Hey there, veggie fans! I hope you had a fantastic 4th of July weekend, because I know I did.
In fact, I got to spend Saturday doing what I love most—cooking and sharing yummy, healthy, plant-powered food with friends.
Our Independence Day cookout started off with bevvies, fresh veggies, and roasted red pepper hummus. I bought Sabra brand, but since I’m sensitive to chickpeas, I had to pass. I plan on making an oil-free white bean version shortly, though—check back soon!
Then it was on to the feast: patriotic jicama & watermelon salad with fresh mint, summer veggie pasta salad, 3 kinds of veggie burgers with all the fixin’s, and sweet bicolor corn-on-the-cob.
We ended on a sweet note with festive red, white and blue sundaes: Almond milk ice cream with strawberry puree from FatFree Vegan and fresh blueberries.
There were also two dessert fails that I did not inflict on my friends, thanks to some ill-fated “shortcuts”:
- Trying to make tapioca pudding without tapioca. (Note: don’t try this at home!)
- Trying to make vegan Jello instant pudding. (The mix may be vegan, but let me tell you: mixed with almond milk, it ain’t gonna turn into pudding!)
Luckily, everyone loves “nice” cream! 🙂
To make this feast, however, required a lot of produce. While our garden is cranking out cucumbers like crazy, we had to buy pretty much everything else. And as you know, it’s way too easy to drop a pile of cash in the produce section. Luckily, I’ve found the easiest way to save ever: no coupons, no special timing, and pretty much no effort required.
Easiest way ever to save on produce
Here it is, folks: When you’re buying produce that’s priced by unit—that is, per melon or per cucumber—buy the biggest one that still looks good. If this seems ridiculously easy, it is! Yet it can save you big time. Here’s what I mean…
These cauliflowers were both the same price at my grocery store: $3.49:
Yet the cauliflower on the left weighed 2½ pounds, while the cauliflower on the right weighed a measly 1½ pounds. By picking the big one, you score a free pound of cauliflower.
Melons are another unit-priced item where there’s frequently a lot of variety in size, but you pay a flat price. For instance, cantaloupe #1 weighed a little under 4½ pounds, while cantaloupe #2 weighed a little over 2½ pounds. Yet both were $2.99! By buying cantaloupe #1, you get almost 2 pounds of cantaloupe for free.
Watermelons can vary drastically in size at the same price point as well. While I didn’t get a picture, I did get some weights at the store, and for $2.99 (on sale), you could get either a 4-pound watermelon or a 6¼-pound watermelon. You can guess which one I took home—especially since the big one was riper.
Keep an eye out for unit pricing
The savings don’t stop at cauliflowers and melons. As you can see, lots of fruits and veggies are priced per unit. That means great deals—if you take a few extra moments to check how an item is priced and select a specimen that’s better-looking and bigger than its buddies.
Since nothing’s quite as satisfying as saving $$$ for almost no effort, here’s a handy list of produce items that may be unit priced:
Unfortunately, it’s easy to overlook price tags. Supermarkets can be a zoo, and often I just grab the first produce item that looks decent, haul my butt through the rest of the store, and get out of there! But for unit-priced produce, it really does pay to take a second and pick the big one. Especially if you’re cooking for a crowd! 🙂
So, do you buy the biggest of the unit-priced produce? If not, what savvy strategies do you use to keep costs down at the supermarket?
Shared on Inspire Me Mondays.