Want to Save Money from Excess Veggies? Here’s How

by Jennifer B

If you have a garden filled with vegetables, or you have decided to buy a lot because they’re on sale, then there’s a huge possibility that you’re thinking of what can be done to avoid your excess veggies from getting wasted.

For fruits, there are a lot of best juicers on the market, that it’s not that difficult to use them all because you can simply turn them into fruit juices. However, it’s a different case for veggies. Thankfully, there are a number of ways on how you can make good use of this, and here’s how.

1. Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment
When you have excess veggies, then it won’t be bad if you’d let it lead your meal planning. For example, if there’s a big sale on pumpkins at the store, then be ready to experiment with pumpkins and see what you can make. Likewise, if there’s a great deal on carrots, then go prepare some meals that involve this.

Though, in order to successfully pull this off, you have to consider several things first. For on, you must have a broad sense of what kinds of things you can do to a specific vegetable. For example, aside from steaming your regular veggies, what else can be done to make them more exciting.
Don’t be afraid to experiment every now and then because you’ll never know what you might discover.

2. Whip Up a Hearty Vegetable Soup!
There are times that you’ll end up buying too many vegetables for your recipes, but you won’t be aware of this until it’s too late. Thus, they often end up inside the crisper and they start to get a little old.

You can chop these vegetables a bit and simply toss them in a freezer container that’s quite spacious. Then, once the container is almost full, you can proceed to make vegetable soup. Dump all of those frozen veggies, season with salt and pepper, and allow it cook slowly.

Another option that you can consider is making a ratatouille instead of soup. This one is quite easy to prepare as well. To ensure that you make the best dishes, you should also pay attention to what you’re going to use– always check the pots and pans reviews to see which one would work best for you.

3. Preserve Your Picking
No doubt, it takes a lot of time and effort to prep and process vegetables. However, you’ll be greatly rewarded once you see the results. You can put chopped or whole veggies in the can and they’ll last for several months. Aside from that, you can also freeze a number of items, such as tomatoes– these require lesser preparation time. Other food preservation options for you to consider includes fermenting, dehydrating, and quick pickling.

Pickling is one of the best ways to extend the shelf life of produce significantly. Thus, it’s a great way to use veggies that have already been numbered. Pickled vegetables are perfect in jazzing up salads, sandwiches, and many more.

Crunchy vegetables are perfect for pickling, and during cold winter months, you can pickle vegetables, such as beets, carrots, cauliflower, and onions. Then on warmer months, experiment with green beans, zucchini, bell peppers and the like.

4. Filling in Vegetable Turnovers
Saute whatever vegetable you like and use them as a filling for vegetable turnovers. You can try preparing spinach turnovers known as “spanakopita” and we’ll give you the assurance that everyone will love this.

Making a batch of these using excess vegetables is a great way to save some cash, because you can easily put the left over back in the freezer and consider using the, again the following day.

5. Veggie-filled Goodie Bags, Anyone?
If you’re having family or friends over, then you can consider this. Why not give them a bag filled with garden-fresh veggies? They would surely love a treat like this! Likewise, you can also send them your favorite recipes, or just print them out and include them in the bags that you’ll be giving away.

You can also consider donating your extra greens to a local pantry. However, do note that not all accept fresh produce. So, it would be better if you check your local first.

6. Have a Produce Stand in Your Frond Yard
You don’t have to be extravagant, but a simple “free” sign taped to a table or basket of tomatoes, zucchini, and peppers are actually a great way to put your excess veggies to great use. In case that you have a lockbox, you can also consider securing the table, then perhaps, solicit donations in exchange for the veggies and give the proceeds to a local pantry if that’s okay with you.

Additional Tip: You can also try asking your neighbors if they’d be interested in organizing a collaborative growing effort with you.

7. Make Stock and Compost
After everything has been done and you still have a few leftovers, don’t worry, there’s still something that you can do. You can chop up these vegetables until you end up with not perfect pieces, but still edible together with those that you won’t be interested in consuming. Basically, these would end back in the freezer to the point that they’re going to get freezer burn. What can be done once that happens?

