Many people struggle when deciding whether or not to pay the higher prices for organic fruits and vegetables. This struggle is amplified when such foods go bad quickly before they've had a chance to be eaten. This is not only frustrating but also hard on the pocketbook.
Eating organic produce reduces exposure to the harmful chemicals and pesticides used heavily in commercial agricultural practices, which have been linked to serious health issues. Organic labels indicate farming practices are socially responsible, biodiversity friendly, and produce is grown without synthetic pesticides and herbicides, or genetic modification. Eating organic is overall healthier for you and healthier for the planet.
Below is a list of things one can do to help make fresh organic produce more affordable over time by making the food last longer and reducing food waste.
1. Prioritize your shopping list by researching which fruits and vegetables contain the highest levels of pesticides and which ones contain the least to help decide which foods are most important to buy organically grown.
2. Meal plan to help decide how much produce you need and when you plan to use it. Buy varying levels of ripened fruits to help prevent foods from going bad before you are ready to eat them.
3. Blend up softening, bruised, and less palatable fruits into smoothies.
4. Blend and freeze those softening fruits into frozen treats for the children (or yourself). Sweeten with local raw honey and add a little milk or kefir for a creamy texture if desired.
5. Dehydrated foods can last for months, even years, if stored appropriately. Buying bulk in season can save money over time, and dehydrating can make it last. Dehydrated fruits can be used for camping, hiking, or backpacking trips. Dehydrated foods can be frozen or stored in the cupboard and then re-hydrated later for use in recipes as needed.
6. Freezing whole fruits is another way to save softening, less palatable fruits or when buying bulk in season. Frozen fruits can last for several months and later be used in smoothies and many other recipes.
7. Home preserve or can organic produce bought in bulk.
8. Compost scraps and spoiled produce to turn into rich organic fertilizer for your home garden, in which you can grow your very own fresh organic produce for much less cost.
9. Grow organically what you eat most. Depending on the size of your gardening space, prioritize what you plant by what you normally like to eat and what you can grow where you live. This will reduce cost and you can propagate and save seeds for later use. You can freeze, dehydrate, and preserve your organic home garden bounty as well!
It may take some time to get into the habit of implementing these steps, but over time the money saved (and the bountiful home garden) may be enough motivation to keep it up! Good Luck!