Supermarket Steal- porcini mushrooms

24 Oct

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That’s the price of this cannister of porcini mushrooms. $14.39!

Hello all, today’s post is about a great deal I got at the supermarket on an item I probably wouldn’t usually buy because of the price.

So I was in the supermarket a few weeks ago when I walked by a small lone shelf with an array of seemingly out of place items. It was at the end of the drink aisle but there were cans of soup and boxes of ziplock bags and dryer sheets and they all had little yellow and white stickers on them with hand written prices.

I was instantly drawn in! That warm fuzzy feeling I get as I approach a well stocked SALE section in the back of a favorite clothing store set in. I slowly crept over with quiet but palpable anticipation…. I confirmed what I had suspected. These items were on sale!

Let me digress for a moment. I recently moved ,so this supermarket is new to me and I am now getting to learn it. At home, (my real, original home )the supermarket chain my family shops at has a similar practice. The items are called Red Dot Specials. There is usually a couple shelves just by the entrance where they have most of the items displayed and a few scattered throughout the rest of the store. (usually refrigerated items)

These prices on these items are slashed! Almost everything is at least half price and often even more reduced than that.

But why?
Why would a place of business sell these random items for next to nothing? Well in the food business much of your merchandise is perishable. Even “non perishable” items have a recommended shelf life. As an item nears the end of its shelf life/sell by date the store has 2 options:
1) Let their products expire and discard them.
2) Sell them off as quickly as possible to salvage some money.

The easiest way to move products is by cutting the price and drawing your attention to that fact. This is what the red dots do. All these items have a huge red (deep orange) sticker on them with a reduced price scribbled on.

My dear frugal friends, this is how you obtain those fancy gourmet items you dream of having your kitchen filled with.

My sister and mother have made this into a sport, a science even. They know the day the red dots get put on and make an effort to go to the supermarket on said day. A significant portion of our shopping happens on the “red dot” shelf.

When I open the fridge and spot some fantastic cooking sauce we heard about on Food Network but never bought (cause it was too expensive!) I just know,I don’t have to see the red dot on the label. When we have gourmet cookies or crackers to snack on I don’t need to ask how this came to be… I already know. When there is suddenly a surplus of something we usually buy sparingly like almond milk I am not baffled….the answer lies on the little sticker that says red dot.

This is not a foreign concept. Lots of, if not most supermarkets do something similar although I’m sure they have their own names for it.

In this trip to the supermarket I bought the above mentioned item: porcini mushrooms.

I have heard of them before, being an avid foodie I’ve seen many a recipe call for them. I’ve watched a chef prepare some with pasta (a dish I intend to try). I’ve always wanted to try out these porcini mushrooms. But they are pricey and half the time not even in the supermarket. But that day I was in luck!

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$1.99! Approximately 1/7 of the original price!

This was my chance! I picked up the container, seriously considering buying two at once then deciding against it in case I didn’t actually like them.

I have tried them in only one recipe thus far, a makeshift meal of turkey sausage, tomatoes and porcini mushrooms.

To use them, the container recommends pouring boiling water on them and letting them sit to allow the flavor to seep out. They also soften.
They are useful in lots of sauces.

The aroma is enticing. It smells like some gourmet Italian kitchen making something really good. The taste is very umami. Salty,earthy ,slightly bitter and very complex.

I enjoyed my porcini mushrooms and I plan to try the pasta recipe soon.

This was possible all because these tasty morsels of fungus were on sale.

Interested in these supermarket steals?
I have a few pointers below to guide your purchases .

1) Ensure the item is really on sale: Too often we see signs saying “special” or see 3 of  the same item taped together and assume this means they are at a reduces price. Not always the case. Make sure you are really getting the bargin you’re looking for.

2) Check the expiration date. This is all relative as many items are still good for some time after their expiration or sell by date but use your judgement. Any milk containing product whose date has already passed , I pass on that. Same for things containing fruit as fruits can harbor lots of microorganisms when no longer good.

3) Inspect. Sometimes items which are damaged e.g dented cans or partly open packages are placed on sale. If you have no issue using a box of dryer sheets that might be missing a few or a bag of chips that have popped open and been exposed to the elements then that’s your call. Just make sure you know this before hand and get no unpleasant surprises.

So there you have it!

Happy (bargin) shopping and have an awesome day!

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