Finance

Use this guide to buy in season and save on fresh food


Eating fresh fruits and vegetables in season is not only good for your health. It is good for your wallet.

You may have noticed that strawberries are cheaper in the summer than in the winter or that butternut squash is better in the fall months. That’s because the production cost is usually lower when in season.

Targeting your grocery choices to products in season will help you increase your food budget.

What does it mean to be an in season product?

Fruits and vegetables are “in season” during their naturally harvested period of the year.

Plants have different growth cycles. Some thrive best when temperatures are warm, while others grow best in cool weather.

In any season, a new crop of fruit and vegetables will be ready for picking, picking, gathering or digging. When a particular type of produce is harvested in abundance, grocers usually lower prices due to increased local supply.

On the other hand, fruits and vegetables cost more when they are not in season because they have to be shipped from remote farms where growing conditions are more ideal. The cost of moving products out of season is passed on to the consumer.

What products are in season throughout the year?

Some fruits and vegetables do not have a specific season and can be harvested all year round. You will find that prices are fairly stable regardless of when you purchased them.

according to USDA SNAP-Ed Program, this includes:

  • An apple
  • banana
  • Carrots
  • celery
  • Lemon
  • lime

Find out what’s in high season and when

Many fruits and vegetables reach their peak at a certain time of the year. Others are harvested over several months. You’ll notice prices drop when you’re in season and go up when you’re not. Finding out-of-season products on grocery store shelves can be more difficult.

USDA guidelines for in-season produce will help you save money when shopping.

Chris Zuba / Penny Horder

Produced in season during summer

Summer brings ideas of fresh berries and juicy melons. Along with my favorite ones, try Something different at the next summer barbecue And grill some zucchini or corn on the cob for side dishes.

This list includes fruits and vegetables that you’ll find in season during the summer months:

  • apricot
  • avocado
  • beet
  • Pepper
  • blackberries
  • blueberry
  • cantaloupe
  • cherry
  • corn
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • garlic
  • Green beans
  • watermelon aphid
  • Beans
  • mango
  • Okra
  • Peache
  • plum
  • Raspberry
  • Strawberries
  • summer squash
  • tomatillos
  • Tomatoes
  • watermelon
  • zucchini
A pile of Swiss chard in the grocery store.
Getty Images

Produced in season during the fall

As the leaves change color, root vegetables and pumpkins will be an affordable grocery store pick.

Fall seasonal products include:

  • beet
  • Pepper
  • Broccoli
  • Football
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • green cabbage
  • Cranberries
  • garlic
  • Ginger
  • grapes
  • Green beans
  • cabbage
  • Kiwi fruit
  • lettuce
  • mango
  • mushroom
  • Onions
  • parsnip
  • pear
  • peas
  • Pineapple
  • Potato
  • Pumpkin
  • radish
  • Raspberry
  • Rutabagas
  • spinach
  • Sweet potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • Swiss chard
  • radish
  • winter squash

Produced in season during winter

Eating fresh fruits and vegetables in winter will help you balance all your sugary holiday meals. Consider increasing your vitamin C from citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit as cold and flu season stabilizes.

This list includes in-season product selections during winter:

  • avocado
  • beet
  • Football
  • cabbage
  • green cabbage
  • grapefruit
  • cabbage
  • Kiwi fruit
  • leek
  • Onions
  • orange
  • parsnip
  • pear
  • Pineapple
  • Potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Rutabagas
  • Sweet potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • Swiss chard
  • radish
  • winter squash
A woman balances a pineapple on her head while in a grocery store.
Getty Images

Produced in season during spring

Enjoy leafy greens as the weather warms and the flowers begin to bloom. Fruits and vegetables that you’ll find in season at this time of year include:

  • apricot
  • asparagus
  • avocado
  • Broccoli
  • cabbage
  • green cabbage
  • garlic
  • cabbage
  • Kiwi fruit
  • lettuce
  • mushroom
  • Onions
  • peas
  • Pineapple
  • radish
  • rhubarb
  • spinach
  • Strawberries
  • swiss chard
  • radish

What to know when shopping for in-season products

While the lists above focus on what’s in season in the United States as a whole, supplies may vary based on where you live. For example, berries grown in Florida tend to peak in the spring rather than in the summer.

For more specific guidance on seasonality, see your state’s Department of Agriculture or your local extension program. This Seasonal Food Guide It shows people what’s in season in each state.

Relationship with local farmers can help you buy in season produce. I recommend Shopping at the farmers markets or join Community Supported Agriculture Program to save money on seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Meal preparation And the Cook all edible parts of the plant These are other actions to get the most out of your products. If you want to preserve your seasonal produce to enjoy months later, freeze or Could you Fruits and vegetables you bought during high season.

If you plan to eat the products you buy soon, Learn how to store everything properly So it won’t go wrong quickly. But don’t panic if your fruits and vegetables have softened a little. There are a lot of ways to use it Ripe avocadoAnd the Banana roastingAnd the soft pear الكم And the Spinach leaves wither Instead of throwing it in the trash.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder.






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