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Ways for the Budget Savvy Cook to Save Money in August

While produce isn’t as cheap as it was just a few years ago, summer is still a great time to cut some dollars from your food budget.

Farmer’s Markets
I have to admit that I haven’t visited the farmer’s market this year. When I do I usually buy in bulk, that way we can eat half now, and the other half, I’ll store in the freezer for fall and winter meals. A couple of years ago I invested in a food dehydrator and every summer I dry fruits like strawberries and cherries. I then store them in bags using my food saver machine and eat them as is or add them to oatmeal in the winter. Dried fruits make the perfect in between meal snack and ideal additions for lunchboxes once school’s back.
You can find farmer’s markets in your area by checking this site www.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets

Plan Ahead for Next Year
Next summer we might see even higher food prices so it makes sense to plan ahead. August is always a great time to think about joining a Community Supported Agriculture scheme. And it’s not too early to sign up for next year. You pay a certain amount of money to a farm and throughout the season you get a share of their produce. Many farms in these programs grow organic foods, so it’s another way to eat pesticide free fruits and veggies at lower prices. Visit this site for more information www.localharvest.org

Get Some Exercise While You Save Money
As a city girl, one of my favorite summer activities has always been heading out into the countryside and visiting a ‘pick your own fruit; farm. And when I was a child I just thought that it was so much fun to take a basket and pick strawberries and raspberries straight from the bushes. It’s low cost too, you get some exercise, along with some as fresh as you can get produce. www.pickyourown.org

Jams
Another memory of summer is watching my friend’s mom make homemade jam. I think she made jam with just about every fruit out there. And to this day, she still remembers me watching with fascination as she put the jam into jars. While I haven’t made jam for a couple of years now, it’s definitely on my list of things to do this August.
www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can7_jam_jelly.html

Brush up on your Canning Skills
And another way to save money and preserve the bounty is to bottle fruits and vegetables. If it’s been a while since you’ve done any canning or you’re a novice, check out this site to learn the basics http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/5338.html

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