Sunday, February 21, 2016

Frugal Winter Vegetables

Right now, in the middle of winter when it's cold and snowy for most of us, favorite fresh vegetables are at a premium. Lettuce, peppers, tomatoes and the like can only be grown in fields for a few months; the rest of the time they are brought in from other countries or grown in hothouses. Either way, the price is far higher than it is in the summer when such produce is abundant.

But you like fresh vegetables? So do I and I admit to buying lettuce and an occasional tomato or pepper, but I don't eat nearly as many in the winter as in the summer.

To fill in the gaps, winter time provides vegetables that keep well, like carrots and cabbage. Take advantage of that and serve them often. Carrot sticks and cole slaw are great substitutes for pricey salads.

Other vegetables that are cheap in the winter:

  • Potatoes
  • Turnips
  • Parsnips
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Kale
  • Brussels Sprouts

Some of these are cheap because they can be grown in cool conditions in southern winter areas but the root crops are usually not "fresh" but keep well in good conditions.

People used to use cellars of various kinds (aka "root" cellars) to keep roots and tubers that matured in late summer or autumn. It's still done now, except that the root cellar tends to be quite a bit larger and is above ground. Temperatures and humidity are controlled with modern technology to provide the best environment for keeping them.

Don't forget about the fruits! Citrus fruit and apples are cheapest now and are of great quality. As the year progresses, quality declines and prices rise, so pay attention and quit eating them when that happens.

Eating seasonally can make a real difference in your food bill.

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