Wednesday, May 18, 2022
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Ask the cook: fresh food on a student’s budget


Question of the week:  How do you incorporate fresh food into a college student’s budget/time?

It’s easier than you’d think! Did you know the freshest fruits and vegetables are also the least expensive?

Supermarkets get large quantities of ripe or nearly ripe produce that must be sold in a short amount of time. Look for brightly colored produce between $1 and $1.25 per pound.

How to tell if it’s ripe? If you can smell it as you walk by, you’ll want to eat it the same day.

The best deals can be found at the farmer’s markets. Try the one located downtown in the City Market (open all weekend) or Brookside (which is open Saturday mornings). Did you buy too much? Frozen fruits and vegetables retain their nutritional value. Buy some zip lock bags and stash your produce in the freezer.

Short on time? It’s easy to add fresh veggies to what you’re already cooking: diced tomatoes adds a great kick to mac and cheese (the antioxidant lycopene is actually higher in canned tomatoes than fresh.)

Toss sliced zucchini or broccoli in your pasta water as you’re making spaghetti. If it’s frozen, give it an extra 5-7 minutes of cooking time. Roast fresh or frozen diced bell peppers and a red onion in your oven for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Add it to your taco meat for spectacular fajitas. A little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper is all you need to roast any vegetable to caramelized perfection.

As for fruits, it’s the snack that will give you energy and keep you feeling full. Apples, pears and peaches are in season and easy to carry with you to class. No prep required! Stash some frozen berries in your freezer and microwave them with your oatmeal or cereal. You can also blend them with yogurt and ice for a smoothie that’s just as good for breakfast as it is for a midnight snack.

Be creative, explore and find out what you like!

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