Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Rising food prices and shopping smart (at Florida Market)

The media, in the US and globally, is full of stories about fast rising prices for food. See "What do rising food prices mean" from the USAID blog. This is attributed to a number of things including weather-related losses, rising oil prices (which also affect the cost of fertilizers), and competition between crops grown for ethanol production rather than food.

One way to save money is buy products in larger sizes and from less costly providers.

That's as good a reason to buy at Florida Market as any I can think of...

But it's also about thinking about how you cook. For example, I have a bad habit of buying vegetables with my eyes--I buy something I see because it looks good--and then I don't get around to cooking it.

So having some regular recipes where you can cook in part to "use up" items before they go bad (or after they already are going bad) is a great strategy. Plus, it allows you to buy what we might call "seconds" in terms of quality (e.g., some of the items at Mexican Fruit) and make something really good.

- pasta sauce/ragout/primavera -- I just dice a bunch of vegetables (carrots, onions, celery, various kinds of peppers, tomatoes, etc.), throw in some garlic and spices (oregano, thyme, coriander, etc.) and cook it down. I can add sauce if I want, it's great on pasta.

- crock pot vegetable chili recipe from Martha Stewart Living magazine, I think the December issue, again, I add vegetables to this based on what is lying around in my fridge. It's a great recipe in that it uses winter squash. It's on the sweet side.

- smoothies are a great way to use fruit

- sweet breads for bananas, etc.

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