Wow, to be blindsided such as this was an understatement. I, the preacher of the glories of fresh fruits and vegetables just a few months ago, was put on the stand. The sad truth was I had no answer. It just wasn't in the budget.
But, it made me aware. Aware of the importance of healthy eating I set as a precedent just a few short months ago. So, I went on a hunt looking for cheap fresh vegetables locally.
Now you'd think that the local farmer's market would have the best options. With the rising cost of gasoline, this isn't necessarily true. What I found was SWEET bargains at my local discount store. I'm not talking about discount stores that have their own name brands like Aldi. Or, those that buy in bulk like Save a lot. What I found was hidden, not in the mainstream media. It was called 6th Street Wholefood Sales.
It was a little hole in wall donated solely to buying out larger food restaurants and supermarkets for food that was soon to be expired. I was in heaven when I walked through the doors! I grabbed my shopping basket and flew to the refrigerated section of fresh vegetables. I found:
Mushrooms (69 cents a pound)
Spinach (restaurant size 59 cents a bag)
Green Beans (3 lb. bag 99 cents)
Red Onions (69 cents a pound)
Mixed Salad Greens (restaurant size bag at $1.99)
At first I thought, "Oh, no! Too much quantity! I'll just have massive waste!" Then I was inspired! If I cooked it while it was still fresh I could blanch and freeze for future use. I could even stir fry left over salad greens and top them with a little left over chicken breast for a lunch the following day. Yum! Fresh vegetables again!
Mushrooms, peppers, and onions can be cut and frozen immediately. But the other vegetables needed correct blanching times. Another Internet search produced How to Blanch Vegetables. Then preparation was simple:
*Vegetables were already precut, so no need for preparation
*Toss in vegetable according to proper time on How to Blanch Vegetables
*Line on cookies sheet for single layer freezing
*Once frozen toss into Ziploc bags for easy retrieval