If it seems like that vegetables are still a little edible, then you can consider turning them into vegetable stock. We advise that you put a container of remaining vegetable pieces in your freezer, and once the container is almost full, then put these vegetable scraps in a pot or slow cooker

What about the pieces that can’t be eaten?

This can help your garden the following year. Just have a barrel of composter behind your house, keep it moist, and roll the barrel once a week.

During the spring, you can empty out the composter then spread this material all over your garden. Believe it or not, this natural fertilizer can keep the soil in your garden rich. This would also help the plants grown abundantly.

There you have it. These are just some of the best ways to save money on excess vegetables. Give them a try and see which one works best for you.

Jennifer is a certified cook enthusiast and a legit photographer from Ohio, USA. She is a food lover and thus makes blogs about it at Imaddictedtocooking, which include her own photos for the demonstration of how the recipes are made.  Contact her at @jenniferimaddi1

Comments

  1. There is a place for vegetables: Right beside the meat and potatoes. I like carrots just fine but I wouldn’t eat a meal of carrots unless I was starving. Doubling up on vegetables doesn’t seem like a ‘solution’ to me it seems more like desperation. Just like when I sit down to eat at Thanksgiving I take what I like (turkey, potatoes and a vegetable if it looks edible) and leave the rest for those who like whatever the other stuff is. When I order at a restaurant I don’t order carrots and brussel sprouts I order a meat entree and potatoes or rice and pick something from the choice of nasties they usually provide as sides. If they (the nasties) look good I eat them if not they go to waste.
    Don’t get me wrong. I eat veggies and if I prepare them to my taste there are very few I don’t like. But I don’t consider veggies as number 1 or even number 2 on my list of things I call food. I would put bread, rolls, pastries and chips ahead of veggies.

    • BlueJeanedLady says:

      Hey IdahoBob! Oh how we all differ with our individual food palates! Enjoy your favored foods as you can but accept that some may feel differently as you dismiss the oft loved veggies beyond your favored potatoes! Okay?

      Personally, I’ve been know to eat a commercially processed can / home canned jar / couple of handfuls of fresh picked green beans &/or several garden peas &/or several stalks of asparagus &/or other veggies for a full lunch (and yes, without feeling like I’m starving after I’ve finished) and always save the trite leftovers for some soup or stew or vegetable broth for a later created soup / stew / casserole base so can’t much say I agree with your sentiment, IdahoBob, that veggies can’t be a #1 or #2 or #3 choice of food source on occasion – if not semi-consistently. But hey – I’m guessing that’s just me, so I “kinda” get your complaint. 🙂

      None-the-less, enjoy what you have available as you can – – – now & always! Best wishes for you and yours, IB, and may you & yours never become hungry for lack of a food source more loved than meat / bread / pastries / chips before stooping to (oh my, what a downfall) maybe just some lowly rated vegetables, like potatoes or green beans, for starters! 🙂

      Just funnin’ with you, IdahoBob! Just funnin’! Happy continued eats while happy eats continue to be available for you & yours and actual abundance & sustenance wishes for you & yours, at least in part, from the veggies – which are indeed food – should your favorite non-veggie sources become scarce at some point in time! 🙂

      Keep taking care and stay safe everyone. And, as always, give thanks for the bounty, no matter it’s make-up or source, before each meal, just cuz it’s the good, decent & right thing to do.

