Good Food For Budgets & Diets

Yesterday’s Sanford Spectrum feature included a look back to area grocery stores from the distant past.  Today, we have a much more modern approach to the food we eat and the funds we can save in the process.

It’s always a household balancing act … providing nutritious food for the family at the best prices possible.  Organic foods are generally healthier and lacking in chemicals and preservatives, but they also tend to be more expensive than other mass produced options.  The good news is that several fruits and veggies are less susceptible to pesticides and a safer bet to purchase in a less costly, non-organic form. Especially this time of year, families can eat healthy and save money.

These products generally land in three groups.  The first is vegetation that is naturally resistant to insects and diseases, such as asparagus, broccoli and onions.  The second is items with thick skins that make it difficult for pesticides to penetrate.  Examples include avocado, eggplant, kiwi, mango, papaya, pineapple and watermelon.  The third is plants whose growing practices don’t expose them to pesticides, such as cabbage, corn, peas and sweet potatoes, The Daily Green has in-depth information about the best options.

You can also extend the deliciousness of the prime growing season and take advantage of more variety and lower costs, by picking or purchasing more than you need and freezing the excess.  It’s a very easy process that will save you money and pay back delicious dividends later in the year.

The key for veggies is blanching.  This is the process that kills bacteria and ends the growing process (including vitamin and mineral loss).  After you’ve cut pieces to the desired size and rinsed them off, place them in a pot of boiling water.  Once the water has returned to a boil allow 1-2 minutes before carefully moving the veggies to a bowl of ice water.  Let the pieces chill, then drain, dry and place them in an air-tight container.  For fruits and tomatoes the process is even easier.  Once your item is fully ripened, just wash, dry, remove pits, stones and seeds, size them and pack them away.  If your food is sealed tightly before freezing it should provide a tasty experience for up to 8-to-12 months.