Have you ever thought about how much the veg you buy costs per portion? I hadn’t until recently, but when you start to be aware of it, there is a staggering variation between different varieties.
If you think back to the veg that your grandparents used to serve, you probably think of things like cabbage and carrots. These are native to this country, easy to grow and therefore cheap. Much of the veg available now is imported, and when you look at the cost per portion it is significantly more expensive.
You could save a lot of money just by thinking about the veg you’re buying and how many portions or meals you will get out of it.
Cabbage is often overlooked these days but full of goodness and only 10p a portion.
Cauliflower surprised me when I looked at it. On the assumption that you can get around 6 portions out of a cauliflower, that’s around 17p per portion.
Green beans used to be a regular weekly purchase for us, but are actually quite expensive compared to other veg available at around 20-30p per portion.
I think there is often an assumption that frozen veg is inferior to fresh. But often this is not the case, in fact sometimes it is the opposite. Frozen veg is frozen so quickly after it is picked that often far more goodness and vitamins remain intact than in the fresh equivalent.
Everyone should always have a bag of frozen peas in stock, and frozen sweetcorn and spinach are also great to have in as well as good value.
If you often find you end up throwing away fresh vegetables because they’ve gone off before you get the chance to eat them, why not buy enough fresh for 4-5 days of the week, and plan to use frozen veg the other days. You’ll probably find that your fresh veg lasts for more meals than you expected, and this way you won’t end up wasting food and money.
Best before dates
Please ignore any best before or display until dates on fruit and veg. They are there to help the shop make sure they only stock fresh items, but most veg will be fine for days and even weeks after this date. Don’t throw it away just because it’s gone past the date – if it still looks ok then it is.
Loose vs pre-packed
Loose veg is often, although not always, cheaper than pre-packed. Make sure you check the price per kg. And even if something that comes in a pack seems really good value, ask yourself if you are likely to use the whole pack, or whether you really only want to buy one or two, in which case you are better to buy loose.
I realise you might not want to pick your veg purely on price, especially if you’re conscious of the nutritional content. But next time you’re shopping just work out a rough cost per portion in your head and you might find yourself changing your shopping (& eating) habits. I am confident that you can still buy a wide variety of veg, and manage to eat the suggested rainbow of colours, whilst still keeping the costs down.