Foodie Fun on a Budget

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Being a Foodie Doesn't Have to Cost a Lot!

Being a Foodie Doesn't Have to Cost a Lot!

Anyone can be a foodie. You don’t have to be rich. You don’t have to be a “food snob.” It doesn’t mean you have to give up indulging in McDonald’s or enjoying a bag of Cheetos. It just means that you not only like food, you’re interested in it. You want to know more about what you are eating. You want to discover new tastes. And maybe most of all, you want to eat good food!

Good food is fresh food.

And the freshest food is often found at your local farmer’s market. Even better, it’s often cheaper than what you’ll find at the supermarket. The shorter a fruit or vegetable has to travel to get from the farm to your plate, the better it will taste.

Some farmer’s markets also allow local food artisans to share their fare, such as jam makers and bakers. These foods are definitely not as cheap as those available at the supermarket, but they are often cheaper than eating out at a nice restaurant.

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Make your own adventures.

At the farmer’s market, you’ll often discover fruits and vegetables you’ve never even heard of. Instead of just purchasing them right then and there, take note of a few that look interesting to you. Then go home, learn more about them, and find recipes to try. This will prevent you from buying something that you have no idea what to do with once you get home.

You’ll learn that there are many different varieties of foods you thought you knew all about. One great foodie adventure is to purchase all the types of a certain fruit or vegetable and have a taste test. For example, buy every variety of tomato, chop them up, and take notes on how the flavor of each is different.

Eat seasonally.

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You’ll notice that the fare at your local farmer’s market changes with the seasons. Since most of us shop at supermarkets where fruits and vegetables are available year-round (because it is shipped from across the country and overseas), we often lose sight of the fact that produce is harvested at certain times. Even some of the produce available at the farmer’s market might not be at its “peak.”

Trying to make use of what’s in season for a certain month can make you stretch your foodie horizons and discover new things. It’s also good for the budget since foods that are in season are cheaper than they are at any other time of the year. To find out what’s in season for your area, check out the Seasonal Ingredient Map from Epicurious.

Learn what you are eating.

Do you understand how your favorite meal is prepared? What about how each ingredient is made? Have you ever made it yourself? Understanding everything that goes into making a meal can give you a new appreciation for that food. If you have never cooked your favorite dish from scratch before, find a recipe and go for it! You’ll often find that making it for yourself is much cheaper than buying it from the store.

After you’ve mastered the recipe, consider how many ingredients you can make yourself. Instead of purchasing basil from the store, can you grow your own? What about buying some tomatoes and making your own marinara sauce instead of going for the jarred variety? Maybe you can even grow those tomatoes in your backyard too!

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You can learn to make everything from cheese and jam to wine and beer. For some tasks, you may need to invest in equipment, so before you do, make sure you’re committed to keeping up with it or consider finding a friend who will go in on it with you. It will certainly be more time-consuming, but you may find you enjoy the process.  And over time, you’ll save a bit of cash too!

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