Save Money on Fresh Vegetables
This is not a typical store deal but keep your eyes and ears open for free produce from over-flowing gardens right now. Especially cucumbers and zucchini. I got my garden out late because of wet weather and don’t have anything but Summer Squash yet.
However, an older lady who lives about a mile away from me has a huge garden already producing. I baked some banana bread for her yesterday and she invited me in for a chat. Her counters were piled with zucchini and cucumbers. She’d been freezing zucchini and was preparing to start on pickles.
She said a lot would go to waste and gave me several plastic bags full of zucchini and cucumbers for free. I worked yesterday afternoon and evening grating the zucchini and I froze it in Ziploc bags in 2 cup portions…the right amount for two loaves of zucchini bread. Then I cut some up and froze in portions for home made spaghetti sauce. We will be eating some of the cucumbers fresh/in salads and I will be canning some pickles.
Amish Stands/Farmer’s Markets
Also, when you can’t get it free from a garden try a stand for fresh, reasonable produce. Before I landed the free produce, I was buying from a local Amish stand. They have beautiful produce and they don’t use pesticides.
I was getting two large cucumbers for $1.00 or three smaller ones for $1.00. Same for zucchini. They also have green peppers, two large green peppers for $1.00 or three medium ones for $1.50. The price at my local Kroger is anywhere from $1.67 to $2.83 each and these taste much better. They also have watermelon, cantaloupe,corn on the cob, green beans and new potatoes.
If you can find an Amish stand or Farmer’s Market in your area, give it a try. I think you will like the quality of the produce and the price!
My favorite produce is free or almost free. We are friends with our neighbor down the street and he just gave me a huge bag of hot peppers which we are going to dehydrate to use in salsa and Mexican food. Make friends with your neighbors!!! I can’t tell you how much money we have saved over the years just by being friends with our neighbors!! From not having to buy a needed tool, fixing our lawnmower or free produce we’ve saved hundreds if not thousands!
As for farmers markets. These aren’t always the greatest place to find cheap produce. You have to make sure that you are getting a good deal. One time I got a box of over 100 green peppers for $1. Now that was a great deal and you can find these deals but they aren’t common. The best time to go is at the end of day when they don’t want to drag it all home. Ask “what’s the best deal I can get for these.” That’s all you have to say and sometimes you will be very surprised!
Getting to know your neighbors is great. When I first moved into my house I started taking small plates of baked goods over to my neighbor because I knew she didn’t like to bake. I now get all kinds of really nice fresh fruits and veggies from her when she receives extras. I watch her dog for her and she lends me her big ladder. It is a wonderful two way street.
photo by: scubadive67
My question comes way late, but this seemed like the best place to ask.
I participate in Mobile Foodshare: http://site.foodshare.org/site/PageServer?pagename=programs_MobileCalendar One of the items that was part of this weeks distribution was cucumbers. We made pickles out of some of them, the rest were too soft to use.
Any thoughts on a way to use the soft cucumbers? I so dislike tossing food.
What about chow chow or relish.
one year my father brought home 3 bushels of cucumbers. We were in the process of moving 14 hours away and packing up a 13 room house to fit into a 6 room house.
We did not need the pickles. Anyway to make a long story short we made a relish. it was a corn relish recipe as that was all mom could find and every time it called for corn or something we didn’t have in the house mom added cucumbers. The relish was great but we had enough to last 5 years.
I remember not all the cucumbers were perfect and mom used them all anyway.
just a thought the chow chow and relish the pieces are cut smaller so soft ones might not be noticed as much as in pickles whole or sliced.
Try soaking soft cucumbers in ice cold water for several hours, or even overnight, changing the water often. This can be done in an automatic clothes washing machine if you have a large quantity of cucumbers. I do this to firm up cucumbers before pickling them. Just fill the tub with cold water and stop the timer. When it is time to change the water, just move the timer to a “drain” spot, (gentle cycle is best), and spin out while supervising the process. Return the timer to “fill” cycle on cold water again, and do as often as you need. As for excess zucchini, my neighbour showed me how to dehydrate them. Just slice the clean zucchinis into coins and lay our on dehydrator sheets, until dried like a potato chip. Dried zucchini has a sweet kind of taste, and can be stored indefinitely in cool dry conditions. It is excellent tossed into soups or spaghetti sauces over the winter. I have even put the dried chips out with salad dressings or chip dips as a healthier alternative to potato chips at Christmas.