  2. PlantLady says:

    Or rather than “just” saving money, you can make money with them by selling at the local farmers market. After my six years of elder care decided I needed to practice growing enough food for my entire extended family ( I am the eldest of 7), close neighbors and friends. I have always gardened rather seriously, but never on that scale. So over the past 3 years have been building the new garden and expanding it. The first year just sold at the farm market about half the time, just when I had something extra beyond what I needed to preserve and what I gave away to family, friends and neighbors. Learned what sold well, so the next year I planted a little more of those sort of things…and sold something every weekend. Learned more about succession planting, which we all need to know about for hard times – so that we can ensure we always have something good to eat in hard times and have less preserving to do since you can eat fresh longer…and incidentally always have something to take to market. Growing large quantities of food is a whole different thing than your standard American garden! You don’t put in the garden then harvest later…you are always planting something and always harvesting something if you are doing it right. The second year almost made enough to pay the property taxes! This past summer moved to a much nicer, larger farmers market and did very well, enough to pay the property taxes if I hadn’t reinvested the proceeds into more fruit trees, equipment, seed stock, plant stock, etc.
    This is working really well for us…not only am I growing a large percentage of the food we/family/neighbors/dairy goats/chickens need…but I have gotten the ground prepared to continue growing these large amounts of food, learned how to grow large quantities of this food, how to plan what we need, how much we need, how to spread the harvests over the longest possible time so we can eat more fresh and have less preserving to do. AND made enough money to buy more fruit trees, berry plants, nut trees, etc (which will provide more food), plus more gardening tools and supplies (fencing, etc.)…plus discovered if hard times come, can make enough money to pay the property taxes without outside income just from what I grow excess to our needs! And doing this in a very rural area – our county only has about 14,000 souls. Folks closer to urban centers could do far better.
    And in addition, at the end of day at the farmers market, I trade any excess left with other vendors, which gives us a wider range of foodstuffs and lets me practice bartering skills!
    Most importantly, I have the peace of mind knowing that I can grow much of what we and those we care for need/want to eat.

  3. patientmomma says:

    Thanks for the article; I love veges…all types. Vege soup and vege quiche are my favorite (left-over) meals. I dehydrate most of the veges that aren’t eaten right away. Three pds of spinach will dehydrate to a pint jar of powder. Dried cabbage chunks are great for soup.

    But nothing goes to waste on my farmstead. If humans don’t eat it all, then some gets frozen until the next batch of dog/cat food gets made. Then the rabbits get their choice of fresh veges and greens, the pigs like their veges with “gravy”, and the chickens will eat anything left.

    • Pam in ID says:

      Thanks, patientmomma. I am interested in dehydrating vegetables as well. I am new to this list and would love to know your thoughts on a good dehydrator. I was thinking of an Excalibur. I would rather have a good one that will last. I am a senior and live alone, so it would be harder for me to rotate canned foods. And the dehydrated foods would last as long as I am apt to. :>)

      • patientmomma says:

        Pam, Any dehydrator will do… I had a $15 one I used for years and I’ve used an oven. Friends of mine have used the inside of their car! About 8 years ago I upgraded to L’Equip and an Excalibur, which have more accurate temperature regulation. If you can afford it, put your dehydrated veges or meat in glass jars and use a food saver attachment to suck the air out. I have found that contents keep longer that way. Good luck!

        • Pam in ID says:

          Thanks, patientmomma. I will check out both. I have a Foodsaver and planned to pack everything dehydrated in jars or bags, whichever seemed the most logical.

  4. my four sons says:

    I am as red blooded, meat eating, male stereotype as there is (football, guns, beer)these are a few of my favorite things, but I love vegetables all except peas and beets. My personal favorite thing to do is can chicken and vegetable and or beef and vegetable soup. I have done this with ham as well and is also delicious. They make unbelievably convenient week night meals get em hot with bread and butter and you are set. Most vegetables are so versatile I am not sure why they get such a bad rap? I would pass on potatoes for a good batch of cooked cabbage any day! excellent article and thank you.

  5. Don’t forget pumpkin pie made out of any winter squash. and roasted vegetables are great! OK, now don’t gag, but a make a smoothie out of a jar of tomatoes (or a fresh pint) and vegs from the garden like a carrot, celery stalk, dark greens, green onion, garlic, small beet, and about a pint of water, etc. It really is good, like a thick v8.

    • forgot to add that I put a handful of sprouts in the veg smoothie. Also, if you just can’t get behind the idea of a veggie smoothie, you can add a carrot, handful of sprouts, and even a green leafy to a fruit smoothie without “ruining” the taste.

  6. Sweet potatoes make excellent pie!
    I have scrambled eggs & cheese every day for lunch. I have found that almost any veggie can be added, but of course I like onions and green pepper the best.
    PS. I do not care for hydrated-dried veggies at all, so I tend to only get what I will use for a week.
    I also make a yummy breakfast blender drink with frozen bananas and berries, a container of protein powder (vanilla flavored), 1 tsp of sugar, and whatever else I feel like throwing in.

