Here are eight money saving tips for buying organic fruit and vegetables for less.
Over the past few years we have tried our best to eat more organic food (for health and environmental reasons), but this change in lifestyle also happened to coincide with the need to spend less. The two don’t really go hand in hand and it has proved really challenging. Below are some tips that we have tried over the years that have helped us to make few more healthier choices without spending an absolute fortune!
Eating fruit and vegetables in season really does cut down on costs. Out of season food can be transported thousands of miles, impacting on the price of the produce (and the environment). The bonus of eating seasonally means that the flavour is better and you are more likely to be eating locally grown produce; which in turn supports local farmers and growers. With this in mind we tend to avoid exotic superfoods and instead source some of the seasonal superfoods that are produced a little closer to home. For example vegetables like broccoli, garlic and leeks have their own health benefits and are a fraction of the cost of the more trendy superfoods.
This is a good way to make the organic food that you buy go a little further. Cooking large meals like curries, stews and dahls can cater for two to three family meals. They can also be frozen so that you have something pre-prepared for those busy weekday dinners or work lunches.
Organising your meals in advance can save so much money. Having a couple of recipes that use kale (for example) in a week ensure that you use it all up while it is still fresh. It also means that you only have to buy one organic product (and use it a couple of times) instead of buying several. I will often see what veg is in season (or what will be arriving in our veggie box) and try to find a couple of recipes that will use up that one ingredient across the course of the week.
Frozen organic food is likely to be cheaper than fresh, especially if it is out of season. Choosing frozen berries for example ensures a cost effective way of getting your nutrients. The berries are likely to be picked in the Summer time in the UK when they were perfectly ripe. They are then frozen immediately to keep their freshness. It is not uncommon for some out of season foods to be picked before they are ready and forced to ripen in unnatural conditions while in transit.
Sub seeds for nuts
Seeds are on the whole much cheaper than nuts. You could roast them with spices and keep them in jar so that you have a tasty topping for salads and soups. I really like to add a couple of tablespoons of mixed seeds to my peanut butter. This adds even more protein and makes it last a little longer.
Pulses are really cost effective and are a great way to make a meal go further. You can also freeze your beans (once cooked) so that you have them to hand when you need them. I do this a lot with chickpeas. You can cook them (according to the directions on the packet), drain and then store them in a freezer proof glass jar (just make sure that you leave a 2cm gap at the top for expansion during freezing). These can then be defrosted by running them under boiling water.
Veggie boxes, food assemblies and farmers markets are all money saving ways of buying seasonal food while supporting organic farmers. Waiting until the end of the farmers market can offer some last minute deals. Another really good tip is to hold off going to the shops until you really need to. This makes you use up every last bit of your food in the fridge and requires more creativity in the kitchen; subbing ingredients and trying new food combinations.
Avoid the dirty dozen (when you don’t buy organic)
If you choose not to buy organic then you can avoid higher levels of pesticide contamination by choosing fruit and veg that don’t feature on the dirty dozen list below (you can find out more about these twelve foods at this webpage)
- Sweet Bell Peppers