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.
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?