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Sep 11, 2010 04:38 PM

What do you over-buy?

I'm not talking condiments (although I'm seriously guilty of LOVING various mustards and buying many of them when I'm in a new area and seeing something new I can't get in my own area).

I'm talking about fresh food items. My most recent "WTH?" moment when I got home today from the supermarket is carrots. CARROTS. I have three loose packages of carrots as of this morning's shop. And I'm a shopping list maker and usually don't buy anything that's not on my list.

I'm at a local stupidmarket today and I know I'm making chicken stock in the crockpot today for overnight, so I'll need carrots for a mirepoix, and I know I need carrots for the dinner I'm making tomorrow. I *think* "OK, I've got about 5 carrots at home; I should get more." So at Roche Bros., which sells them loose, I pick up about 7 more.

So how many carrots did I have when I got home? TWENTY LARGE carrots. WTH????? Only 1 large carrot was used for the mirepoix. I'll probably use 3, *maybe* 4, for tomorrow's dinner (meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and peas & carrots). That means I still have about 13 left.

WHY am I buying so many carrots? Am I a bunny? LOL

So what do you buy thinking you need it and thinking you really know what's in your fridge?

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  1. Bananas and limes at Costco. There are just two of us but I can't resist the prices. I wind up freezing leftover bananas for smoothies and juicing limes to freeze as cubes. Lately I've noticed that the limes start to harden when they get older....... that seems odd. Anyway................. the crop of limes on our tree is just starting to ripen (not much summer in South OC this year) so one of the two is not a problem now.

    33 Replies
    1. re: Midlife

      I just tucked away a coupon for a pound of bananas with any produce purchase. "Who doesn't want free bananas?" I said. Me, that's who. I eat one, and then I'm over it. Between the coupon and the gallon of milk that's always cheaper than the half-gallon, I see a cream pie in my future.

      1. re: onceadaylily

        Banana is great forremedying potassium deficiency

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          That's why I force myself to eat them at all. The dreaded dark of night leg cramps brought on by the mere stretch of a leg. I've never even thought to research if the potassium in bananas is lost through cooking. Any thoughts?

          1. re: onceadaylily


            Yeah, I sort of "force" myself to buy bananas for similar reasons as you. Bananas are also great for "on the go breakfast".

            Anyhow, I don't believe potassium in bananas can be lost from cooking. Not 100% sure, but pretty sure. The reason is that potassium is an element, so it is in a very fundamental form which cooking cannot destroy. Similarly sodium chloride (table salt) cannot be removed by cooking.


            Now, vitamins are different. They are organic compounds and they can partially lost/degrade in cooking.

            P.S.: I read somewhere that plantains have even more potassium than bananas, so if you are into cooking them. :)

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Thanks. I can see myself over-buying plantains in the near future.

            2. re: onceadaylily

              Hysterical and true. Sometimes I'll feel a keg cramp coming on while I'm still in bed and will go to the kitchen and eat a banana right then. I don't know if it's the banana or the walk downstairs and back, but the cramp always goes away. :o)))))

              1. re: Midlife

                "Sometimes I'll feel a keg cramp coming on while I'm still in bed and will go to the kitchen and eat a banana right then"

                I don't think it works that fast :)

                You made me feel like I need to put a banana in my emergency medical case, ya know?

                1. re: Midlife

                  i know it's a typo, but i got a kick out of thinking of this: >>"""Sometimes I'll feel a keg cramp coming on while I'm still in bed and will go to the kitchen ...."""<<

                  in college, we had keg cramps, but then went to a frat house party! LOL!

                  1. re: Midlife

                    Maybe I should try your plan sometime, instead of just laying there in the dark, whispering, "nononononono". Because that doesn't work at all.

                    1. re: onceadaylily

                      skip the bananas - there are plenty of other foods that are higher in potassium...cantaloupe, winter squash, fennel, spinach, chard...even broccoli. or find a way to sneak a spoonful of blackstrap molasses into your daily diet.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        My aunt used to take a spoonful of blackstrap molasses daily. She loved it.

                        1. re: Jen76

                          i add it to my protein smoothies - it's a nutritional powerhouse. anyway, i just figured it's a better solution to onceadaylily's leg cramp problem than over-buying bananas, particularly since she doesn't even like them!

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            That's a great idea. My aunt didn't like bananas either. Funny.

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              That is a very good point. I've little use for molasses in my type of cooking, but that's half the fun of cooking, the purchasing of an ingredient that requires some research and a will to use it. And the seeming rigor (sloooow rigor) of a limb in the middle of the night does provide a certain amount of willingness, on my part.

                              But let me clarify, it's only raw bananas I've a distaste for (they seem so sweet for the first few bites, and then bitter after I've acclimated to the sugar). A girl can cure leg cramps with pudding only so many times before she has a new problem.

