Stocking up your pantry (and your freezer) when foods are in season means you can get the benefit of seasonal products all year! And this you won’t have to pay the ridiculous prices of imported foods.
Aside from saving money, you can also feel good about doing your part towards saving the planet. After all, those imported out of season foods have a huge carbon footprint, whereas your locally grown, seasonal produce doesn’t.
Summer is a busy time for those hoarding up food to cover the winter months. What can you expect to get cheaply – or even fresh out of your own garden this Summer?
1. Spices and condiments
Perhaps we eat less spicy foods in the Summer. Whatever the reason, retailers often mark down spices and condiments in July, so watch out for good deals. Most of these items can’t go off, but do check expiry dates to be sure they won’t do so before you use them.
If you have a veggie garden, you probably have more tomatoes than you can eat, and it’s a good thing too. Now’s the time to take care of your tomato and onion relishes to act as a base for pasta toppings and stir fries and make your own tomato paste. Want to try your hand at making sun-dried tomatoes? Slice them and dry them in the oven. You can also look out for some super-cheap tomatoes on retailer’s shelves.
Does your family have a liking for something hot? Since chilies are harvested in Summer, they might not suit your seasonal table right now, but if you’ve got plants in your garden or spot a bargain offer at the supermarket, it’s time to start hoarding for the Winter. Make your own chili sauce, whole chilies pickled with just the seeds and stems removed, or simply dry them and grind them up to make your own spicy super powder .
4. Apricots, peaches, and plums
Now’s the time to start working on your home-made jams and chutneys. Not only do they taste way better than anything you can get in a store, it also works out cheap when these fruits are selling at low prices in season. You can even freeze them in syrup or use 1 teaspoon of ascorbic acid per quart of water and freeze blanched (meaning only 30 seconds in boiling water) apricot and peach slices in the mixture.
Freezing and storing corn is as easy as blanching the kernels, draining them out and popping them in the freezer. You can even make and store your own cream-style corn. Freezing on the cob works, only if you let your cobs stand in hot water and wrap them individually before freezing. However, this does take up freezer space unnecessarily.
Freeze berries by spacing them out so they don’t freeze in one big lump. Then toss them together in freezer bags for a steady supply of berries all winter long. It’s a bit of a process, but when you see the price of frozen berries from the store, you might well decide it’s worth your while.
7. Zucchini, eggplant, and summer squash
You can expect a glut on the market at this time of the year, which means great prices. But how can you keep it for the winter? Easy! Slice it up and boil for 3 minutes, then dunk them in icy water to cool, drain, and start freezing! We’ve also heard that you can grate it, squeeze out some of the juice and freeze as is.
Growing herbs like basil and oregano in your garden it’s easy during summertime but we often forget what nature provides us with. Pack sprigs of herbs out on clean paper, cover with another sheet of paper and grind it up when it’s dry to make your own mixed herbs – or store separately to add to your culinary versatility. How about making your own basil pesto?
9. Cantaloupes and melons
Crazy? No, it isn’t. And your family will thank you when you can serve up ice cold melon balls or slices in front of the fireplace this winter. Just prepare your slices or balls, and then freeze them as you would berries. They’ll keep for up to a year.
Yes. You can freeze cucumbers. Not only are they a healthy, hydrating summer food, but also something you can store for a little winter refreshment. So get them cheap and eat lots of salads this summer – and get some extra to freeze and store. The method is the same as the one you’d use for berries, except that you’d slice your cucumbers first.
Frugal summer rule: buy big when prices are low to save more money after!
Some of our readers have told us that even chocolate is cheaper in Summer. Whatever bargain you spot, stocking up makes sense – provided you have the necessary storage space.
Are there any summer specials you’ll be on the lookout for? Share your secrets!
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