Tips for the Reduced Produce Section

Breaking news—fall has officially arrived because I saw honey crisp apples at the store yesterday!!

I love honey crisp apples, even though I sometimes wonder if they grow on golden trees in a magical land because they are so expensive. No worries though, I front-loaded my produce budget on honey crisps, and then headed to one of my favorite grocery store finds.

Once again, the reduced produce section saved the day!  I usually check out this cart before selecting any of my produce for the week, and yesterday I scored three red peppers for less than a dollar, a large carton of watermelon for a little over a dollar, and 5 bananas for fifty cents. The bargains can be amazing, but there are a few things I keep in mind when selecting items from the reduced produce section:

  • Inspect produce carefully.  A few nicks or outward signs of produce end-of-life are to be expected on the reduced produce cart, but it still needs to be edible.  I freaked out earlier this summer when I found a huge pile of raspberry cartons marked down to thirty cents each and threw several cartons into my cart.  I freaked out again an hour later when I opened the cartons at home to find sketchy patches of mold.

  • Develop a plan and purpose for the reduced produce items.  If I don’t want a cucumber to begin with, even a fancy-pants greenhouse expensive cucumber, then I definitely won’t reach for the slightly imperfect cucumber on the reduced cart.  It’s not a deal if the produce simply dies a slow death in my crisper drawer.

  • Be flexible.  I quickly survey the reduced produce cart and try to determine if I can use any of the items as substitutions in my planned menus and recipes.  For example, I randomly found a red onion in the reduced produce section a few weeks ago and bought it to use in a stir-fry instead of completing my planned purchase of a sweet onion.  The stir-fry still worked, I expanded my onion horizons, and I saved some money.

  • Freeze.  I regularly buy bananas past their prime and freeze them for future use.  Simply peel each banana, cut in half or in smaller bites, and place in a resealable freezer bag. They are great to have on hand for smoothies, whipped banana oats, or baking.

With a little help from the reduced produce section, I can buy my honey crisp apples and eat them, too.

Happy Wednesday! I hope you have a great day and are able to enjoy your apple variety of choice, too!

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1 Response to Tips for the Reduced Produce Section

  1. Ashley says:

    Look at all those beautiful Honeycrisp!! I cant wait to get one and top it with cinnamon or dip it in some greek yogurt!!

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