                              I buy one new thing every market trip, so this discussion fills a dance spot on the card for the next.

                              1. re: onceadaylily

                                potassium imbalance is a very, very tricky area, and some "home remedies" like banana and molasses have potassium levels that may interfere with some medications. i know this from my older sister's experience.

                                i just say, this needs to be discussed with your physician.

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  I'm not on any medication, but will keep that in mind. That's interesting, though. I would have never thought of either as being able to contradict any medications. Who ever think to tell their doctor that they 'on' bananas?

                                  1. re: onceadaylily

                                    otherwise healthy people who eat potassium-rich foods and don't abuse diuretics or alcohol don't have to worry much about hyper- or hypokalemia...your body is designed to excrete the excess. it's only really a concern when certain medications, health conditions or severe dehydration come into play.

                        2. re: onceadaylily

                          point your toes up towards you and not down (like a ballerina). I can almost always stave off a leg cramp that way.

                          1. re: nvcook

                            for some reason, scuba training places great emphasis on what to do if you get a leg cramp underwater (I've been diving for years, never had one while diving)...but I do use what we were taught when I get them above water: get in a more or less 'sitting position', stretch out legs, flex ankle so that fin is upright, pull fin towards you with ankle flexed and toes upright.. as I say, I do the same thing, minus fin, above water, and it does work, And a darn good thing it works too, because I HATE bananas!

                            On the topic of limes: just got some Costco limes, and they were fine. Worked well in my margarita. and the price is ridiculously cheap compared to what limes are costing at my grocery store right now (works out to about ten cents a lime, vs three or four for a dollar at my local grocery store.

                      2. re: onceadaylily

                        some anti-hypertension meds rob the body of potassium, so doctors frequently recommend a daily banana to counteract it.

                        == freeze bananas and use them in place of ice in a smoothie. Delicious, thick creamy texture, banana flavor, and doesn't water down the smoothie. Yum.

                        == banana bread. 'nuff said!

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          I was told that the diuretics I'm taking would flush out potassium, so I'm on an Rx potassium supplement. Far more than I could possibly down in bananas a day.

                          1. re: tracylee

                            I don't think there was an edict there.
                            Depends on the medicine and depends on what your doctor says.

                            Actual mileage may vary.

                  2. re: Midlife

                    i've found the lime-hardening to be the case, too.

                    1. re: alkapal

                      Interesting because the ones from our lime tree get soft as they get older. Probably has something to do with when the commercial limes are picked and how they are handled from that point.

                      1. re: Midlife

                        i think you are right. they are probably picked green (as in unripe). i grew up in florida with key limes and other citrus, and my sister has a key lime now. that hardening never happens with those. they get yellow, then they rot.

                        1. re: alkapal

                          Heh. No, I had one fall out of my fruit basket and on to a lower shelf a few years ago (I used to have a key lime)

                          You could have busted a window with that thing.

                    2. re: Midlife

                      >>Bananas and limes at Costco

                      Anything at Costco... Beer by the case. Cookies by the case. Crackers by the case.

                      1. re: Midlife

                        I've been so disappointed with Costco limes, I won't buy them again. Not juicy at all.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          Funny.. The ones we bought this last time were really juicy................ except for the last few that dried up and hardened.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            I have a probalem with Costco fruit. Just last week I had to take back the box of peaches I purchased. They look like a picture of beauty, but were so dry and tastless on the inside. I've also had a problem with their apples not being mushy..

                            1. re: Babyducks

                              I never had a problem with any Costco produce at any of the CA Costco's, or the one in Memphis, TN for that matter. But I've had problems at the Southlake, TX (Fort Worth) Costco. Most recently bought fruit on a Saturday afternoon and it was inedible on Sunday morning. They were fine with refunding my money, but it ruined my breakfast.

                            2. re: c oliver

                              microwave limes for v15 or 30 seconds to make juicy. or roll them on counter, but microwave is more effective, but heats up.

                            3. re: Midlife

                              The lime ice cubes idea is brilliant!

                            4. Enough that I don't like to clean out the fridge in front of the boyfriend. Who buys cabbage because it's on sale? It's ALWAYS on sale. I have two large bags of carrots in the fridge as of Thursday. They were on sale, a buy-one get-one in a store that means exactly that.

                              Fresh produce is always what turns me into a bag-grabbing dervish, but especially chiles and peppers. I wind up either drying them in the oven or roasting them because I just can't seem to get it through my head that I don't need four kinds of each *just in case*, and then they get all wrinkled, or moldy. I had to toss one of my four green bells yesterday.

