Seasonal Savings: What’s In Season for June

A great way to save money is to take advantage of seasonal savings. Time to take a look at what’s in season for your area for June. Be sure to check the What’s in Season Map to see what items you might not only be able to save money on but which tend to be the freshest. I often buy up extra in-season items to freeze for when the prices are higher. Several items freeze easily and can store flat in a Ziploc-type bag in your freezer.

Here’s what’s in Season for Illinois: (Check the map for your area)

asparagus
cabbage
cherries
eggplant
garlic
nectarines
okra
peas
rhubarb
strawberries

These are just some of the things you might see at a discounted price in the grocery stores and what you might find at most farmer’s markets right now. If you haven’t been to a farmer’s market yet, you can use Local Harvest to see if there’s one near you. Some of my favorite things to pick up at ours are eggs, honey, in-season veggies and some of the glorious bread items some of bakers have there.

Also, don’t forget that some Farmer’s Markets offer free activities/crafts for the kids–and sometimes free music. Ours has free music in the afternoon. We’ll pick up some fresh food and then sit and enjoy some free entertainment. It can be a great way to spend time with your family, do some free activities and enjoy some free music. I love that my kids are growing up meeting the people that grow some of our food.

I just wanted to mention that you might want to keep an eye on foods that you normally know are in-season at particular times this year. The weird weather patterns have been making some foods ripen faster than normal, such as strawberries. If you plan on doing any strawberry picking, you’ll want to do it soon as a lot of strawberry patches in our area ripened early and are almost done now!

What have you been finding seasonal savings on right now? (And it doesn’t have to be just food!)

How to Freeze Fruit

A great way to save money is to buy items when they are in season and freezing them for a later date. I am a huge fan of fruit but it can really make the grocery bill add up fast. But there are times when fruit is on a really great sale and that’s when I stock up and freeze some.

While frozen fruit is no where near the same as fresh fruit, it can still make some delicious things, such as smoothies. My kids love them and I like that they are getting another portion of fruit for the day. I also love to add frozen fruit to oatmeal as it adds a little extra goodness to it.

I’ve found that fruit tends to freeze best when you “flash freeze” it first. While it will never hold quite the same form as fresh fruit, it’s usually your best bet to preserve the taste and help keep them from clumping together. When I flash freeze them, I can usually just pull out a few that I need later.

Flash freezing simply means taking the fruit and putting it on something, such as a clean cookie sheet, and letting it chill for awhile. Once it’s frozen solid, that’s when I add it to a Ziploc bag. Here are a few that I’ve tried it with:


We picked these blueberries this last summer. Had a fun outing and blueberries to enjoy most of the winter! Enjoyed them on pancakes/waffles, oatmeal, cereal, etc.


Pineapple – A whole pineapple always seems like too much for us to eat. So I cut up some of them into chunks, flash freeze them and use them in smoothies.


Strawberries – The cut-up pieces are what I took off some strawberries that were starting to get mushy. These work perfect in oatmeal, cereal, pancakes/waffles etc. The others, I just cored and will use those in smoothies. I just set the cookie sheet on top of the other stuff in my deep freezer and threw them in a Ziploc bag when they were solid.


Bananas – These are the over-ripe ones that I shared earlier. They stayed true to color and form for a few weeks. They did turn a smidge discolored after that.  Had I been thinking, I would have mashed them first, as I knew I was going to use them in banana bread. You could also cut them into chunks and flash freeze them for smoothies.

It’s very easy to freeze excess fruit or fruit you find on a great sale. You might even talk to the produce manager at your store to see when they discount slightly bruised fruit for extra savings.

What fruit have you tried to freeze? What ways have you found to use the fruit later?

Seasonal Savings: What’s In Season for April

It’s another new month and it’s time to take a look at what’s in season in your area for April. Be sure to check the What’s in Season Map to see what items you might not only be able to save money on but which tend to be the freshest. I often buy up extra in-season items to freeze for when the prices are higher. Several items freeze easily and can store flat in a Ziploc-type bag in your freezer.

Here’s what’s in Season for Illinois: (Check the map for your area)

asparagus
broccoli
cabbage
lettuce
onions
peas
spinach

I’ve also seen green beans and berries discounted lately. These both freeze well if you want to buy up extra and save some for when the prices are higher. Buying in-season items are a great way to get produce on your table without breaking your grocery budget! Organic Gardening has a nice list/article of 9 Spring Superfoods that might give you some ideas of which to add to your grocery cart.

A lot of the farmer’s markets that close during cold winter months in our area will be opening soon. You can check Local Harvest to see if there’s a farmer’s market near you. I LOVE going to them as the food is so fresh. I don’t mind paying a little bit more, if I have to, to help support my local farmers–and get such delicious food. My favorite items to buy there are farm-fresh eggs, fruit and honey. (I grow a lot of our own veggies.) I can still remember getting the honey bears with my grandparents so many years ago. It was a very special treat for us! (Good memories last a lifetime!)

