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3 Summer Strategies for (Cheaply) Eating Organic Fruits Year-Round

3 Summer Strategies for (Cheaply) Eating Organic Fruits Year-Round

As I bask in the sunshine at my local farmer’s market these days, I feel the slightest twinge of worry, knowing the delightful organic berries, cherries, peaches are not going to last through fall. But this year, I’m changing my strategy–I’m bringing my favorite fruits right into wintertime with me. I’m starting now, and I’m trying to save money while I do it.

It’s all about preservation. Preserving foods, that is.

Some foods cost way more when they’re organic, but some don’t. My friend Janice did an interesting comparison of organic vs. conventional milk, eggs, OJ, and a couple other staples here in California, and while her results showed that several products are relatively competitive, I’ve found that when it comes to organic peaches and berries, it can be trickier to find a good deal. Since these are my favorite foods and my kids cannot live without them, I’m on a mission to find ways to buy lots–for cheap.

Aside from growing my favorite fruits in my garden, here are three more cost-effective strategies for finding cheaper organic fruit:

1. U-Pick Berries
This is a fantastic event for the whole family. We visit a local organic berry farm with a big group of relatives or friends, and we picked berries until our fingers and feet ached. Last year we harvested 17 pounds of blackberries! We froze about 10 pounds worth and ate blackberries until the end of winter.

It’s SO easy to freeze berries:

Without washing the berries, lay them out one layer thick on a cookie sheet. Freeze until hard, sweep into a plastic freezer bag, seal and store. Repeat and repeat again. When you’re ready to use them, take them out of the freezer, wash them off and let them come to room temperature. Delicious with yogurt and granola!

2. End-of-Farmer’s Market Deals
Although I like to buy most of my farmer’s market goodies at the beginning of the market, I sometimes try to stop by at the end of the day to buy strawberries, raspberries, peaches, cherries and blueberries that haven’t sold. Some vendors are willing to offload berries at a cheaper rate at this time, so I buy whatever they have when it’s at a discount. Then, I bring it home and I freeze them or make jam.

3. Wait for in-store sales and binge-purchase
When food is local and in season, it can be delicious – even from the grocery store. So, when organic peaches hit $1.99/pound, I test one to make sure it’s as tasty as the farmer’s market variety and if it passes the test, I buy loads and loads of them. Then, I freeze whatever we cannot eat in the first 3 days.

Have any other summertime secrets for extending organic produce into the fall? Post them below.

Read more: Basics, Family, Food, Nature, Outdoor Activities, , ,

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34 comments

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5:12PM PST on Mar 9, 2013

thanks!

4:25AM PDT on Jun 27, 2011

Thanks for this article. I'm placing on my blog to share with others! I also write about and share ideas with others about how to buy organic for less money. I'm so glad you're doing it too! I'd love to collaborate if you're interested. http://theorganicmother.com
Hannah Noel, The Organic Mother

5:47PM PDT on Apr 22, 2011

Good idea of freezing berries for future consumption.

9:46PM PDT on Apr 8, 2011

good ideas.thanks

5:37AM PDT on Oct 25, 2010

Thanks for the info.

10:29AM PDT on May 19, 2010

fabulous article, and great comments added! i love freezing my fruits and veggies, and hope that I will be able to stockpile enough this summer and fall to make it through the winter!

12:25PM PDT on Apr 17, 2010

I also grow my own vegetables, organic of course! Onions I peel and slice, peas I blanch, berries like strawberries and raspberries and all are put in separate freezer bags. Corn are blanched and frozen, potatoes are made into mash and frozen, some onions and peas are mixed in a casserole and then divided into portions which all goes into the freezer. Lots of different soups are made, with onions, peas, and carrots and put on containers and frozen. Herbs are easily frozen too. Like parsley and dill. Turnips, carrots and potatoes are cooked and made into turnip mash. By the end of the growing season I have so much food, I've growned myself, in the freezer that I hardly have room for anything store bought! With a plentiful harvest my food will last atleast 5 months. This saves me a lot of money and trips to the store, gives me lots of exercise and a healthy body while tending to planting, weeding, watering and harvesting and finally gives me plenty of use for my imagination when making up new recipes for my veggies. This season I'll grow a lot of tomatoes which will be used to make pasta sauce to last me the whole Winter. I hope and wish more people started growing their own vegetables. If only putting a few potatoes in a bucket on your balcony and some garlic or lettuce in another. It's fun to tend to them and eat what you have growned yourself. Good luck to all of you!

10:16PM PDT on Jul 16, 2009

I'd also like to know if you can thaw and eat fruit you've frozen, like plums and peaches, and if so, will it taste the same once it's thawed?

9:54AM PDT on Jul 12, 2009

One of my favorite summer treats was to get a gallon of good vanilla ice cream and let it sit on the counter while I went out back and picked some fresh Black berries
Rinse them and stir them into the now softened ice cream.
Stir them real well and re freeze the ice cream Yummy
Hazel.

7:54PM PDT on Jul 11, 2009

Those are great tips for freezing fruit I have used the same tecnique with blueberries, mango, pineapple and anything else of simmilar texture. Something else i have done and thouoghly enjoy. I take a couple of containers of raspberries and put them in the blender with approx. 6 oz. of juice, grape or apple or whatever you like. blend it up thoroughly and stain liquid into a freezer container, if it is still a little tart I put a couple of teaspoons of splenda. It's great on pancakes, in smoothies, on ice cream or whatever you can dream up!

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