Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fruits and Vegetables

With produce being out of season and prices skyrocketing, it's important that I buy it right the first time- and store it properly.

I still consider myself a kitchen "n00b", and it's not unusual to find myself standing in the midst of the produce section at the grocery store, utterly confused by the bins and bins of similiar items.

There's nothing worse than having spent hours preparing a meal only to find that that particular type of potato was too mealy for that casserole. Or that apple was too tart for applesauce, and you've had to add more sugar than apples.

The Cook's Thesaurus is my savior. Especially the sections on apples and potatoes.

This website is packed with a variety of produce information.

This site gives terrific hints on how to tell if produce is fresh. Here's another with fresh produce buying and storing tips.

This site has a table, about mid-page, on what not to store together, and what will spoil the fastest.

20 frugal tips for buying produce.

Now that we have all those fruits and vegetables, what do we do with them?

This recipe has become a family favorite. I double it to fill my 6 quart slow cooker and I rarely have leftovers. Plus, it's so good on a chilly winter evening. It definitely fits the bill for "comfort food".

I got this one from Mandy, a contributer here. :)

Hamburger Heaven

16-oz. Ground beef.
2 cups diced raw potatoes
1 ½ cups sliced carrots
1 cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped onion
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
1 10-oz can tomato soup
½ cup water
1 tsp parsley

Brown meat and onions. In a slow cooker sprayed with Pam, combine meat mixture, potatoes, carrots, celery, peas and corn. Stir in tomato soup and water and parsley. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours. I add in a generous sprinkle of garlic powder, and serve it with cheddar-garlic biscuits.

(If you use lean meat and Healthy Request tomato soup, this recipe is 1 point per serving for Weight Watchers.)

Finish with a fruit salad like this one for dessert, and we've had a healthy meal and used up lots of produce.

Over the Rainbow Fresh Fruit Salad

3 cups mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)
2 cups seedless grapes (red or green)
2 crisp sweet apples
3 peaches, nectarines or 6 apricots
2 bananas, sliced thin
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (3 Valencia oranges)
Nutmeg (optional)

Chop fruit and mix gently in large bowl. Pour fresh orange juice over fruit, stir and refrigerate. Serve with dash of nutmeg.


  1. kaya, thank you for all the great info. I really enjoyed several of those links too as I had never seen them. Such as the what not to store together - I had heard of some of those but not all. So it was a good one to know about. Thank you!

  2. Late to the party!

    When I buy produce I look for the items that are the least expensive, not because they're old, but because fruits and veggies that are in season tend to be less expensive.

    This time of year stone fruit, like peaches, apricots, etc. are a huge temptation for me until I see the price... $2.98/lb! I'll have an orange at 48¢/lb or an apple at 39¢/lb thank you very much.

    Same goes for veggies.



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