Save money, eat what’s happening now! Get more value out of your hard earned dollars by investing in seasonal eating.
I think this may be my favorite time of the year, food wise, so much fresh produce is just staring to trickle into the stores, I can’t wait for the full abundance that’s coming. We’re slow up here in Alaska, we can’t traditionally plant anything outdoors until the end of May and then we have 3 short, sweet months to get it all grown up. But we can stretch the season with greenhouseses, hoop houses and indoor seedlings starts, there are ways to move beyond 90 days for sure.
What’s seasonal to your area, growing right now, that you can pick and eat? Nothing? You sure about that? I bet if you looked you could find dandelion greens growing everywhere especially where you DON’T want them to grow. Pick them now, they get bitter the bigger they get. What else is out there? Well in Alaska not a LOT but definitely the fiddle head ferns are popping out, scrub off the husk and cook them up! Spruce tips are out, we picked a few cups of them and made jelly from them, it’s interesting! Rhubarb has poked it’s lush head above the ground too, you can make a killer ice cream sauce or a cobbler or tasty sweet and sour sauce. Fireweed are up, pick them small for the best flavor. All fresh and if you play your cards right, (asking the rightful owner or not over picking) you can get them for free!
Ok, so what’s available in the grocery stores? Buy that! Seasonal eating can save you money while getting the best of fresh foods to your family because you are literally buying at peak harvest when prices are low. There was just lots of asparagus in the stores, when that happens I buy as much as my family will tolerate and we eat it until it’s no longer available. I do this with every seasonal vegetable I can get my hands on, it’s a great way to get fresh veggies on the table every night for a fraction of their out of season prices. I’ll admit mid-winter is tough, we eat a lot of frozen then, so we make up for all that by eating fresh whenever we can between now and late fall. I have found that if I treat it as a special, “only around for a short while”, I can get away with serving it in a variety of ways, yes they’ll get tired of it but then it’s gone until next year.
I’d like to say, well add I guess, that you should definitely check out the local farmers markets. Up here there are a few, the prices are sky high yet I still like to shop there. I like to hand the farmer my money, smile at them, ask them questions, let them know WE CARE and we support you. I may only be able to afford a few items but I try to spend our food dollars as locally as I can. And spending my money there means maybe the prices will eventually come down, one can always hope.
There are quite a few ways to eat seasonally while stretching your food dollars. You can grow it, buy what’s hot now, forage it and buy from your local farmers. Mix it up, forage for free and then support local farmers. Buy a vat of seasonal veggies to supplement your garden. Forage the weeds IN your garden (perfect revenge right there!) .
How are you stretching your food dollars?