Tuesday, June 15, 2010

SNAP Challege Update: Week Two

So, after busting this week’s budget (of which Dennis and I are both guilty of), I have decided that no matter what we’ll make a donation. Our budget so closely resembles the one stated by the challenge that the donation most likely would have been under $10. So basically I have decided to resume my normal budget and make a more substantial donation (as in, more than $8.26).

Last week I talked about budgets. So this week I will talk about seasonal menus. I am a firm believer that people really don’t understand that a big reason why it’s expensive to eat fresh vegetables is because they are buying vegetables that aren’t in season. Strawberries in Winter? I don’t even want to know what you pay for those tasteless things.

It takes a lot of work to find good recipes. A lot of the seasonal cookbooks I have found are created by these chef-types who have these ultra lush gardens in California where everything grows (endives don’t come in my box, okay!?). If I read the word micro-green one more time, I will scream. Where are the real recipes? They’re there, you just have to dig. I really recommend magazines, as they are really great about including recipes that are in season now. Some magazines are more user/family-friendly than others. You can go to your local library, kick back, and read away.

If you were to come over to my house right now, you’d see stacks and stacks of cookbooks from the library. I have a very weird system worked out. When looking for recipes, I only look for recipes that are in season. Most of the time, I am looking for certain ingredients. Certainly I take note of recipes that sound good for other seasons, but I don’t write them down (unless they just sound too good to be true). This is so I don’t end up like my mother with folders of recipes never tried. However, when a new season rolls around I check out the cookbook again and look all over again. Eventually, I will have a nice base of recipes that I can go to season after season. My boyfriend still talks about my turnip, potato, garlic, and apple mash. But we will not enjoy this tasty treat again until late Fall. Until then, we’ll just be stuffing ourselves silly with tomatoes, eggplant, and squash.

Eating seasonally really will cut the amount you spend on produce, thus making it more affordable for those on a tight budget. Some produce is always cheap (onions, potatoes, celery, bananas), but you should compare the price of Asparagus in November versus the price in May. A dollar here and there does make a difference when on a small budget.

I have been participating in the June Food Stamp Challenge issued by Katy at The Non-Consumer Advocate. To see more about this challenge, visit her blog where she updates daily on her progress.

1 comment:

  1. Your turnip, potato, garlic, and apple mash sounds really good! I hope our turnips do better this year; I'd like to try that!

    I wrote a month's worth of menus for each season, using seasonal items from my garden (and everything else from my pantry). We live in a warm climate, so we can grow year-round, but if you don't, check out the book Four-Season Harvest for ideas on growing year-round (the author lives in Maine and harvests food all year!)

    I don't have a big garden; I have just under a quarter acre lot (which is a huge lot for where I live). In my backyard, I have 33 fruit trees. Today I harvested mission figs, apricots, green plums, blackberies, tomatoes, and oregano. I plan my garden so that I always have something fresh.

    Seasonal produce is a big difference in savings!