Image: The Fresh Ginger
It never hurts to ask what produce your local grocery store will be throwing out that day. “A lot of great produce is thrown away because of bruises or imperfections, even though it’s perfectly good quality produce,” says Ricardo. In fact, many leading supermarkets now have ‘Imperfect Picks’ ranges, which are kinder on the wallet. Ricardo recommends using the less flawless of your veg for smoothies, curry or soup. And don’t worry about being a nuisance to the sales assistants, it probably pains them to throw out decent produce every day.
When dining out, between mains and a pallet cleanser, you could casually ask the waiter where the chef sources their fresh produce. Often, it’s from a local wholesaler who you can benefit from knowing about. “The quality will be amazing and it might be the holy grail of saving money,” says Ricardo. Items like frozen fresh berries (that cost a motser for 350g at supermarket chains) can be found in 2kg bulk for a fraction of the per gram price – you just need the freezer space.
Do a broad Google search of where you can buy your favourite superfoods in bulk. The key words in this strategy are “in bulk”. It’s easy to find good deals on large quantities, says Ricardo. There’s a chance your order will be coming from overseas, so you’re going to want to stock up rather than continuously doing individual orders. “If you’re buying something in bulk that won’t last, split the product and cost with your friends, family or neighbours,” suggests Ricardo.
Take matters into your own hands, literally. Consider growing your own produce. It’s generally easy to find cheap seeds, and this way you’ll be able to see exactly where your fruits and vegetables are coming from. Ricardo says, “Get a few pots and, to save even more money, plant your kitchen scraps. This will grow into full versions of your favourites like celery bases, mint leaves, coriander roots, garlic, onion bases, pumpkin seeds and lemon seeds.” You’ll get a huge sense of satisfaction from growing these foods yourself, and you might even find yourself in love with a new hobby.
Go bushwalking and pick your produce from nature. Yep, you heard right. Ricardo says “wild, native foods,” grow in many spots, by the beach and bush. “They are everywhere and they are free,” he says. Ricardo personally gets aloes, seaweeds and Australian spinach in their most natural forms. We recommend doing some research from credible sources before consuming foods directly from nature to be certain they are safe to eat, or to find out what to do to make them ready to eat. Ricardo recommends an app called Wild Edibles.
Story by Samantha Blanchfield