1. Shop Tuesday to Saturday. Did you know that most fresh food starts to arrive on Tuesday and Wednesday to most markets? In other words, if you shop on Sunday or Monday, you are often buying older product.
2. Stay away from marinated meats and seafoods. When meat and seafood starts to get older, many stores bring in fresh and marinate the old. It’s how they cycle food. Sometimes they even charge more for it? Make your own marinade.
3. Ask the experts when looking for specialty ingredients. If you are looking for Thai ingredients, phone your local Thai Restaurant and ask them, where they buy specialty ingredients. They’ll usually help you out.
4. Check dates on dairy. They always push the older stuff to the front of the fridge so you’ll likely need to reach to the back.
5. Get to know your local butcher. If you buy a great cut of meat one day, go back and introduce yourself and say “I just wanted to say thanks… that was the best steak ever.” (same for fish monger). You will become a VIP and get great product every time.
6. Buy local & shop at your local farmers market (most cities have them so find them). Aside from the obvious environment reasons for doing so, the food picked fresh and delivered to local farmers markets, will always be tastier and healthier than food that is transported through from farms, to wholesalers, to distributors, and then finely – days later – to stores.
7. Be picky when buying meats and seafoods. When I order meat or fish, I always wait to see where the person behind the counter will go to grab it. Interestingly, this is usually the older stuff. Ask for another piece near the back or bottom of the pile. Or, say, I’m buying this for a few days from now, do you have anything really fresh in the back?
8. Bring your own environmentally-friendly bags, or better yet, buy a “Feeding Bag“. Plastic bags are just plain bad news! Feedbags can be bought at Wholefoods and each bag feeds 100 hungry kids through the World Food Programme’s School Feeding Program – something we are all passionate about here at Rouxbe with Rouxbe for Life.
9. Stop buying dried herbs today if you can buy fresh. There is just no comparison. The one exception, and this is just my craziness here… I kind of like dried oregano better than fresh (I can accept the pending backlash for this statement).
10. Think about people that don’t have food. Every time you eat and/or drop $100 at a store, spend a moment to think about all those around the world and even in your backyard, that don’t even have food. And if so inclined, do something to help. You can start by one day, dropping some food off at a local food bank or getting your family involved, cooking a big pot of spaghetti sauce, then personally taking it down to a local shelter just before dinner. It will change your life.
Have any useful shopping tips you’d care to add?