Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Myth: Using coupons is the only way to save money on food.

Answer: BUSTED!

The average household throws out 470 pounds of food every year. According to a recent survey, 39% of Americans feel guilty about wasting food (read more at This food waste costs a family of four about $600 each year. Think you and your family can use $600 this year? Here are some tips to help you cut down on your food waste:
  1. Use as much of your vegetables as you can! Do you only put cauliflower florets in your stew or stir-fry? Stews or soups don’t rely on the perfect appearance of your ingredients so try to use as much of the vegetable as you can. The liquid in stews and soups help to soften the tougher part of veggies.
  2. Use leftovers! Do you have leftover veggies or chicken strips? They go great on salads. Have some leftover chickpeas from that recipe you prepared the other day? Add them to canned soup for some extra fiber. Get creative!
  3. Get familiar with proper storage. Knowing where to store foods (refrigerator, cupboard or freezer) and how long they will keep will help you make the best use of the food you have on hand.
Visit to find more information on conserving food & saving money.

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension,, 573-882-1933

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Myth: Libraries are the only place to find low-cost recipes.

Answer: BUSTED!

shopping list with money sitting on it
Food prices have been creeping up and the current drought means that food prices will rise in coming months. If you have access to the web, you can start now to find good low-cost recipes at these sites.

Spend Smart Eat Smart at Cost per serving is provided for most recipes. A Nutrition Facts label is displayed for these recipes and there is also a Spanish language version of recipes available. You can view comments left by others who’ve tried the recipes. This can also save you money so you don’t try a recipe that you or your family may not like.

Recipe Finder at can help you find low-cost recipes. You can search by ingredient or recipe name. There is also a Spanish language version available on the site. A per serving and per recipe cost are provided. Many recipes have ratings from 1 to 5. When you search for an ingredient or recipe name the results are listed in order – recipes rated as 5 first. Recipe comments for some entries can help you pick a recipe that you and your family will enjoy. A Nutrition Facts label is displayed for recipes so you can see information such as calories per serving, sodium content and other nutrition information.

Visit the MissouriFamilies website to find information on saving money at the grocery store.

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension,, 573-882-1933

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Myth: It takes too much time (and gas) to go from store to store to find the best food buys.


Many of us are changing how we shop for groceries and how we find bargains. Last year, Americans bought only 51% of groceries at traditional supermarkets, down from 66% just 11 years earlier, according to the Wall Street Journal. Big box stores like Target and Walmart (the nation's largest grocer) have become sources of groceries and fresh foods. Club stores like Sam's Club and Costco are also in the mix to find food bargains. Farmers markets are booming, too. How can we find the best bargains?

Consider using the Internet to find the lowest cost for the foods you need after you have planned your week’s menu of meals.

►Big box stores and club stores have online information that provide pricing and availability information. Search online to find food bargains.

Using mobile phone to track prices and budget
►Try free mobile coupon apps and see which ones work best for you. Not all apps provide coupons for stores in your area. Use mobile coupon apps to find the best deal at the nearest store to save gas.

►Try free mobile apps that allow you to track your shopping, make shopping lists, etc.

►Try free mobile apps that are bar code scanners so that you can find local best buys. (some scanners come with the mobile apps described above).

Don't forget that there is a downside to hunting for coupons and bargains, which includes buying things that you don't really need or want just because they are on sale. Ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” Avoid impulse buying. Not all coupons or sales are a plus if you wind up buying additional foods you don’t need.

Visit to find additional information on saving money at the grocery store.

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension,, 573-882-1933

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Myth: Kumquats should be peeled before eating.

Answer: BUSTED!

A kumquat is a fruit that resembles a small orange. It has a tiny oval shape and is about the size of a large cherry. They do not need to be peeled, so you can eat the whole thing, skin and all. First, roll the fruit back and forth between your fingers with enough force to squeeze the fruit. This releases the oil in the skin making it look shiny. The oil has a sweet citrus smell and taste. If the kumquat is not rolled the peel tastes bitter.

You can typically purchase kumquat fruits from December through June at many larger supermarket chains and at some ethnic grocery stores and markets. When purchasing kumquat fruits, make sure the fruit is firm to your touch and does not have any bruises on it. Once purchased, you can store kumquats in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Kumquats are also available canned.

A serving size is 10 small kumquats or about 2/3 of a cup and it is loaded with vitamin C.

Kumquats are often found in preserves or in fruit salad. They make a nice addition to chutneys or marinades for beef, pork or chicken.

For additional information on fruits and other fresh produce, see this list of nutrition articles on

Contributor: Maude Harris, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, University of Missouri Extension,, 573.545.3516