I am seeking to simplify my life, de-stress and live on less. But what is simple and how do you accomplish it? Please join me as I explore ways to save money, be frugal and have fun. I will tell you what I discover that works...and what doesn't work. I love comments and tips and encouragement. Don't be bashful. Join me on my money-saving adventures around beautiful Topeka, Kansas.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
You Should Shop at Aldi's
If you don't already shop at Aldi's, you should. I especially like their fruit because it is usually ripe and ready to use. Aldi's almost always has the lowest prices in Topeka on fruit. For example, last week I purchased a pound of blueberries for $1.29, a pound of cherries for $1.29 and a pineapple for $1.29.
Cherries are "on sale" this week for $2.49 a pound at Dillon's. Aldi's usual price is about half Dillon's sale price.
Great Prices on Fruit
Fruit is normally cheapest when it is in season. I am trying to purchase fruit now to use this winter. So what is one of the best ways to preserve fresh fruit? I like to freeze it. A lot of people do not know how to freeze properly. First, wash the fruit really well.
I once was visiting Mexico and watched several men pee all over the field they were picking. After all, what would you expect them to do? They were outside with no near bathrooms that I could see. I washed my fruit before this display but ever since, I have washed it exceptionally well. You really should wash fruit before cutting it up or your knife will simply transfer the dirt and germs from the outside of the fruit to the inside. I got very sick once eating watermelon and I suspect it had not been washed properly before it was cut.
First Wash the Fruit
Next, remove the excess water from the fruit. I like to use my salad spinner to spin off the water. Whatever you do, DO NOT remove the lid of your salad spinner to take a picture of spinning blueberries. Removing the lid will result in a flinging of fruit all over your kitchen. If you don't have a salad spinner, just lay them out to dry. They will get just as dry and be less dizzy.
Remove Excess Water
Then lay the fruit out on a baking sheet, plate or similar flat device. I like to use an old plastic lid that goes to a square baking dish I own. I use it because it fits easily in my freezer. Put the fruit, uncovered into your freezer for an hour or two, until they are completely frozen. They will resemble hard marbles when done.
This is the most important step. A lot of people do not remove moisture before freezing and just end up with food with a lot of ice crystals which is rarely appetizing. Or better yet, a clump of berries frozen solidly together. This method works well for most fruit.
Flash Freeze for a Couple of Hours
Scoop into a plastic freezer bag for storage. I like the zip lock type of bags so I can easily scoop out fruit as I need it. A hand full of frozen blueberries are a delicious treat. They also defrost quickly for use in any dish.
Store for Future Use
This baggie contains 5 pounds of blueberries. I paid $1.29 per pound or $6.45 for all five pounds. In the winter (or really most times of the year), Dillon's and HyVee sell blueberries for around $3.99 for 6-8 ounces (about half a pound). You probably just walk on by, thinking you can't afford healthy fruit. Yes, you can. Buy it now and freeze it. You can thank me in January through your blueberry stained lips.