Save Some Green: Making The Most Out Of Your Produce Budget

Let’s face it, sometimes it can be difficult to plan a menu that perfectly fits into your budget. Some produce is inarguably more expensive than others, but that doesn’t mean you should only stick with lower cost items. By choosing with caution, tailoring spending habits to your menu, and keeping a few low-cost/high yield options on your menu, you can cook the dishes you want without breaking the bank.

Shop Seasonally

Many fruits and vegetables that are available year round see decent price drops when they’re in season. This is due to lower shipping costs (among other things), as the produce is more likely to be grown stateside. There’s almost no downside to shopping in season. It’s cheaper, tastes better, and allows you to craft seasonal menus that appeal to your back end and your customer’s tastes buds.

Watch The Meat

In some cases, you can swap out portions of meat in dishes for comparably hefty vegetables. For example, cremini and portobello mushrooms typically cost less by weight than beef or chicken. This isn’t to say you need to go full vegetarian, however. Substituting produce can be an easy way to open up your overall budget.

Cooking Root-To-Stem

Items that can be used beyond the fruit are perfect for balancing cost and waste. Cooking with the entirety of a fruit or vegetable is often referred to as “root-to-stem.” By bringing this technique into your kitchen, you can minimize your environmental footprint while crafting unique, high-quality dishes. Look to our root to stem articles on carrots, broccoli, and turnips for some tasty ideas!

Triple Threats

Versatility in fruits and vegetables can be a huge game changer in your budget. Balancing high-yield and low cost is equally important, but produce that achieves all three of these criteria is ideal. Items such as potatoes, cauliflower, and onions are great “secret weapons” that meet these standards.

Double Down

Even if you don’t use the entirety of the item, look to fruits and vegetables that have more than one use. For example, pumpkins offer both seeds and meat, while coconuts contain coconut water and meat. While some of these items can be more expensive, you should be able to save money by getting multiple uses out’ve a singular item.

  • Pro Tip: Pumpkin seeds can be flavored a variety of ways! After roasting your seeds, get creative with your seasonings.