Wednesday, January 27, 2010

How to have fruit on a budget!

I have been able to keep to my $25/ person per week! So far so good.
We have been eating lots of soup, eggs, beans and pasta dishes. But I have been struggling to keep fresh fruit around. At this time of year it isn't easy. But with athletes and kids around it is important to have fruit for vit. C and as a healthy snack! So I laid out a plan and it is as follows.

The cheapest fruit is that which you’ve grown yourself. I have 3 apple trees ( Northern Spy, Cox pippin and Gravensteine, and a crab) which produce a ton of apples every fall and usually provides fresh apples for a couple of months. We also have several plums which gives us fresh fruit for about 2 weeks at the end of July (but we have to fight the bears for them). There are also wild blackberries, raspberries and salmon berries around our home.

But that doesn't help in Jan., so fresh fruit in season is sometimes a good buy. When kiwi fruits are 5/$1, I buy several dollars worth. The last few weeks citrus fruits have been cheap and the navel oranges have been especially delicious this year. And bananas are always inexpensive.

When fresh fruits are expensive, canned sugar-free fruits can sometimes be a good buy. When peaches, pears, fruit cocktail are under $1 a can I stock up. And when mandarin & pineapple is under $89, I buy a doz each. I keep these on hand when fresh fruits become too expensive for me to serve on a daily basis.

I freeze my own fruits, blueberries, blackberries, rhubarb and apple sauce in season. They are so appreciated in January, a little bit of summer in winter! I use them in baking and smoothies. I also look for frozen fruit on sale and save coupons and sometimes the two combined can come up with some great deals. This past week I was able to buy 3 bags of frozen Strawberries for $2 a bag. We really enjoy frozen strawberries in fruit salad.

Frozen fruit juice concentrates are excellent buys. I find apple juice, orange juice, and purple grape juice are the least expensive. I don’t often buy fresh or refrigerated juices because they are generally priced far outside of my budget.But sometimes ith high value coupons plus sales these can be a great buy too, and a real treat.

The last type of fruit we use is dried. Prunes, cranberries, apricots, raisins, dates and apples are all pretty easy to find and when on sale are a great deal. Dried fruits are great added to hot cereal, granola, and trail mix. In the fall I dry my own apple slices and when ever there is a bargain in fresh fruit I will dehydrate some of the surplus. Dried fruits keep a long time.

So that is my economical fruit strategy!

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