Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Saving on carrots does come with some upfront work
If buying a 25-lb bag of carrots was as simple as bringing them home and popping them into the fridge, I suspect that stores would sell a lot more carrots package this way. However, as with many methods for saving money, this one comes at a cost in convenience, and upfront time taking care of this large amount.
I don't have a shelf in my fridge that is large enough to accommodate this size package. I have to repackage 25 pounds of carrots into 5 pound bags.
But also, there are always some carrots that will rot or mold quickly, if not taken care of right away. They need to be peeled, trimmed and chopped into sticks or dices, and stored ready to use in the fridge or freezer.
Last Friday, I spent an hour doing just that. I bagged up about 15 pounds of carrots that were in good condition, for use in a few weeks. And I peeled, trimmed and cut into sticks another 10 pounds, to use right away. My end result with these carrots was 2 good-sized bowls of ready-to-eat carrot sticks.
An hour is a lot of time for my aching shoulders, to work over the counter. But the pay-off comes in both the savings on the carrots (a savings of about 14 cents per pound, over buying in 5-lb bags), and in my future convenience for preparing meals.
I can instantly add carrot sticks to lunches and dinners. Or, I can toss some with oil and roast in the oven, for an easy side dish. Or, I can simmer with onions, ground unsweetened coconut, curry powder, garlic powder and salt, then use my immersion blender for a super easy curried carrot soup (my lunch on Saturday).
The inconvenience of dealing with so many carrots on Friday will level out with the convenience in future meal prep.
I only find these large bags in a few places around town, our restaurant supply, Cash & Carry, produce markets and stands, and WinCo. I would imagine that Costco and Sam's Club would also carry this size bag. They are sometimes referred to as juicing carrots.
How long will this bag last us, you wonder? In cool weather, our carrot consumption is high, with homemade soups, roasted carrots, carrot salad and carrot sticks as one of the few fresh veggies we keep on hand. I think this bag will last 2 months, for us. At 32 cents per pound, I will substitute cooked, pureed carrots for pureed squash and pumpkin in many baking recipes. For Thanksgiving dinner, I'm experimenting with preparing ahead, then reheating at the last minute, curried carrot soup, for a simple starter to the meal. And most of our fresh salads will now heavily feature raw carrots, such as carrot-cabbage slaw, carrot-raisin salad, and carrot-apple Waldorf salad.
Do you have any favorite carrot recipes you can add to my growing list?