A well-stocked food storage is generally filled with foods high in protein. Obviously, protein is very important to keeping one healthy and strong, but what about fruits and vegetables? Kids love to snack on some tasty fruit and it is good for them. Some kids like the sugary chocolate snacks and others like the naturally sweetened goodness of a healthy fruit. Growing your own fruit is ideal, but not always an option.
If your kids are fruit eaters and you can’t grow your own, you have probably noticed how expensive produce has become. And it isn’t like you are getting large quantities for all that money you put out. In our house, the expensive bag of grapes is gone in a day.
Yes, fresh fruit can be expensive, but there are a few tricks to avoiding the high costs without depriving your family.
Storing Fruits and Vegetables
Canning is probably the most desirable way to store fruits and veggies. It preserves the most nutrients and flavor and is relatively inexpensive. Often times, grocery stores will have sale prices or even have case sales. It is fairly common to see canned fruits for as low as .50 a can. This is the time to stock up. Ideally, you want fruits that are canned in juice or with a very low sugar syrup. If you are able, can your own fruits and vegetables at home. It is fairly simple and very rewarding. Canning things like corn, peas, all kind of greens and even pinto beans will keep your family eating well.
Dried food is another option. Canned is better as far as maintaining nutritional value and cost wise. There are plenty of dried food options at your grocery store and often times they are sold in bulk, which is usually much cheaper. It is imperative you check for one ingredient, sulfur dioxide. It is a preservative used in dried foods, but it can trigger an allergic reaction, especially for those with asthma. You can keep dried foods in your food storage for up to two years, but preferably one year. As always, never, ever eat anything that doesn’t look or smell right.
Switch up the Canned Foods
Canned fruit does not necessarily need to remain in its natural form. Applesauce is a great way to switch things up and is fairly inexpensive. If you have an orchard or live near one, you can make your own. You can usually buy ½ bushels from an orchard for about a fifth of the price you would pay at the grocery store. Call early in the season, about June, and ask about pricing.
With all of those apples you are given a variety of options. Apple butter and applesauce are just the beginning. You could use a dehydrator, or your oven at about 250 degrees, to make your own fruit leathers or apple chips. Fruit leathers are not limited to apples. You could do this with just about any fruit.
You can pick up dehydrated or freeze dried fruits and vegetables at the store, but be prepared to pay a lot more. Your best bet is to buy when they are on sale.
You can literally keep just about any fruit or vegetable in your food storage. The following are just some of the items you can store.
- Baked beans, pinto beans
- Yams, potatoes
- Berries-blueberries, strawberries