Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More Bang for your Produce Buck

What do you, I, and Teresa from Real Housewives New Jersey have in common?

(Besides our impeccable taste and killer abs)...

We're all strapped for cash! Groceries can be expensive, and although we all want to eat healthily, lets be honest: healthy is not quite so fun if you can't be healthy in a pair of brand new, shiny, thigh-high boots.

by Two Lips (YUM...I die.)

How can you afford both? Shop in-season!

Because we've grown up in the age of year-round strawberries and tomatoes, we are no longer trained to cook with in-season foods. However, buying seasonal produce may not only provide superior taste and vitamins, it will also help save you money.

Why are these foods cheaper? Much of the year-round produce is shipped and trucked from thousands of miles away, meaning we have to pay for the food as well as the cost of gas and transportation to get it here. Seasonal food, however, can be grown closer to home, meaning less dollars for us and less pollution for the environment. (I know, I know. As I jump into my car and drive down the block to the gym. I'm working on it.)

Besides the difference in the price tag, seasonal produce just...tastes better. When fruits or vegetables are grown in a hot house, they must be picked before they are ripe. They then either ripen in shipping, or are synthetically ripened using gas. Either way, the final color and flavor are little compared to the "real stuff."

Although no conclusive studies have been done, many think that these "fakely" ripened fruits and veggies lack the vitamins and antioxidants present in the old-fashioned, ground ripened produce.

If you have doubts, conduct your own experiment. Hold a hot house tomato in one hand, and a garden tomato in the other. One is shmushy. One is firm. One is crimson. One is...orange? Keep in mind: the brighter the color of a fruit or veggie, the more antioxidants it contains...I will leave you to your own conclusions.

You deserve the boots, and you deserve the good produce :)

To see what produce is in-season in your area, check out the seasonal ingredient map from the folks at epicurious.

Happy pumpkin'ing! Squashing! Apple'ing! Cabbage'ing! (?)

Peace, Love, and Veggies,

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