We've compiled some great advice from HFG readers about how to save on produce. Here's how:
Shop with a list
This was the advice from a third of HFG readers when we asked for their best budget shopping tip. But to make it really work for you, get specific. Instead of writing 'potatoes', spell out the quantity. Even saying 'for two dinners' will help. The same applies to fruit; don't just write 'apples', work out how many you actually eat.
Buy in season
We often hear this, but what exactly does it mean? Simply put, everything is cheaper when it's in season locally. It's generally more plentiful than at other times of the year, and you're not paying to have it transported. It's a win-win, because it's also fresher - coming straight to you from the farm without months in cold storage. Not sure what's in season when? Every issue of HFG includes a seasonal guide to make it simple. You'll also get an idea by looking at the shelves – if there's a lot of broccoli and it looks good and fresh, it's most likely in season.
Select items by hand
Asealed tray of mushrooms or strawberries, for example, may contain nasty surprises. Selecting by hand gives you the chance to ensure everything is fresh.
Buy varying stages of ripeness
Most supermarkets and grocers sell a range of tomatoes, bananas and avocados, for example. Choose ripe ones to eat now and greener or harder ones for later in the week. Keep at this, it will soon become an art!
Buy in bulk
And share with family and friends. You can save a huge amount of money by buying a large bag of potatoes or a tray of tomatoes and splitting the food (and the cost!) between you.
Vary where you shop
You can save big by shopping around. Local fruit shops sometimes charge less than supermarkets.
Monitor the shops
Some supermarkets discount their produce on Sundays, for example. Others reduce the price at night. Local grocers are often the same.
Buy only what you need
If you get to the end of the week and find you have lots of leftover fruit and veg, you may need to rethink your buying habits. Only buy what you know you will eat. Don't be tempted by glossy eggplants or succulent stonefruit. Just buy what you know you will eat.
Storing and using
- You can keep produce fresh for longer with correct storage. See Stop wasting food and save for more details.
- If you have two crisper drawers, always transfer the older produce to one drawer before filling up the other one with your shopping – then make a commitment to use the older produce first.
- Don't over-pack the crisper – it will prevent air circulating and your vegies will spoil sooner.
- Bananas make other fruit ripen more quickly, so use this to your advantage. Store them with avocados and pears to ripen quickly or well away to help them last longer.