  7. Chuck Findlay says:

    2-years ago I had a real problem with excess veggies, I planted a bunch of them all at the same time. They all came in at the same time. I didn’t know what to do with all of them.

    Last year I wised up a bit and staggered then by spreading the planting out where I planted them every 2-weeks. This way I spread out the harvesting over a longer time.

    • BlueJeanedLady says:

      Ditto, Chuck!

      Took me too many years of adult gardening to completely recognize that if I “spread out the plantings” during their brief (individual crop) planting recommended time frames for our particular growing zones that I had more time between harvesting dates to eat / process / share what was ripe without wasting as much as I might have if each crop became ripe at the same time!

      Funny how we can all live and learn like that, isn’t it?!?! 🙂 Keep taking care & happy continued gardening adventures.

    • Thomas The Tinker says:

      Yowzza Chuck! All the years gone by and me just droping seeds and seedlings in the dirt each spring… Light bulb moment I shouldahad yearsss ago. Dah dah dah… What The Fuuu-I wasn’t thinkin at all.

  8. BlueJeanedLady says:

    Excellent article, Jennifer B.

    With the exception of a produce stand, I / we do much of what you suggested with our garden harvest.

    (We don’t do much beyond our own needs, but do enjoy sharing the limited number of leftover fresh veggies with friends & neighbors – – – as we think they do, too.)

    Thanks again for the article. Nice contribution to the site.

  9. Can’t think of a vegetable I don’t like, DW on the other hand is kind of picky and curls her nose at many items. Often times I prepare a variety of things for meals when I miss things we usually don’t have like sweet potatoes or squash with a regular spud for her. I usually can the big three every year but also include growing treats for the animals in the garden. I of course like zucchini and pumpkin bread(w/cranberries) and other variety’s so alot gets pprepared and frozen for use through out the year. Herbs are grown every few years as needed to replace my dried supply.

    Besides canning and freezing, I have two Nesco dehydrators, fairly inexpensive, that see almost constant use from berries to veggies, fruit and rose hips, to fall mushrooms during season. Even lesser quality apples get dried for winter goat snacks. Older fruits and veggies go to the livestock and compost pile.

    Thankyou for the article!

  10. Hello I so enjoy reading your post and ideas. You have been so inspiring. I need to ask some advice. I’m sure you have heard it all.
    For the last 3 1/2 years I have been prepping on a more serious note! I spent into the thousands literally and filling more than 2 huge garages . I have even invested in raw property in a very remote area that took even more cash. We my hubby and I have lived breathed and ate prepping our whole marriage . I am skilled with tons knowledge and experience thanks to u and many more info sights and books.
    So now every thing is in place we are ready to move to this remote place and start building a tiny dry cabin and live our dream. The house we owned is sold the whole nine yards. All of a sudden my husband decides he doesn’t want to do it . To be honest it was the only thing that really made us work was our wierd quirky ways of living safely off the grid. I’m so crushed and hurt. I spent countless weeks and months preparing he was just as enthusiastic the whole time. So now here is sit my home gone my stuff all packed and I’m in this RV living with this jerk! I’m crushed I don’t know what to do now. I can’t even stand to look at him. I just don’t understand his thinking . He appeared to be more obsessed abt it than me. I’m not sure I am confident enough to do it alone. I truly believe in this life style I am the 3rd generation in my family. What would you do ?

    • BlueJeanedLady says:

      Hello, “rebecca” and welcome! Glad you’ve been reading this site for prepping info. It and the people are great, aren’t they? (Yes, they are! Ha! Thought I’d at least confirm that bit of information before responding to the rest of your inquiry.)

      Is the first time you have posted here? Not trying to discourage you from asking for general or even detailed prepping advice but not sure marital advice is best procured from this site from a new poster such as yourself.

      As far as I can tell, the regulars on this site are a grand & giant mix of happily married couples, happily or unhappily divorced individuals, unfortunately widowed people &/or decidedly single people, as well as some successfully satisfied, remarried folks and a handful of some youngsters whom read the pages routinely, each on individual & various prepping paths, none exactly like yours or my own. (That’s part of what makes it fun and informational!)

