Whether it is a Superbowl party, a bridal shower, 4th of July, or Christmas, vegetable trays are always on the table. Recently my grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and their party was no different; a vegetable tray was on the menu. My original instinct was to go with the convenience of a pre-made vegetable tray because I thought it would be comparable in price. Then Spend Smart asked me to compare the prices and time between homemade and purchased veggie trays. BOY WAS I SURPRISED! Preparing my own tray compared to buying the already assembled tray cost a third the cost of the assembled tray. For that savings I am willing to spend the 23 minutes it took me to prepare the vegetables.
Through this exercise, I learned some things I am going to use for the relish tray I am preparing for my 4th of July picnic. I am going to check out prices of vegetables at other stores to see if I can get a better price. If I have time I will check out a farmers market.
- I am going to substitute green or red peppers for the celery. I like them better, the cost is about the same and the time to prepare them is less than the celery…that way I only have the broccoli to cut up. I might also substitute olives or pickles for one of the other vegetables.
- If all the vegetables I buy do not fit on my tray, I will just bag them up to use as snacks (they are already washed, chopped and ready to eat), or used them later in the week as a side such as a broccoli cauliflower salad.
- If there are kids that want to help, this would be a good way to get them involved with a party.
A little planning in advance can save you a bunch of money when it comes to vegetables trays. (I wonder how much money is to be saved with fruit trays?)
Here is how I figured the cost:
1) First, went to the produce department and talked with an extremely helpful young woman about their prices for already made trays and the weight of each of the vegetables on the tray
2) I purchased each of the vegetables that were on the pre-made vegetables tray.
3) Twenty-three minutes later I finished washing, chopping, and weighing the vegetables.