Meeting our `five a day' target can be an expensive business, given that a pear costs more than a bag of crisps nowadays. Here's how to do it on the cheap.
Healthy food isn't always the cheapest thing in the shops, unfortunately for us all. But they are some cheap ways to get your recommended daily dose of five portions of fruit and vegetables.
We've excluded canned and tinned food in light of research that they may actually have a negative effect due to the way they're packaged, eg tinned fruits packed in syrup.
Frozen fruit is often wildly cheaper than the fresh version. For example, you can get a 450g bag of frozen mixed berries for £2.20 at Waitrose – it would cost you double to get the same weight in fresh berries. Defrost them slowly on your worktop and either eat with breakfast, toss in fruit salads, or bake into pies.
Stay in season
Restricting your fruit and vegetable purchases to what’s in (British) season not only keeps costs down, but also ensures that you support your own nation’s economy. It’s obvious really: when a food is in season, it will be in abundance, which will therefore drive the price of it down. From September right through to May, for example, you can buy all sorts of weird and wonderful British apple varieties (there are thousands) for bargain prices at markets and supermarkets.
Take a look at our foods in season pages to see what's available when.
Late night shopping
If you go to the supermarket near closing time, there’s always a ‘bargain bin’ of various foods which need to be sold that day. You’ll often find browning bananas in there (perfect for banana bread), apples and root vegetables, sometimes at less than half price.
The same applies for market stalls, which near the end of the day offer “a pound of strawberries for a pound” and the like. They’re usually open to bartering, too. Don't forget that you can freeze berries.
Grow your own
Probably the most obvious solution. We love growing our own here at Lovefood and have plenty of articles to start you off: how about 10 good things to grow and eat; easy vegetables and herbs for children to grow; how to grow your own curry; or life on an allotment.
We also have a guide to growing your own herbs and salad plants, so that you can enjoy fresh seasoning and side salads with your meals.
There’s a fine line between ‘scrumping’ (stealing fruit from trees) and ‘foraging’ (going from place to place searching for food). Of course, there are plenty of wild apple trees which you’d be more than welcome to shake, but hopping over a garden fence to get at someone’s rosy red Galas seems a bit much.
If you're lucky you might find some wild raspberries or strawberries in the summer, and blackberries are a prime, and generally more plentiful, target for harvesting later in the year. If you pick too many and you can't finish them off (easily done), freeze them in a tupperware box or a tightly wrapped plastic bag and use them to make crumbles later on.
This is a classic Lovefood article
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