      That said, and not that all opinions don’t matter, but I’m not convinced your brief and undetailed experiences mentioned in a single introductory post can be best addressed – here – with the limited information noted as you seem pressed with marital differences at present.

      Then again, I’ve been wrong before (dang I hate it when that happens, but darned if it doesn’t – Ha!) . . . So do use your best judgement, ‘rebecca’ should you choose to proceed with any future questions / response(s) you read / write on this site concerning your marriage issues.

      Most of all, please don’t expect a perfect scenario solution, a perfectly correct answer, for your personal needs to magically appear in print from anyone (us posting-strangers-to-you on this web site or any other web site) that doesn’t know your situation well. Just sayin’ – just ‘cuz it’s true – and you need to stay smart for your own best needs no matter your individual decisions about your own future & marriage.

      For a few examples of why your questions can’t be reasonably addressed by some of the regularly posting pack-members, some of your declarations are too vague for reasonably input responses:

      I spent into the thousands literally and filling more than 2 huge garages . I have even invested in raw property in a very remote area that took even more cash.

      Does this mean you paid $3,ooo or $20,000 for such out of your own pocket, or did your now husband help pay / agree to pay for such, too? If you are seriously considering leaving your husband, this little tidbit of financial info makes a huge difference in how you might or might not be able proceed, with or without him.

      And:

      We my hubby and I have lived breathed and ate prepping our whole marriage .

      How ‘long’ is your ‘whole marriage?’ Two years? Ten years? Twenty or thirty years? Any kids? Any long term financial investments between you both? Yep! These questions do really make a difference, at least in considering lifestyle options for separate futures.

      And:

      I am skilled with tons knowledge and experience thanks to u and many more info sights and books.

      How skilled & interested is your husband in developing his own skills? Have you ever noticed if you pursued more than he did or was this just an unintended slight on your part at acknowledging his own skill development? (Not judging – – – It happens – – – Just asking!)

      And:

      So now every thing is in place we are ready to move to this remote place and start building a tiny dry cabin and live our dream. The house we owned is sold the whole nine yards. All of a sudden my husband decides he doesn’t want to do it .

      Perhaps you weren’t as aware of “our dream” (your words concerning you & your husband) as you thought – – – Maybe he stretched the truth about his dreams &/or maybe you put more priority on your own dreams, but something, obviously, didn’t match up between the two of you as you now know and now state:

      I’m so crushed and hurt. I spent countless weeks and months preparing he was just as enthusiastic the whole time. So now here is sit my home gone my stuff all packed and I’m in this RV living with this jerk! I’m crushed I don’t know what to do now. I can’t even stand to look at him.

      Perhaps most telling (even beyond you calling your husband a ‘jerk’ – and not apparently in jest) is this:

      To be honest it was the only thing that really made us work was our wierd quirky ways of living safely off the grid.

      JMHO, but that’s not a very solid foundation for a marriage – – – then again – – – yes I’ve erred in assumptions, before! 🙂

      I honestly wish you and your husband well, ‘rebecca’ (together &/or apart) but again, I’m not sure this web site or any other web site is the best place for you to begin inquiring & devising your own plan of action for your own future if you are debating staying with or without him.

      I sincerely hope you don’t have young children that may end up in the middle of you & your husband’s differing opinions these days but even if you do, please search out more unbiased advice from a known & respected counselor or clergy member if you can find such rather than relying on anonymous web sites like this.

      I like / enjoy all the regulars here but admit I don’t know any of them well enough for you (or most that don’t know each other closely) to depend upon their marital advice on these pages. Just sayin’, again, this may not be the best place to ask for solid marital advice considering your personal position!

      I know that divorce is sometimes a singular option that must not be avoided (not personally, but through friends & family) but relying on the advice of people you don’t know (and most that probably don’t know you) on an anonymous web site is simply, IMHO, insane. In other words – – – don’t do it and search elsewhere for marital advice.

      Best of wishes, ‘rebecca.’ Stay safe and stay smart and yes, stay confident. Stay in touch with your prepping experiences (with /without a spouse). This site is indeed a good place to land for a prepping source shared among caring, long-distance, semi-stranger, web based friends, too! 🙂

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