What do you think? I’ve heard some people say, yes, we should buy fruits and veggies in bulk and in season, and I’ve heard others say, no. Over the last couple of years I’ve gotten into the habit of buying both fruits and vegetables in bulk for us. The main reason for this, of course, is to help us save on our monthly grocery bill.
Fruits and veggies are most certainly the cheapest when they’re in season. If the harvest is bountiful for many farmers, the abundance of produce tends to bring the price down. And if there is an abundance of produce, retailers will want to sell it as quickly as possible, to avoid waste and maximise profit. So why not take advantage of that, and save a bit on your monthly grocery bill?
We certainly do. As an added benefit, buying produce in season also means that you are getting the produce at its ripest and freshest. The fruits and vegetables would have ripened in the sun, at their own pace and time, and will taste their best as well as hold the most nutritional value.
Bananas, butternut, gem squash, potatoes, onions, carrots, lettuce, pumpkin and sweet potato are available in season all year round in this part of the world. For all other fruits and veggies here is quick guide to what’s in season in spring, summer, autumn and winter in South Africa.
But I’m sure by now you must be wondering: if I buy fresh produce in bulk when in season, does any of it, or most of it, go to waste? Not at all. Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while now will know that I hate waste, especially when it comes to food. So on a really busy grocery shopping day, I end up getting even busier in the kitchen when I get home.
I wash, peel, chop and dice. I cook. I freeze. I preserve. My kitchen is absolutely chaotic on those days, and I’m at it for hours. It’s not easy to find the time to do this over the weekend, which I have to as I work full-time, but somehow we make it happen in this household.
Needless to say, I’m absolutely knackered afterwards but the savings and the benefits are great. We love our home-cooked meals and feel that we get the most nutritional benefits when we prepare meals from scratch. It also helps that both my husband and I love to cook, so we help each other out as much as we can on our busy grocery shop days.
If you’re not used to buying fresh produce in bulk, but you’re considering giving it a go, make sure that you’re prepared to process and to store rather large amounts of produce.
- Do I have enough freezer space for washed, sliced and diced vegetables as well as ready-made meals?
- Am I really saving money, that is, am I buying the produce at the right price?
- Am I sure I’m going to have enough time today/tomorrow/the next day to prepare, cook and preserve all the produce?
- And if I’m storing a portion of the produce in the fridge, am I going to be storing it correctly?
- And lastly, are we really going to consume all the produce we’ve bought?
If you’ve answered yes to all, or most of those questions, then you’re certainly well-prepared and ready to start processing large amounts of produce. If you are planning on cooking meals in bulk, and freezing them, be prepared for additional benefits – you’re going to have a whole lot of ready-made meals when you come home tired from a day’s work, and will only have to defrost and reheat, with minimum fuss, before your supper is served.
Over the years, I’ve tried buying fruits and veggies in smaller packets, and I’ve experimented buying both weekly and every two weeks. Either way, I didn’t like the idea of wasting more money on petrol by driving to the shops more often, which also impacted on my free time in the evenings. I also had to spend more time on weeknights processing the piecemeal veggies I’d bought. I also spent more money overall when buying smaller packets of produce at a time.
Buying fruits and veggies in bulk and in season most definitely keeps our food budget down. What are your thoughts on this? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
If you’ve enjoyed this blog post, please share it with others!
You can also find Frugal in SA