of organic apples or organic potatoes for less per pound than if you bought them by the piece. My local Wegmans sells a 5-pound bag of organic apples for only $1 more than a bag of conventionally grown apples. They’re usually small apples, so I get 12-15 per bag, and they are great for the kids.
Grow your own. Take a look at the Dirty Dozen and some of the other fruits and vegetables near the top of the list and see if you can grow any of them yourself. Cilantro came at number 13. If you have a sunny spot on a windowsill or a fire escape, you can grow potted herbs. Sweet bell peppers (number 8) can be grown in a small pot also. If you have a large sunny yard, consider planting apple trees or blueberry bushes as a long-term investment.
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