With today’s busy lifestyles and tight budgets, we’ve put together a few tips to help get the most out of your fruits and veggies, speed up preparation time, eliminate waste and stretch your food budget a little further.

Try this Mediterranean Lamb Stew (via Good Food)

Try this Mediterranean Lamb Stew (via Good Food)

1. Batch Cooking: Big batch cooking is a great way to prepare meals in advance. Make soups and stews full of veggies and freeze them in lunch sized containers for those days you need a meal – fast!

2. Broccoli Stems: Did you know broccoli stems are delicious? Just cut off the bottom end and trim the coarser exterior. The stem can be eaten raw, steamed or tossed into your favorite stir fry.

3. Storing Fruits & Veggies Properly: Did you know some fruit and veggies, such as apples, tomatoes and melons are ethylene producers and can affect ethylene sensitive produce, such as carrots, lettuce and broccoli, if stored improperly?

To get the best value from your fruit and vegetable dollars, we’ve put together some suggested storage times, temperatures and special tips here.

4. Try new fruits and veggies: You may find a new family favorite in an unexpected source. Yucca can be peeled, cubed, boiled and frozen for a quick side dish. Simply take out of the freezer, thaw and pan fry with your favorite spice such as paprika.

5. A Great Low-Cost Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup


Six steps to yum!

1. Fill a soup pot with water and two cubes of chicken or vegetable stock.
2. Peel, roughly cut and add to the soup pot one of each of the following: onion, potato, sweet potato, large carrot. Bring to a boil then simmer.
3. Cut a butternut squash in half lengthwise, remove and set the seeds aside. Place the squash on a roasting pan and roast at 3500 F for 45 minutes.
4. Gently scoop the roasted squash into the soup pot. Continue cooking until the veggies are soft.
5. Use a hand blender, puree the soup.
6. Add salt and pepper, curry and nutmeg to taste. Drizzle a little milk into the bowls when serving.

 This soup freezes beautifully and is great served with crusty bread or tea biscuits.

Get even more bang for your buck:  Rinse the seeds you had set aside, add your favorite spice and roast for 5 minutes at 3000 F. Enjoy!

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