You may be worried and stressed about your grocery bill as you try to keep your family eating healthy meals.
Our family has found some simple ways to stretch our dollars when buying fresh, organic vegetables – when every dollar counts.
Included in this post:
- Three Easy Ways to Save Money on Fresh Vegetables
- Recipes to use Veggie Scraps
So Many Vegetables
It’s an interesting time for us for a number of reasons:
- I’m on maternity leave so we are living off one income
- I’ve decided to eat a more plant based diet
- The baby has started eating solids so I’m making tons of baby food
- We are self isolating, and trying to only go to a grocery store once a week
So with ALL that going on we are looking to save some money on our fresh vegetables.
Whether you share some of the reasons as me or not, saving money on fresh vegetables can help your entire grocery bill go down.
3 Simple Ways to Save Money On Fresh Vegetables
I have discovered 3 ways to keep costs down by using as much of the vegetable as possible.
And I’ve leaned on some fellow bloggers to give even more ideas and recipes to help you find ways to save even more.
Tip 1: Regrow your vegetables in water.
I didn’t know this was a thing until I came across it on Pinterest.
Ever since, I’ve become obsessed with regrowing what I can.
How does it save you money?
Regrowing vegetables allows you to keep using the same vegetable without having to buy more for awhile. Its a 2 for 1 deal or even better if you can get them to grow back a few times.
Right now I have leeks, green onion and carrots floating in water on my kitchen table (our eating space is shrinking by the day, but it’s so fun to watch).
Our preschooler has named them all and talks to them to encourage them to grow.
Here are the vegetables you can grow back in water:
Green onion – leave about an inch above the roots and place the roots in water.
Celery – submerge the base in about an inch of water and change the water often.
Leek – leave about two inches of the stalk and place the roots in water
Carrots – only the tops will regrow, but you can add carrot tops to salads! You need carrots with tops to start. Place the orange carrot part (about 1/2″) in water and keep the tops out of the water.
Lettuce – Romaine works best, and you won’t get enough to fulfill your lettuce needs, but you can supplement the new lettuce into a salad or use on a sandwich to stretch your budget and splurge on organic.
Leave about an inch of leaves and place the stem into about 1/2 of water.
Other Tips before you start:
Replace the water once a week (or more if you notice clouding)
Check and make sure your vegetables aren’t going slimy.
Keep any roots submerged, but don’t over fill with water
You can also regrow vegetables in soil (it’s not the right season for us here). I haven’t done it, so can’t offer much help here.
Tip 2. Use As Much Of The Vegetable As Possible
We have a “green bin” where our food scraps go and the city takes it away to make compost.
I feel like this has made me lazy when it comes to trying to utilize the whole vegetable because the scraps are going to a “good place”.
These days I’ve been researching and experimenting with how to use up the scraps more.
It saves money by being able to use a single vegetable into multiple meals.
- Make broccoli slaw out of the stalks.
Broccoli stalks have always gone in the green bin, until I discovered making broccoli slaw.
I did this recently when I made fish tacos. The recipe called for coleslaw, which I didn’t have so I grabbed the broccoli destined for another meal and cut off the stalks.
Martha Stewart taught me how here.
Basically, you can peel the hard “skin” of the stalk with a standard vegetable peeler and then use a mandolin (or just thinly slice) and that’s it.
Add it to salads or use it in place of coleslaw.
- Roast Your Broccoli Stalks
Shelly from Two Healthy Kitchens has a great post on roasting broccoli stalks to use as a side dish.
I took her lead and roasted some up drizzled in olive oil and salt and pepper and added it to a rice bowl. Yum!
This allows you to use the broccoli head for one meal and the stalks for another.
- You can also peel and cut the stalks and roast like above. Again, this allows for cauliflower to star in two meals instead of just one.
- You know when you cut up your cauliflower and you end up with a cutting board of little pieces that usually get tossed?
Now I boil them up with other fruits and veggies to go into baby food or add them to my next pasta sauce.
If you have kids and they are picky eaters, pureeing cauliflower and adding it to pizza sauce or mac and cheese sauce is a “sneaky” way to add some nutrition.
Poor potato peels. SO underutilized!
Sophie from Vegan on Board has a great recipe to make Spicy Potato Peel Chips
And below is one of the most interesting vegetable scrap recipes shared with me.
Roast Dinner Waste Cake (Maple Cinnamon Cake With Carrot, Parsnip And Potato Peelings)
I had never heard of putting vegetable peelings into a cake, but Kate at Veggie Desserts developed an awesome recipe to use them all up after a roast dinner.
She also let me know I could make it plant-based by subbing the greek yogurt for coconut yogurt.
Gale from Imaginative Homeschool shared a GREAT tip with me that I will forever use.
“Cut up the scraps of onions, peppers, olives, and other veggies that taste good on a pizza and toss in a freezer baggie and freeze for pizza toppings later (I use them on plain cheese pizza, which allows me to customize the pizza to what everyone in the family likes).”
I will never put the end of an onion back in my fridge (never to be seen again until it’s too late) – into my pizza topping bag it goes!
Roast the seeds! You may not get a ton, but if your recipe calls for butternut or acorn squash you can roast the seeds just like pumpkin seeds.
Wash the “guts”. Pat dry. Drizzle oil and a little salt. Then into the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes.
Enjoy on their own or in a salad.
Tracy from The Things We’ll Make has a whole post on what you can do with celery, including how to make celery salt and use up those celery leaves.
I used celery leaves in my broccoli slaw for dinner tonight! Thanks Tracy!
Tip 3: Make Vegetable Stock
Similar to the pizza topping tip, if you freeze up scraps from carrots (peels and tops), onions, greens on their last legs and celery, you can eventually make some homemade vegetable stock/broth.
This allows you to save buying stock AND you can control the salt.
Here are three ways to make stock:
1. If you have an Instant Pot you can make vegetable stock in 45 minutes.
Diana from Little Sunny Kitchen has the How-to here.
3. Or just get out a big pot and make one on the stove.
Karen from Kitchen Treaty will show you how to make vegetable broth frozen cubes here.
Freezing the broth concentrate ensures you don’t end up wasting any of that precious broth!
(Thank you ladies for sharing your awesome tips!)
Conclusion 3 Easy Ways To Save Money on Fresh Vegetables:
No matter if you want to help the environment by using up as much food as possible or you are looking to save money, the above methods should help stretch those dollars on fresh vegetables.