As a budget foodie, chances are you would never buy a watermelon for Christmas Dinner. Watermelon, a summer seasonal in Abilene, Texas, would be outrageous in price at that time of year. The same holds true for many other foods and you can save big time with just a little planning ahead.
Buying seasonal groceries is just smart. Right now, the price of fruit has dropped. Peaches and strawberries are wonderfully affordable additions to your table. The same goes for many vegetables; Squash, onions, tomatoes, and lettuce are just a few staples that are budget friendly during the summer months. You can jump right in there and enjoy fresh rather than can for a change.
Not only is it cheaper to buy seasonal food and eat it right now, it can save on your meals this winter. A bargain bin full of slightly bruised squash makes for a nice batch of canned squash this winter. Peach butter, plum jam and cucumber pickles are good starters for those new to canning. Check out the USDA’s canning guide at: http://www.foodsaving.com/canning_guide/ “Putting Up” is not hard to do and can save you big money in the long run.
If you have a freezer, take advantage of the fruits and vegetables at the Farmer’s Market. Just cleaning and slicing is usually all the preparation you will need. Place your bargains into freezer quality bags, mark the date, and freeze. Winter will seem a little less drab when you serve up a soup full of last summer’s produce.
At this time of the year, it is easy to serve lots of meal vegetarian style. Stir fried cabbage and onions with peppers and mushrooms go well over a bed of rice. Eggplant grills as pretty as any burger. Vegetable kabobs are a real treat as a main dish or on the side of a steak. Easy and cheap to make, here is one simple recipe:
3 large white onions
2 bell peppers
4 yellow crook squash
4 zucchini squash
8 large white mushrooms
8 roma tomatoes
juice of one lemon
¼ olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Kabob sticks (from the grocery, usually near paper plates)
Peel and quarter onions. Seed peppers and wash. Cut into ½ wide long strips. Wash squash, and cut into 1-inch circles. Scrub mushrooms. Cut tomatoes half. Place all on a baking sheet .
Mix together oil and lemon juice. Pour over vegetables, coating well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Thread veggies onto sticks. Give each stick a variety of your choices. Leave enough room at the bottom of the stick to hold it and don’t make any of them too heavy.
Put aluminum foil on grill, and place your Kabobs onto foil. Let cook about 15 minutes turning often. Keep grill closed between turnings. Don’t let them cook too fast and taste for doneness.
ENJOY! I am Joellen Hodge, your Abilene Budget Meal Examiner.