Tips for saving money on fruit from the ThriftyFun community.
Always buy fruit on sale. Not only is it cheaper, but usually it is on sale when it is in season, so it is also the tastiest then.
Here in L.A. we have orange vendors and that's the best place to get nice, juicy, ripe oranges! And we also go to farmer's markets to get the best deals in seasonal fruit - so we can splurge on things like nectarines, peaches and strawberries!
We have an apple tree, a cherry tree, and a peach tree in our yard that we planted about 5 years ago. We don't get great crops every year, but there have been times that we have been overloaded with fruit (buckets of peaches!). I also have strawberries in a strawberry pot that keeps the slugs out and we have a handful every few days. The neighbor kids love to come over and see what fruit we might have in season.
I buy fruit from a fruit stand. Their prices are generally lower than grocery stores anyway, and often, the vendor asks me how much I want to buy it for. Research the lowest sale price of produce in your area so you go armed with knowledge. Also, I buy bananas at Sam's club once a month. I think it is 4 lbs. for a dollar. I also go to a blueberry farm and pick my own blueberries. I live in the south and can do this, but I realize I couldn't when I lived in Wyoming or place where fruit doesn't grow as abundantly.
I buy fruit salad from Costco which is frozen and it's 3KG and it's about $9.00 CND. You get peaches, nectarines, pineapple, melons, strawberries, grapes and other fruit that is cut and peeled and ready to eat. All I do is take a small amount out for a meal and thaw and it's perfect.
Buy from local growers. My husband and I went to pick peaches and apricots yesterday and not only saved money, but had a lot of fun together. You can find local growers at http://www.pickyourown.org.
I watch the mark down bins at my local farmer's market. If fruits are getting too ripe, I peel, cut and stick in freezer for later pies, smoothies etc. You can also freeze bananas if they ripen too soon for use in banana bread, cakes, cookies, and shakes.
You wouldn't believe how many people have fruit trees and don't want the fruit. To them it's just a mess they have to clean up. If you see fruit going to waste, ask if you can pick from the tree. Offer to pick up the spoiling fruit on the ground and put it in their trash can. Get lots of fruit, and then freeze, can or dry the fruit you can't use right away.
We picked cherries last week. The owner helped us with the picking, even climbing up a ladder and into a tree. We brought home about 18 pounds. We ate 2 pounds whole and in smoothies. Then I got up early Thursday morning and pitted the remaining 16 pounds and froze them for later yogurt smoothies, pies and ice cream. At this week's advertised sale price of $3.99 that was worth $72.00 to us. It took a total of 4 hours. That's $18.00 per hour. We have a cherry pitter and two apple corer-peelers, which make the jobs much easier.
A book by the late Bill Kaysing and his wife, Ruth, says they cut pears in half from stem to blossom end and dry the halves in the sun for a few days. They don't peel them - just wash them. They use them all winter long for healthy snacks. We're going to try that this year.
If you go to a buffet to eat, realize the abundance of fresh fruit there and the choices! Fill up all you can on it because they serve out of season fruit a lot of the time, whereas at home you don't always risk that, due to the cost!
Sometimes frozen prepared fruit from the store is just as delicious as if you had done it all yourself. So, if you like a dish of ice cream topped with strawberries, a bag here at times is 79 cents, which isn't at all expensive for 12 oz. or more!
If your neighbor doesn't want to simply GIVE you fruit from her tree, try offering to make a pie or jelly and send her over some, if you pick it and she pitches in on the supplies needed. Maybe if that doesn't work, send her something as "pay back" for her produce. For all your time and effort, you get to eat! My mom used to do that. If her friend either chipped in with the cost of the ingredients, she would send over an appropriate amount of product made with the produce! It can be worked out so everyone is happy!
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