Imperfect produce equals great buys!

Since I’ve arrived in Israel, I’ve bought a huge amount of produce – it’s delicious and affordable.  I choose to limit myself to the purchases of produce that is 3.99 shekel a kilo (about .60 lb) or less but right now just about everything is within ten shekels a kilo.  We’ll see how the prices change as the season changes, but for now we’re enjoying lots of cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant, onions, peppers (green, yellow, red, orange), cabbage, butternut squash, beets, and potatoes.

One vegetable that used to be a staple in our house that I haven’t been using here is yams.  Priced at 6.99 or 7.99 a kilo, it’s about double my predetermined limit.  However, on Thursday I was at a local store and saw yams for 2.99 a kilo. My stock up instinct kicked in but it was the end of the day and the supply was low, so I was only able to buy about 7 kilos.

Why were they so cheap?  Because of this.

Large potato next to super large yam

The yams on sale were all huge, not the typical size that is going for full price.  They might have been grown in the same field as the more expensive yams, and picked and harvested the same day, but because they aren’t standard, they aren’t seen as desirable.  We’ve become so used to perfect looking produce that people feel that something is wrong with produce that doesn’t look exactly like what they’re used to seeing, when in fact what’s normal is that fruits and vegetables have lots of variation in size and shape.  So that provided those of us willing to overlook what is considered cosmetically attractive the opportunity for a great deal!

For me, big yams like this aren’t an inconvenience, since when I get smaller ones I have to use lots more of them.  There’s more work involved in peeling smaller ones, more work involved in cutting larger ones, so they pretty much even out in terms of effort.  We enjoyed these for Shabbos in a sweet potato pie with crumb topping, and they were delicious!

Do you ever buy discounted imperfect produce?  What kind of store do you find it in?  What are the prices like?


4 thoughts on “Imperfect produce equals great buys!

    1. I was pretty glad to see them here! Regular supermarkets don’t seem to have any produce that isn’t perfect – it disappears somewhere on the way, before people have a chance to see it.

  1. I *usually* buy the imperfect or seconds at the supermarket. The regular (“perfect”) sweet potatoes were 3.90/kg by us this week so I did stock up, but not to the tune of 7kg. (It seems like they go off before we can use them when I buy too much…yes, even potatoes.)

    1. Welcome, Marion! What a great price you found! I always have the challenge of being realistic about how much I can use before it goes bad when buying a lot of something on sale. Sweet potatoes don’t stay good for long, particularly in warm weather.

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