Eating Healthy on a Budget- Freezing

(I am totally stealing this from my former blog because it’s been one crazy week and I haven’t had much time to do anything! Original post here!)

One way we eat healthy on a budget is by shopping the manager’s specials, or clearance items. This allows me to get the things we need at a fraction of the cost. The catch is they expire in the next day or two and need to be used immediately.

When I can get quantities of fresh veggies at a reduced cost, and I know I can preserve them, I jump on the deal. (But only if they still look, smell and feel fresh!)

This past week I found red bell peppers on managers special. This excites me because on a good week, the red/orange/yellow peppers are $1.00 each. (Green ones are cheeper, but not as sweet!) I love adding red/orange/yellow peppers to casseroles, stir frys, eggs…. but they can be cost prohibitive.

Anyway, I knew I could freeze them- that’s how I preserve my extra ones from the garden (I grow all colors- purple is my favorite) At Meijer, the clearance produced are bagged and you aren’t able to sort them. Each bag had 5-6 peppers in it. I feel through the bag and found the firmest ones. You don’t want squishy ones. I got 6 peppers for $1.79. Thats about…. 30 cents a pepper.

red peppers

As you can see, one was wrinkly, I decided to use that in dinner. The other ones were perfect.

These were not organic, so I soaked them in a water/vinegar/salt mix to clean them. (I have a huge bowl and I add about 2 tablespoons vinegar and a tablespoon of salt.) Rinse them really really REALLY well. I scrub them with a vegetable brush. Let them dry completely. I put them in my dish drying rack so they were off the counter and could drain better. I let them dry for a few hours. Then I chopped them up and put one pepper in a (dated!) freezer bag.

I add them to the meat when I cook it so they get nice and tender. Or I caramelize them with onions. Or sometime I just sauté them before adding them to the dish.

One medium red pepper has 32 calories, loads of vitamin A and C, 7 grams of carbs, 1 gram of protein and a trace amount of fat. For loads of flavor without all the extra stuff we don’t need, a sweet red bell pepper is one heck of a nutritional deal!


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