Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Food, Glorious Food

I find one of the most satisfying feelings in the world is knowing we have a fridge full of fresh, healthy fruit and vegetables. That can prove to be a challenge out here where fresh anything is hard to come by. Of course, the vegies in our garden rarely make it to the fridge. I prefer to harvest them right before cooking or eating. So I hope the time will come when a fridge full of fresh vegies is less of a satisfaction than a garden full of fresh vegies. But for now I'm very much a novice gardener so I have to settle for the next best thing - being able to actually buy fruit and veg that is reasonably fresh.

While we were away we were near some market gardens and I've found a little shop that seems to hold lovely fresh produce at reasonable prices. So I did quite a big spend up. Even bigger than last time when I spent almost $50 there. This time the total was closer to $60 but I did buy a few "treat" items so that would easily account for the extra $10 spent.

"Treat" items were:

* punnet of strawberries for $1.99
* a whole pineapple - this is the first time I've ever bought a whole fresh pineapple. I hope it is nice - it sure smells nice!
* seedless red grapes (price wasn't cheap but was okay and the kids really love them)

My biggest bargains were:

20kg carrots for $3.80 - I usually pay nearly $2 per kg. These are "juicing" carrots but we often find they taste nicer (sweeter) and I don't mind having the less "nice" looking carrots when they're so much cheaper. Now to find ways to use up 20kg of carrots! LOL. I'm thinking I'll grate a heap and freeze to add to spaghetti bolognese sauce etc.

Bananas for $2.20 per kg. Cheapest I've paid for bananas in years!

Apples - bought 8kg and they ranged from $1.50 for 2kg to $1.90 for 2kg. Here I pay $5-$6 for 2kg usually.

What else did I buy:

* 20kg desire potatoes. The lady at the shop tells me that these last longer than white potatoes
* 2 large sweet potatoes
* whole cauliflower
* 2 large zucchini
* 2 head broccoli
* 1kg bag tomatoes
* half a dozen lebanese cucumbers
* 4 lemons (at DS's request - he eats them like they are!)
* 2 cobs sweetcorn

Think that is all. Anyway, it seemed like quite a lot of food for just under $60. Thankfully we had the camper trailer with us - couldn't have fitted those large bags of carrots and potatoes in any other way!

Now I just need to make sure I use it so that it isn't money wasted.


Lisa said...

L, that's a great tip for the carrots. I've seen the big bags of juicing carrots but figured they may not have been up to scratch tastewise. Cheap apples - our local greengrocer is charging $5.99kg for anything fresh and edible. And there's just nothing as lovely as a sweet fresh pineapple. They give me mouth ulcers but I don't care!!! You've made me wish our crisper was full but alas, it is not and tomorrow I'll search for some bargains like you've got here. I find potatoes the hardest to use up before they send out shoots.

Ali said...

I've always wondered about juice carrots too so thanks for that mention of them. We eat alot of them so I'll give the larger bag of juicing ones a go!!

Infact I'm off to the greengrocers this afternoon after Miss M has her hair cut ~ though last time the apples where as expensive as woolies/coles in the g/grocers :(

lightening said...

Just check that they aren't too pale (they're not so nice) and not too small (as in thin) or you lose too much in the peeling. Broken I can handle as I cut mine up anyway.

I'm gradually getting some of the carrots through the food processor (grated) and into the freezer so I can use them in cooking (what doesn't fit in my fridge).

Erin! said...

MM my kids eat the juicing carrots like they are going out of fashion and go through stages where they will eat 5 or more kilos of carrots in a week, just raw, unpeeled, straight from the fridge. The only real problem with that is that theoretically it takes more energy to chew up and eat a raw carrot than you actually get from the carrot, so for DS who is already skinnier than most ethiopian malnourished children, they are not much of a source of nutrition, but they do keep him occupied between meals when he is constantly wanting to snack instead of concentrating on schoolwork etc, you just shove a carrot in his hand and he will work and gnaw at the same time.

Apples, mmm cheap apples, we love cheap apples for the same reason, the kids go through 10kg a fortnight between the two of them. Our carboot markets get a regular stall from apple farmers from the Darling Downs/Stanthorpe area in south queensland. They bring down at least four varieties of apples each fortnight and charge $2.50kg for them and they are pesticide free, organic, really juicy yet crisp, delicious apples.

Desiree potatoes are yummy and much better for you than white ones unless you are reactive to salicylates as they are high in salicylates.

Bananas are $1.49 a kg here atm (farmer charlies weekly special apparently) but surprisingly, when in Coffs this weekend, the HOME of the BIG BANANA and many banana plantations, the cheapest bananas we saw were $3 a kg.

I agree with the harvesting right before eating or cooking is best, although today DBF harvested 5kg worth of tomatoes, mainly tom thumb, roma and cherry. Some of which have bugs, some with hail damage and some overripe because they were so tiny that they can go from green to dark red and squishy in one days worth of sunshine. So I have this massive bag of tomatoes to sort and deal with and thats after i put 20 or so into the frying pan in tonights dinner. Our lettuces and pakchoy grew so fast and rapidly that we had overabundance and couldnt eat it all fast enough. The last lot from the crop was too bitter as it bolted to seed, so most of that went to the compost bin (where it is still useful breaking down into fantastic mulch to replenish the nutrients in the vegi garden).

Pineapples, mmmm fresh pinapple, yummo! My kids will sit and knock off an entire fresh pineapple when we get them. Pity they take so long to grow, lol you plant them and its like 3 years later that you get one pineapple from the plant and the second year you get a malformed but still edible fruit and the third year you "might" get a fruit, so by then you hopefully have the next plant at its first year stage and you rip out the old one and replant a new one to be ready in time for when these ones are at ripping out stage. However, with all that waiting and work, homegrown fresh sunripened pineapples are the MOST DELICIOUS fruits next to fresh, sunripened and sunwarmed mangoes. I absolutely LOVE summer fruits!

The shop you found sounds great and what you got for $60 even with the treat items, sounds fantastic.

Cheers and Enjoy the pineapple!