Looking for produce staples to stock up on for your kitchen? From leafy greens to root vegetables, we’ve compiled a list of the top produce staples to keep on hand for healthy and delicious meals. Don’t miss out on these essential ingredients for your kitchen!
Eating clean whole foods is such an important part of my home. This means keeping fresh fruits and vegetables stocked.
It can be difficult to keep clean foods on hand when you want to use them before they go bad. But I always keep the following ten items stocked from the produce section and especially stock up if there is a good deal.
Here are 10 staples from the produce department you should stock up on.
The Best Things from the Produce Department to Stock Up On
Tomatoes are well worth stocking up on when you find a deep discount. If you are not tomatoes by the bucket full try checking for clearance tomatoes sold by the case to get a large amount for pennies on the dollar.
These are perfect for canning for cooking, canning homemade sauce, and salsa, or dehydration for sundried tomatoes.
While growing tomatoes is easy in your backyard garden or on the homestead you can still take advantage of big sales at the store or local farms to supplement your garden. This is especially great during the off growing season.
Potatoes are a great vegetable that is hearty all year long. If you grow potatoes make sure you grow ones you can store for a long time.
Many people also choose to not grow their own potatoes because they assume they require a lot of space but you can even grow in grow bags.
This will be my first year I am not growing potatoes and I am already regretting it. But if you keep an eye out for sales on potatoes at the grocery store around the holidays when they go on sale for a steep discount and can easily be stored in your cold storage for the entirety of the winter months to help get you through the cold when fresh produce is hard to find at a good price.
Sweet potatoes are another great option for stocking up to get through the winter.
I actually find sweet potatoes easy to grow and I love how their vines look in the garden. I also love that sweet potatoes are a bit more antioxidant-rich and have more benefits for the digestive system while being easier on blood sugar levels.
You can store sweet potatoes with your regular potatoes and enjoy them all winter long. I just suggest keeping your potatoes and sweet potatoes in separate open containers. If you find that any of your potatoes or sweet potatoes are turning you can eat, bake and store or can.
Onions are essential to helping make your meals flavorful and can even be a great asset to boosting your immune system. Onions are a base to so much that we make in our home.
While you can grow an entire bed of onions in your garden you may still find that you easily run out of onions very quickly. I grow and store a large variety of onions but I also buy onions every month.
Because of how useful onions are you should always be checking for great deals on onions to keep your stock up between crops. Onions can last a long time in cold storage but need to be kept warm enough to avoid freezing even the slightest or they can become a mushy mess. Yet, if you find your onions starting to turn I like to dice up and freeze.
Garlic like onions are a very valuable crop that can help to make your meals more interesting and flavorful.
Like onions, I plant garlic in the late fall and harvest early summer. I not only harvest the bulbs but when scapes are ready I trim off and process what we do not use right away. I cut the scapes and keep in the freezer.
Garlic makes a great companion plant that can help keep pests out of your garden but it can still be a bit difficult to get enough garlic from your crop to last you the entire year so it is well worth stocking up when you find a deal on domestically grown garlic.
The past few years I have grown enough to garlic to last until the next harvest. Be sure to grow garlic varieties that are good for long storage. If buying garlic avoid buying garlic that has had the roots shaved off.
Peppers are one thing I grow a great variety of but nothing with true heat.
They are an amazing antioxidant packed vegetable that can go into nearly anything and is perfect for bulking up meals and adding a pop of flavor and color.
Cooked, raw, as an ingredient and anything in between peppers are grown from April to October on our farm and we seed about 20 varieties to grow.
Peppers can be preserved for use in your cooking by drying or freezing, allowing you to grab what you need to toss into your recipes to save on prep time.
I also smoke peppers, throw them in the food processor and freeze is small amounts to make fresh salsas and other things year around.
In the summer they are great for eating and cooking directly out of your garden. Many times a pepper will be my breakfast in the garden as I do morning harvest.
If you do not grow peppers and see on the last chance shelf or a good sale stock up, rinse, slice and freeze for later use in recipes.
Apples, unless you have an orchard of your own, are well worth stocking up when big sales hit the store or you find a deal at a you-pick orchard. We just started our orchard and only get a couple a year that we enjoy off the tree. So we take advance of a neighboring orchard and pick there.
I also watch their facebook page for the “come and get them” posts. These are apples that will go bad and they’re are super discounted. These I use to preserve in a variety of ways from applesauce to apple cider vinegar and can filling. These can be made into many other things, sliced and dried, and even canned or frozen to make pies allowing you to store a lot of food for a very good price.
In the proper storage container with good airflow, apples will even keep for months in cold storage allowing you to keep fresh apples well into the winter.
A tip I found useful for apples and other produce in cold storage is to rotate them every once in a while to turn so it reduces bruising.
Citrus is something we do grow but we do not live in as region that we will ever have a full on orchard, so for us it is well worth stocking up.
I find with citrus, when you find these on sale in the produce section, is well worth stocking up on. While preservation options are limited on citrus there are plenty of ways to save it.
You can juice, make marmalade and dry to preserve citrus for later use. I also candy them and you can can to preserve for certain recipes. While citrus needs to be stored in a refrigerator for longer term storage it will stay for up to a month in general. But you can always make juice and freeze.
Berries can be very expensive. They are well worth growing at home to enjoy fresh off the vine. They have a relatively short life span to store so using fresh or preserving while they are are the peak of ripeness is a must.
I grow both garden berries and we have wild berries on our property. One variety of strawberries a friend gave me to transplant from her garden does produce fruit all summer. The good thing is that berries can be preserved by making preserves and jams, freezing, and even dehydrating allowing you to make the most of the great deals you find. So while no real storage life there are many preserving options.
Brassicas like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale and others are all very different when it comes to growling and storage. For example we grow kale year around – one plant will produce for over a year tended to properly for us.
We seed turnips from April to October, eating the whole plant from root to greens. Many people do not like growing due turnips because of the bugs that they attract, but we love them all and deal with the bugs as we get them hand checking and picking daily.
Many brassicas like broccoli and cauliflower store well whether you grow them or pick up on last chance if you blanch and freeze. Others like cabbage can have a longer shelf life in the refrigerator or can be preserved by making kraut.
You do not have to grow to preserve and you do not have to grow a garden at all. Many of the items to preserve can be found at locals farms or your market.
Keep your eye out, ask about when things will get marked down, request to buy in bulk at a discount. Or grow your own. No matter what the key is buying at the peak of ripeness or when there is a good deal and preserving.
I am a home cook that does things my way. In my kitchen, I make breakfast, pack lunches, prepare snacks, and cook dinner. During the week, we eat real food that is homemade, organic, and local. On the weekends we do explore more of our local restaurants. I bake my own bread, juice fresh oranges every other day, and make my own kombucha and other weekly favorites.