Wednesday, January 23, 2013
What's Cooking? - Part 2
"Don't Be Afraid to Ask"
(first published in 2000)
Would you like some more help to save money on your food budget? I have a non-traditional idea I would like you to try. For this idea, you have to be a little bold. You may even have to step out of your comfort zone a little bit. I am sure, though, that you will be rewarded for the extra effort. Our lesson for today is: Don't Be Afraid to Ask . . .
. . . Your Friends. Two years ago we were visiting friends for the weekend when we casually mentioned that we had read a newspaper article about an abundance of apples that were rotting on the trees. We wondered how to go about finding those orchards. Our friend made a quick phone call and found that we could go pick all the apples we wanted for 5 cents per pound. We took the back seat out of our van and headed to the orchard. A few hours later we returned with over 450 pounds of apples for less than $25.00. We then realized, of course, that we could not return the back seat to its proper place and had to leave it in our friend's garage for six months until we went for another visit. Luckily we still had room for the kids and didn't have to leave any of them behind.
. . . the Farmer. For several years I noticed a home in our neighborhood that sold painted pumpkins for Halloween. Since we chose not to celebrate that holiday, I didn't pay much attention to the small seasonal business. However, we do love to make fresh pumpkin pies and desserts. So a few years ago, I decided to stop in and see if they had any unpainted pumpkins for sale. Yes, they had plenty of pumpkins left unpainted, and these happened to be the small sugar pumpkins, which are by far the best for baking. I explained that we wouldn't be needing any pumpkins for Halloween, but wondered what they do with the pumpkins after the holiday. The farmer was a little surprised, and noncommittal on a price, but I told him I would stop by the following week. On November 1st, I brought home 35 pumpkins for $10.00. I wonder what that comes out to when you calculate the price per pound?
. . . the Grocer. As we all know, produce doesn't last forever. Therefore, the produce manager wants to quickly sell any items that are close to becoming too ripe. I'm sure you have all seen bananas with red tape wrapped around each bundle to signify an extra special price. A few months ago my husband and I were shopping at a restaurant supply store when we saw five boxes of overripe bananas advertised for 14 cents per pound. I nonchalantly said, "I bet they'd give us a good buy if we take all of the boxes." I really had no idea how many pounds we were looking at or exactly what kind of "good buy" I was looking for, but we loaded them onto the cart and headed to the check-out counter. When we asked if they wanted to give us a good buy, the clerk looked at the boxes and said, "How about $5.00?" We returned home to discover we had just purchased over 100 pounds of bananas . . . another 5 center per pound deal.
Okay. Okay. You may be wondering what exactly I do with 450 pounds of apples, 35 pumpkins, and 100 pounds of bananas. The apples and pumpkins will last in our garage for a month or two, so the processing doesn't have to take place immediately. So, during those two months, we eat a lot of desserts made with the fresh apples and pumpkins. Then we make and freeze applesauce, apple butter, pumpkin butter, apple-pumpkin butter, etc.
With the bananas, I cut them into 1/2-inch slices, freeze on cookie sheets, put frozen into ziplock baggies, and use almost daily for our fruit smoothies. We also dehydrate our bananas and use our mashed apples as a base for a variety of flavored fruit leathers (also made with the dehydrator).
Are you seeing how easy it is to be a little bold and save a lot of money? What do you have to lose? All they can say is, "No."
Last year we phoned another apple farmer and got 400 pounds absolutely free. I went back to the pumpkin farmer, and his wife gave me 50 pumpkins for $7.00. And my husband came home today with another 35 pounds of bananas for $2.50, from the Restaurant Supply Store.
As a homeschooling mom you have probably challenged your children sometimes to be bold, take risks, and try something new. So take your own advice. See what fun bargains you can find today.
Originally Published in
T.E.A.C.H. : To Encourage And Challenge Homeschoolers
in the Winter 2000 Edition
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