Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Making Fruit Go Farther

My girls LOVE fruit.  They could literally eat pounds of it in a day, especially if it was one of their favorites, like strawberries or pineapple.  My older daughter loves every type of berry passionately; she will even eat less sweet raspberries and blackberries.

In many ways, this is a good problem to have; I hardly want to limit their fruit consumption or replace it with something less healthy.  However, sometimes it can be hard on the budget.  There are rarely coupons or free or almost-free deals for fresh fruit, and, especially at some times of the year, it can be hard to get any fruit for a good price.  However, I have come up with a few ways to save on fruit, while still keeping it an important part of our diet.

- Buy seasonally - This is probably the number one way that I save money on fruit.  I typically buy whatever fruit is the best price each week, which usually means whatever is most in season.  This is absolutely a no-brainer to me, since seasonal fruit is almost always better quality, and buying it is better for the environment, since it is more likely to be local.  It also saves a huge amount of money.  For instance, during the summer I can sometimes get a pound of strawberries for $1.25, while off season they run something like $3.29!

- Look for discounted fruit - In my area, Harris Teeter has a rack in their produce section where they sell overripe fruit for a steep discount.  We can easily eat 3 or 4 pears from a $1.00 discount bag the same day I buy them, or else I can go home and bake something.  I have also heard that if you go to a Farmer's Market at the end of the day, you can often negotiate a discount for the farmer's surplus, though I have never tried this myself.

- Think beyond fresh - While fresh fruit is the best, and I almost always have it in the house, we also eat other forms of fruit.  Sometimes I can get great coupon deals on canned fruit; I try to keep it healthy by only buying the ones packed in fruit juice.  I also love dried fruit, and while it can be expensive as well, there are also the occasional coupon or sale deals.  For instance, when I found orange-flavored "Craisins" on clearance for 50% off in Wegmans a couple of months ago I think I bought about eight bags!  Another type of fruit to look into is frozen.  I recently discovered that Wegmans sells frozen blackberries for just $2.49 for a pound.  I don't think I've ever seen fresh blackberries for anywhere near that good a price!  Another advantage of packaged types of fruit is that they don't spoil, so you can always keep them on hand.

- Learn a few tricks - To make the fruit that we have go a bit farther, I do have a few tricks.  For instance, when buying fruit, I try to look for the smallest individual pieces.  That way, I get more apples, for instance, per pound.  (I think I read this trick in The Tightwad Gazette.)  At home, I sometimes cut up fruit in a fruit salad and mix a cheaper or less favored fruit in with one that my girls love.  That makes the strawberries last at least one extra day!  I also try to waste nothing; fruit that is deteriorating automatically goes into bread, muffins, or apple or pear sauce.

How do you save on fruit for your your family?

Check out Works for Me Wednesday for more great tips.

Photo by chachu207.


  1. Great advice. We eat a lot of produce in our house. I stock up on bananas whenever there is a sale. I peel them and slice them, place them in a ziploc bag and freeze them for smoothies. It's a trick I learned from The Happy Housewife.

  2. We pick our own fruit all summer long at a local pick your own farm (I think there is a website and you can find places around you). It takes awhile to pick the smaller stuff (i.e. blueberries and raspberries), but the kids really enjoy helping and you pay a considerable amount less than in the store... We pay a 1.10/lb for blueberries, 1.35/lb for strawberries, 2.95/lb for raspberries 1.00/lb for cherries, .69/lb for apples and peaches. I can a lot of my own fruit and I also freeze it for use in the winter.

  3. great ideas! I'd love to try a pick your own farm, I think there's one around us for Strawberries. My boys will easily eat 1 pound a day. Thanks for the tips!

  4. How timely -- my WFMW post addresses just this! I have found mega savings by shopping asian markets instead of traditional grocery stores. Check out my blog entry to see a real comparison:

    BTW - thanks for the Wegman's posts - they are becoming my go to grocery store - not so much for coupon savings, but overall value on generic brand stuff.

  5. Great tips! We use all of those strategies. My other favorite fruit trick is to make odds and ends (especially if they're not so fresh) into a cooked fruit sauce, which is easier than baking. Click my name for recipe/instructions. We often snag the cut-up fruit that's turning brown at the end of a church reception and turn it into fruit sauce.


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