                              Fresh herbs. I can get a packet of herbs for ninety-nine cents, or even cheaper, if it's parsley or cilantro (thirty-nine cents a bunch). I have parsley, thyme, sage, basil, and tarragon just, you know, hanging out. Who buys sage without *planning* to use it? Me. I do. I have got to start freezing herbs in ice cubes, or start infusing things. I did just read about a tarragon-infused vodka . . . .

                              My freezer is also problematic. It's small, and the rails for the shelves on the door are long gone. which I manage to forget when my favorite meats are on sale. Until I replace them, I have to wrestle my sale meats in among the frozen odds and ends that makes me grateful I was such a Testris champion (even so, we sometimes have to eat Eggos and Popsicles for dinner after a trip to the market).

                              I also have three containers of cocoa powder in the pantry, and I don't know how, when, or why. That's a lot of cocoa.

                              Also, despite the fact that we have a dozen types of seasoned or gourmet salts, we always think we're out of Morton's iodized. We never are. Never even close.

                              The boyfriend only has one: cereal. He never believes me that he has unopened cereal, until he tries to fit the new box into the pantry. "Huh," he'll say, staring at the four boxes lined up (three unopened, one impossibly stale. If anyone has any recipes that use a gluttonous amount of shredded wheat (sweetened on one side), I would love to hear them.

                              11 Replies
                              1. re: onceadaylily

                                Dill pickled green peppers are tasty. My grandmother always put some green bell pepper slices into her jars of pickles. I loved them when I was a kid.

                                1. re: Jen76

                                  Pickles are on my list! I've never canned anything, and have begun buying jars for a first (deep breath--don't think of poisoning the man you love--no, stop, he'll be okay) foray into the venture. I can get green peppers for a remarkable price here. I love this idea!

                                  1. re: onceadaylily

                                    Here's a link to a good brine recipe I got from my Grandma Jennings:


                                    Unsealed pickles are quite safe in the fridge. They are in salt and vinegar!
                                    Seal them if they are going to be stored long term before eating. You can use up scraps of leftover fresh veggies making pickles w/ this brine recipe. The spice choices are up to you : )

                                    1. re: weewah

                                      Thanks. I bookmarked it. I've made bread and butter pickles before, but I've never properly canned for preservation.

                                      Those are some interesting-looking radishes.

                                2. re: onceadaylily

                                  We have serious cereal buying/wasting issues and soon I'll be buying more for Chex Mix, which requires jars and jars of seasoning that won't be used up either.

                                  1. re: Sensuous

                                    I thought I was on a Chex Mix making binge last winter (you can season them however *you* want), and I stocked up on the cereal for that venture. I was bored, and bloated, after two batches (one spicy, one garlic). The rest went to the birds.

                                    1. re: onceadaylily

                                      I would've taken that off your hands

                                  2. re: onceadaylily

                                    if you like having sage around, (and I do, I find it goes well in lots of savory dishes)...consider growing it. We have a sage plant in our (small) herb garden, but you could easily keep it in a pot (doesn't grow that fast). It does very well, at least in our (Central California) climate. Believe me, anything I can grow, is EASY to grow!

                                    1. re: susancinsf

                                      I've been looking at potted herbs lately. I killed a basil plant last year (slowly, and painfully, bringing it back from the edge so many times that I started to feel a bit sadistic), but I think I'm ready to try again. And sometimes the plants are cheap enough that six month's use is actually a bargain.

                                      Do you have one of those lights for indoor gardening, or is whatever comes through the window sufficient?

                                      1. re: onceadaylily

                                        Not sure how your basil died but, just in case, if you water them, try watering the tray rather than the soil. That way, you'll get water soaked up to the roots rather than getting it on the leaves. Water on basil leaves is like water on African violet leaves--sure death. Plus, it might be good to know that basil plants are NOT that easy, especially when kept inside. They can blacken and die just like that and for no apparent reason.

                                        My basil plant does not love it inside even though I keep it in a window with southern exposure and constant, direct sunlight. It was an outdoor-from-seed plant but frost came early for us so now it is my please-don't-die plant!

                                        If you buy a new plant and it was inside, give it a chance outside during the warm part of the day for twenty minutes, then 40 minutes the next day, then an hour etc until it has gotten used to the air and temps. Then, depending on the weather, you can leave it out for the sunlight and bring it in to keep it from getting to cold at night. I'm not sure what your temps are or what your winters are like (we are having snow today, wheee) but if it is nice out, go ahead and try it outside during the days while it is still warm.

                                        I hope that helps.

                                    2. re: onceadaylily

                                      Cilantro is my big one. It comes in such large bunches and I use it so infrequently that I will often buy a new bunch when I still have an older one in the fridge...and both turn to lovely green mush after that one bowl of guacamole!

                                      1. OK, if we ignore the mustards, then my answer would be "nothing edible."

                                        Mustards included - then it would definitely be mustards!