If you are considering starting to buy some shares in meat, you may want to put your name on the list now.  Farmers often have a limited supply and the wait times can sometimes be up to a year. (Note: They will often have you put a down payment on a share, especially if you are a new Client.) You might also be able to find a farmer that offers has a CSA program (Community Supported Agriculture) where you can get fresh fruit/veggies, etc each month for a fee.  I often sign-up for a fall CSA share, as I haven’t mastered late season gardening yet.

Also, don’t forget that some Farmer’s Markets offer free activities/crafts for the kids–and sometimes free music. Ours has free music in the afternoon. We’ll pick up some fresh food and then sit and enjoy some free entertainment. It can be a great way to spend time with your family, do some free activities and enjoy some free music. I love that my kids are growing up meeting the people that grow some of our food.

What have you been finding seasonal savings on right now? (And it doesn’t have to be just food!)

Seasonal Savings: What’s in Season for March

It’s another new month and it’s time to take a look at what’s in season in your area. Be sure to check the What’s in Season Map to see what items you might not only be able to save money on but which tend to be the freshest. I often buy up extra in-season items to freeze for when the prices are higher. Several items freeze easily and can store flat in a Ziploc-type bag in your freezer.

Here’s what’s in Season for Illinois: (Check the map for your area)

Broccoli
Cabbage
Lettuce

Other things not on their list that might be in season are asparagus and some berries. I’ve seen some of the prices lower on these lately. Asparagus, Berries and Broccoli all freeze well.

You should see some really low prices on Cabbage this next week with the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day holiday almost here. I found a nice round-up of Cabbage Recipes on Whole Foods’ site. It might give you some ideas on how to use up low-priced cabbage. I think I might have to try the Corn Beef and Cabbage Rolls Recipe and the Cabbage and Leek Griddle Cakes Recipe. Don’t forget to save some Corned Beef to make your own homemade Corn Beef Hash for breakfast! I sometimes buy an extra brisket, cut-it up and freeze it in little packages just for this reason. (Only do this if your brisket isn’t already frozen. You should never re-freeze frozen meats without cooking them first.)

Buying in-season items are a great way to get produce on your table without breaking your grocery budget! I don’t know about all of you but I’m getting anxious for Spring and for the Farmers Markets to open back up so I can pick up some great items there!

Seasonal Savings: What’s in Season for August

It’s another new month and it’s time to take a look at what’s in season in your area. Be sure to check the What’s in Season Map to see what items you might not only be able to save money on but which tend to be the freshest. I often buy up extra in-season items to freeze for when the prices are higher. Several items freeze easily and can store flat in a Ziploc-type bag in your freezer.

Here’s what’s in Season for Illinois:

Peppers
Corn
Eggplant
Melon
Nectarines
Peaches
Plums
Summer Squash
Tomatoes
Watermelon

Other things not on their list that might be in season are green beans and garlic. Green beans are such an easy item to freeze for future months for a vegetable side or maybe for stir-fry meals.

I’m hoping you’ll take time to find a Farmer’s Market near you to get some locally grown in-season foods this month. You can use Local Harvest to see if there’s one near you. Buying in-season items are a great way to get produce on your table without breaking your grocery budget!

Seasonal Savings: What’s in Season for July

Hard to believe it’s already July but it’s a new month so it’s time to take another look at What’s In Season for July in your area. You can check out the What’s In Season Map to see what items you might not only be able to save money on but which tend to be the freshest. I often buy up extra in-season items to freeze for when the prices are higher. Several items freeze easily and can store flat in a Ziploc-type bag in your freezer.

Here’s what in Season for Illinois:

artichokes, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, eggplant, nectarines, okra, peaches, raspberries, rhubarb

I was so happy to see that our Farmer’s Market had lots of choices for blueberries and raspberries this last week. We’ve been enjoying these all week as a snack, on our pancakes/waffles and in yogurt. You can use LocalHarvest.org to see if there’s a farmer’s market near you. You might also be able to find a pick-your-own farm where you can pick berries with your family. We do this every year. Not only is it a fun outing but we have amazing blueberries all year as we freeze a lot of what we pick. The kids ask to go every year now.

You can even use in-season items to try out new recipes. I’ve given myself a challenge this year to try one new recipe a week and I’ve been sharing some of them in my What’s New For Dinner? series.

I hope you’ll take time to enjoy some in-season items this month!

Seasonal Savings: What’s in Season for June

It’s a new month so it’s time to take a look at What’s in Season for June in your area. You can use the What’s in Season Map to see what items you might not only be able to save money on but also plan ahead to freeze some for the months when the prices are much higher. This is just another of the 31 Ways to Save on Your Grocery Budget without Coupons.

Here’s what’s projected to be in season for Illinois for June:

Asparagus, Cabbage, Cherries, Eggplant, Garlic, Nectarines, Okra, Peas, Rhubarb and Strawberries.

If you haven’t tried some of these items before, consider trying something new. I’m having a lot of fun with my What’s New For Dinner series and using some foods that I’ve never tried before. This last week, I tried leeks for the first time and they will now be on my list for future months.

Hope you find ways to save a little money on Seasonal items. Not only are the prices lower but they tend to be fresher items, too. Don’t forget to find a local farmer’s market in your area to get even fresher items.