Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Never Judge A Book By It's Cover...Or A Banana By It's Skin

My local grocery liquidator doesn't actually get all their fresh produce sold before it starts to look a little worse for wear. Often you'll find boxes of produce stacked outside their warehouse door, free to the first taker before they toss it in the dumpster. (Thanks for pointing me in the right direction, Megan!)

Now, anyone with a little kitchen experience and a frugal mindset knows that just because fresh produce isn't pretty anymore doesn't mean it's garbage. I grabbed up a 20 lb box of bananas and 6 sad looking ears of corn for FREE the other day and drove home with a geeky smile on my face.


The bananas had black spots on them but once they were peeled they were soft, white and sweet underneath. Definately not something that you'd want to just eat raw but they had a huge potential for baking and smoothies.



I chopped them into chunks and froze them on trays. Then scooped them into freezer bags for smoothies. If I decide to make some banana bread or muffins, I'll just thaw out the right amount of chunkage in the microwave and continue on with my recipe.



The thing about over-ripe bananas is that they are very sweet with all kinds of natural sugars. Sweeter than a fresh peeled green banana. Just perfect for sweetening baked goodies and cutting back on the white sugar content. And usually if they are overripe they are cheaper or in this case free. So don't pass them by the next time you see them marked down at your local store.

And the corn? The husks were dry and crinkly but I shucked 'em and cooked up the ears today for a pre-dinner snack and they were sweet. Didn't even need to slather them in butter and salt.

So ask your local grocer what they do with their unappealing produce and you just might find yourself with some goodies.

18 comments:

Michelle @ Leaving Excess said...

That is rockin' awesome! Good for you! (BTW, I completely get the geeky smile :>)

Gypsy Trader said...

Free Bananas get peeled and placed whole on a cookie sheet in a low temp oven for a couple days. Store in a glass jar. Chewy, sweet and the perfect packaround treat. These go for $7.00 lb in your local healthfood store. AND Yes, I supposed they could be dipped in chocolate, Gayle !

km said...

I always freeze my bananas around here, but I have yet to find free bananas. Great Score!

Emily said...

It just goes to show...never hurts to ask!

the banana thing makes sense. Who knew about the corn? cool.

cassandrasmom said...

What a great find and a wonderful way to use it!

Jerilyn said...

Yum, dried bananas sound good too.

I love the word 'chunkage.' :)

Chaney said...

I'm going to have to ask...that's awesome! Smoothies and banana bread are a favorite at our house.

elizabeth said...

we freeze reduced-rack bananas to use for smoothies. more fruit and less ice that way!
And I'm confused, do you eat green bananas?

Robin (rsislandcrafts) said...

Great find! I would have scooped them up too.

Arden said...

Those bananas make the most wonderful baby food too. My little guy gags on commercial food but slurps down homemade banana puree mixed with a bit of rice cereal.

Anonymous said...

Definitely echoing the awesome comments. Thanks for the tips and info. Like others, I have yet to find free anything around my part--Louisville, KY 40217--but often items are less than full price. Every idea helps. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

You are a banana rocker!

One time I got 15 one pound packages of ground turkey (the good brandy stuff) for $.69 a package at a pricey chain grocery store. They were going to expire the next day. The least I ever paid has been $1.50./pound.

Anonymous said...

Another awesome way to eat rather ripe bananas is to peel them then press some walnuts into them while they are in a snack sized plastic bag and freeze. Once frozen, you can split the bag and use it as a handle and eat it like a Popsicle! Tasty and filling......similar to ice cream in consistency too!

LeShea

Carrie said...

You can also leave bananas in the skin and just freeze them whole. Then just take out the # you need to make a banana bread, thaw and peel.

Tracy said...

Oh boy...what a score! I would LOVE twenty pounds of free bananas. LOVE to freeze them...

Anonymous said...

I add Chocolate Chips to Banana bread and make as muffins and loaves for a quick snack that also satisifies that chocolate craving without going overboard on the chocolate. The loaves make a nice gift and the muffins freeze well for a quick snack.

Kimmie said...

That is awesome (free bananas). I don't know of any stores around here that do anything like that.

I freeze my bananas right in their peel. When they thaw they are a bit gooey (the skin) but the banana is perfect for baking or smoothies.

thanks for sharing.

Kimmie
mama to 7
one homemade and 6 adopted

Jessi said...

Wow, I never would've thought about what they do with it once they pull it from the shelves. I wonder if I could get anything like that around here. Hmm.