                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                          one needs a nice variety of mustards; they're very specialized creations.

                                          1. re: alkapal

                                            Yes, that's why I exempted them from over-buy status. :-)

                                        2. Everything! If we have a natural disaster, just come to my house. i have 2 stuffed freezers and fridges as well as a full pantry. I have been trying to cut down on what I buy, but I seem to have a depression era mentality where i always think that I need to stock up just in case.

                                          I buy on sale with coupons whenever possible but really there is only so much you can eat even with teenagers in the house. I find that I really overbuy on fresh fruit which can go bad quickly as well as things that go stale like crackers etc.

                                          8 Replies
                                          1. re: baseballfan

                                            You sound like me; if I didn't buy anything else for the next six months, I wouldn't starve. I have a large chest freezer that most times I'm unable to close completely unless I put something heavy on top. I have just about every seasoning blend or dried herb, about 8 varieties of dried chiles, three types of fresh hot peppers in my freezer and so much dried pasta & canned goods, I could open up my own market. People are always asking me what's with the stockpile of food...I have to admit, though, 80% of the time I buy only when there is a sale...

                                            But I have a weakness for fresh produce & cheeses and currently have so much of those, stuff falls out of the fridge when I open it. And, I'm going shopping tomorrow....there's a sale on meat...I can't help it....LOL!

                                            1. re: Cherylptw

                                              Glad to know I am not alone! I forgot about the cheese issue...I always have a lot of variety on hand and it drives me crazy when it goes bad and I have to throw it away.

                                              My husband always jokes that we should take out a separate insurance policy on the pantry and fridge/freezer items!

                                              1. re: baseballfan

                                                I am the same way!
                                                There's a side by side freezer/ fridge in the kitchen, a large upright and a chest freezer in the basement and I have another upright and a restaurant reach-in that is 5 feet wide in the garage -which are currently empty, thank God. (and in the last few years I have given away an upright & had a huge chest freezer 'die').
                                                So I guess I stock pile freezers! They are so cheap at auctions.
                                                I buy lambs whole (butchered out) and raise my own hogs. Dad hunts deer and elk, so there's that meat too. There are only the two of us at this residence!
                                                I buy butter in massive quantities when it goes on sale in the summer and freeze it. Same with corned beef after St. Pat's and Turkey after Thanksgiving.
                                                The pantry is the same story. Full.

                                                And does anyone else buy rice and popcorn by the 30 lb bag? Jesus. I have 3 kinds of rice. Sushi, basmati and parboiled.

                                                BUT! I lost my job 3 months ago and aside from purely necessary fresh foods like eggs, milk, fruits/veg & pet foods I have not bought groceries in all that time. And that is really cool.
                                                I could do another 3 months easy...

                                                1. re: weewah

                                                  it's good to use up all those frozen things periodically anyhow. good luck with a job search, weewah.

                                                  1. re: weewah

                                                    Sorry to hear about your job situation but this exactly the type of situation that is always in the back of my mind. I feel more secure knowing that we can eat from the freezer and pantry during hard times whether it be a job loss, natural disaster etc. Good luck with the job hunt but at least you won't be hunting hungry :).

                                                    1. re: weewah

                                                      weewah, I was unemployed for almost an entire year and even prior to that finances were extremely difficult for quite a few years. I remember siting over a bowl of popcorn and reading my great cookbooks dreaming of all the wonderful recipes but knowing I couldn't afford any ingredients.

                                                      My cat and horses will have food before I worry about myself. I have a good stockpile of frozen and pantry items and can live without meat. Meat really ups the food budget. I have frozen chicken and fish but if it was gone I could still live without it.

                                                      1. re: weewah

                                                        Been on too much of a rice kick, myself...and my dd has gotten too fond of cooking Asian food, as well. AND the fact that we drive right past an Asian grocery store nearly every week hasn't helped: those beautiful, HUGE bags at rock-bottom prices...

                                                        Currently, have: basmati, brown basmati, sushi, sticky, jasmine, arborio, short grain, wild (not really a rice, I know.;-), Lundberg mixed, and some "Forbidden" blackish purple stuff.

                                                  2. re: baseballfan

                                                    I love this thread!!! I'm the same way, baseballfan, but I have a reason (excuse!) When I first moved East, we had a HUGE blizzard, and literally could not open the storm door because the snow was so high. I couldn't get out for three days. So now.....I hoard. (Not like I'll end up on A&E or anything,) but an empty spot in the freezers or the pantry sends me into panic. And coupons and BOGO's do me in. However, I recently got Living Cookbook and it has an inventory feature on it, so I'm hoping I will know what I have, and not buy duplicates, or at least so much. The one thing I seem to have the most of is pasta.......