Saturday, May 5, 2012

When life hands you bananas, make banana bread!

At one of our local grocery stores they will repackage produce that is slightly damaged or left over for a much reduced price. I always look on that cart to see what I can find. This past week I got 3 pounds of baby portabello mushrooms for $1.50 total, a bunch of red peppers for 75% off and bananas. I bought 13 pounds of bananas (and I didn't even take it all) at 30 cents a pound when normally they are 69 cents a pound. They weren't overripe yet either - just a nice yellow - ready to use.

And just for fun, the mushrooms which I have used in salad, stir-fries and today some spaghetti sauce:

I have used the bananas for chocolate banana bread (6 loaves). Resulting usage and leftovers shown here:

And then I made banana blueberry bread and in the end, I used this many bananas:

And I had this many left over for the early part of the week to use in yogurt smoothies and the last of it in this morning's pancake batter. Not a single banana of the 13 pounds wasted.

The secret of saving money with baking, cooking in general is to think/bake/buy flexibly. I never buy that many bananas at full price. I wait and watch and then I buy a bunch and then freeze the leftovers. Same with tomatoes and those mushrooms, etc. While I don't believe in couponing for the most part (as I'm not a prepackaged kind of gal), it does pay to watch for sales in the produce section and then devise a plan of how to use those items.

This past fall there were a ton of tomatoes being sold at 15 cents a pound. 15 cents!!! I bought them all, blended them whole in the blender and then cooked them down a bit and then froze them. I take them out one container at a time for spaghetti or whatever and it tastes so much better than the canned tomato sauces and it was much cheaper. 6 months later and I still have a few containers left.

So, when life throws you bananas for cheap - buy them and make a plan. I will detail in the next few days what I made with these bananas, but it made 10 loaves of quick bread, two batches of smoothies. a couple cut up in cereal and the last was part of a big batch of pancakes. 4 went to teacher's for Teacher Appreciation Week (sent in with Henry on Friday so the teachers could enjoy it with their families over the weekend - the actual TAW starts next Monday). Two are being eaten at home now - one blueberry banana and one chocolate banana and the other 4 are in the freezer to be taken out when we need a snack food. And they are quick recipes which is an even bigger bonus!

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