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How to Take Advantage of Clearance Produce
Posted By Erin O On June 8, 2012 @ 3:00 am In Frugality,In the kitchen | Comments Disabled
Written by Erin Odom , Contributing Writer
Since this season is all about incorporating more veggies into our diets  and eating from our pantries and freezers , I thought it would be a prime time to share one of my favorite frugal grocery shopping tips: how to take advantage of clearance produce.
You can stretch your weekly produce allowance a lot further if you check out the marked-down, overripe fruits and veggies!
I actually map out my grocery trips to stop at the clearance shelves and bins first. Most stores have these, and if you're not sure if yours does, don't be afraid to ask the store manager what they do with the overripe produce that isn't at its prime but is not bad either. By taking advantage of these deals, you can shave up to 50-75% off your produce budget!
However, there are limits to what you can do with clearance produce. Keep these important tips in mind:
I've made the mistake far, far too many times of buying too much clearance produce. While 5 pounds of mushrooms for $2.00 may sound great at the time, if they all go bad before you can use them, then it's $2 wasted.
While I scour the clearance produce shelves, I try to form a mental plan of what I will do with the items. Some clearance produce items are eaten fine as is, but many times they make the mark-down racks because they may have a bruise or be extra soft, etc. Can I turn the bruised apples into applesauce? Can I cook these soft tomatoes into a yummy pasta sauce?  Can I freeze the browned bananas to use later in smoothies?  I find that without this plan, my "great buys" may buy themselves time rotting in my fridge only to be tossed in the compost or trash can.
In her Plan It, Don't Panic meal planning eBook  (which is 25% off right now!), Stephanie stresses the benefits of making a flexible meal plan. This is key when taking advantage of clearance produce.
If you've planned on baking chicken tenders  with a green bean casserole  that night but spy a big bag of lettuce for 50% off, can the green bean plans and serve grilled chicken salads instead! Move your night's original meal onto the next night.
Believe it or not, there are actually a few produce items that will keep long past the point where they make it to the clearance shelves. Of course, the sooner you eat these items, the more nutritional value you will consume. It's important to know which items will last longer than others--which foods can be stored in the fridge, frozen or used immediately, or used up or lost altogether.
Don't be scared to let these sit in the fridge a few days if you don't already have a plan for them:
You should either eat or freeze these items the same day you purchase them.
There are a few items that you really cannot freeze--and will not last in the fridge long either:
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URL to article: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2012/06/how-to-take-advantage-of-clearance-produce.html
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/overripe-bananas.jpg
 Erin Odom: http://www.thehumbledhomemaker.com/2011/03/confessions-of-cloth-diaper-convert.html
 incorporating more veggies into our diets: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/tag/vegging-out
 eating from our pantries and freezers: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2012/05/lets-save-some-money-the-eat-from-the-freezer-and-pantry-challenge.html
 Image: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/3434128324_ddea1cd297.jpg
 Wonderlane: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wonderlane/
 Can I turn the bruised apples into applesauce? : http://www.thehumbledhomemaker.com/2011/09/reminiscent-recipes-crockpot-applesauce.html
 Can I cook these soft tomatoes into a yummy pasta sauce?: http://www.thehumbledhomemaker.com/2011/09/homemade-homemaking-garlic-basil.html
 Can I freeze the browned bananas to use later in smoothies?: http://www.thehumbledhomemaker.com/2012/05/spring-into-smoothiesall-summer-long.html
 Image: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/6274173160_ed4ca90200.jpg
 amberdegrace: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ink_mama/
 Plan It, Don't Panic meal planning eBook: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/my-books/plan-it-dont-panic-a-complete-meal-planning-resource
 chicken tenders: http://www.thehumbledhomemaker.com/2011/10/almost-fried-chicken-tenders-and-plan.html
 green bean casserole: http://www.thehumbledhomemaker.com/2011/11/natural-holiday-cheesy-green-bean.html
 salads : http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2012/05/how-to-make-an-amazing-green-salad.html
 apples: http://quickeasycheaphealthy.com/2011/11/preserving-the-bounty-or-what-to-do-with-half-a-bushel-of-seconds-apples/
 applecado smoothie: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2012/05/applecado-smoothie.html
 apple crisp: http://www.thehumbledhomemaker.com/2012/02/gluten-free-apple-crisp-smart-sweets.html
 soup: http://www.thehumbledhomemaker.com/2012/02/sizzlin-soups-series-creamy-chicken-and.html
 Image: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/3546376045_ae30c360f7.jpg
 Calvert Cafe & Catering: http://www.flickr.com/photos/calvertcaters/
 puree and freeze: http://www.thehumbledhomemaker.com/2012/03/6-ways-to-use-up-baby-food-purees-first.html
 You can feed the thawed purees to your baby: http://www.thehumbledhomemaker.com/2011/11/homemade-baby-food-guest-post.html
 you can toss the frozen fruit cubes into a smoothie: http://www.thehumbledhomemaker.com/2011/11/blueberry-banana-green-tea-smoothie.html
 making fruit leather: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2008/03/i-love-my-dehyd.html
 desserts: http://www.thehumbledhomemaker.com/2011/06/reminiscent-recipes-strawberry-crisp.html
 jellies/jams: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2011/08/preserving-the-harvest-sweet-fruit-chutney.html
 bananas: http://quickeasycheaphealthy.com/2009/07/5-things-to-do-with-nasty-bananas-if-you-dare/
 freeze: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2010/07/go-bananas-preserving.html
 specific greens dish: http://www.thehumbledhomemaker.com/2011/10/pasta-with-spinach-and-mushrooms-and.html
 kale chips: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2011/10/how-to-make-delicious-kale-chips.html
 green smoothie: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2010/07/making-healthy-smoothies-with-your-fresh-summer-greens-at-simple-organic.html
 but it can be done: http://www.avocadocentral.com/how-to/how-to-store-how-to-ripen-avocados
 toss them into a smoothie: http://quickeasycheaphealthy.com/2012/03/girl-eat-your-breakfast/
 Roberto Verz: http://www.flickr.com/photos/verzo/
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