Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Juicing on a Budget

I have to admit that I was pretty excited to try out my new juicer, but when I went to the grocery store, my ADHD kicked in and I bought everything in the produce department that looked good.  Let's face it; fresh fruits and vegetables look good!
I spent over a hundred dollars on fresh fruits and vegetables at a local fresh food store.
My second and third shopping trips to buy "fresh" were expensive too, so I started looking at ways to enjoy all the goodness of fruits and vegetables without spending my entire paycheck!  Here are some ways for you to save some money.  I'm now spending 75% less on fresh fruits and vegetables by following these 5 simple rules.

#1 Way to Save Money:  Grow Your Own

That's right!  The cheapest, by far is to grow your own fruits and vegetables.  I've already planned out my garden for those vegetables that I use most frequently and are most nutritious (because, after all, that's really what it's all about, right?).  I have planted cucumbers, celery, spinach, kale, lettuce, and fennel.  Pretty soon, the peppers and tomatoes will be in the ground!  I can't wait to try fresh heirloom tomatoes in my juicer!  Of course, I have a smattering of herbs to add "flair" to my juices!  I do have some wild black raspberries growing on my property, and my red raspberries and blackberries will take off soon enough.  Yes, I will be growing cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew.  Of course, what I don't grow, I may be able to get from my neighbors.  Check around your neighborhood and see if someone has fruit trees.  They may just let you have some!  Growing your own doesn't mean you need a lot of space either.  Many of these crops can grow in a small raised bed, or in pots in a sunny location.  Just don't forget to water!

#2 Way to Save Money:  Buy In Season

That almost seems too easy, but when you buy in season, you're not paying for the cost to have it flown or trucked in from far away, often another country.  I live in Illinois, so I don't have year round access to "seasonal", so I make do.  Here's a breakdown of some of my favorite seasonal items for juicing:

Spring:  radishes, lettuce, carrots, spinach, peas
Summer: cucumbers, squash, beets, carrots, celery, kale, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, melons, berries, cherries
Fall: melons, berries, apples, pears, plums, plus many of the vegetables above that keep producing
Winter:  Oranges, Citrus (typically from Florida or California), other items flown in

#3 Way to save Money:  Buy on Sale!

Again, it seems almost too easy, but when a store wants to move product, they will put it on sale.  Take advantage of what's on sale, and juice those items first!  Read local flyers and signs in storefront windows.  Supplement your juicing sparingly (if possible) with items not on sale.

#4 Way to Save Money:  Buy Inexpensive Fruits and Vegetables

Okay, I don't mean buy cheap or poor quality, but some fruits and vegetables are rather inexpensive. Of course, seasonality and availability does factor into price as well.  Did you know that watermelon is the least expensive fruit?  Apples and oranges may be your next best bets.  When it comes to vegetables, cucumbers, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage and lettuce round out the top "cheap" vegetables.  (Note:  one of my favorite items for juicing is the red pepper, so I use it sparingly in juicing and buy it when in season and on sale.)  Here's a great link for the least expensive vegetables:

#5 Way to Save Money:  Buy in Bulk

Even though you may not have a big family, you can still buy in bulk and either share your bounty with friends, invite them into a cost sharing program, or freeze extra produce.  Some items will freeze better than others, and you'll have to take into consideration that some fruits (and vegetables) will not juice the same as when they are fresh.  Some items may be better in smoothies if frozen.  Either way, just look to the nutrients and strive for the best.

Happy Juicing!

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