30 July 2012

Do the math: On those 12 pounds of blueberries


A few weeks ago, I got 12 pounds of blueberries at $1.50/lb. We spent $8.00 on gas and tolls, for a total of $26.00 for the 12 pounds, or $2.17/lb. Here's a summary of what I did with them and how the cost compared to ready-made prices. All supermarket or online retail prices were from 25 July 2012. I comparison-shopped when possible and used the lowest prices I could find with a reasonable effort. For example, I used a supermarket bakery price for the blueberry pie, not, say, Isgro's Thanksgiving blueberry pie price. Also, if I found an item in more than one area of the store -- say, both the bakery and the freezer case -- I chose the cheaper item. However, I did not do an intensive search for the absolute lowest price available online or in regional stores, because research that intense is outside the scope of this post. (Keeping a price book is a fantastic strategy, and a topic for another day.) Here goes:

1 pound blueberries, eaten fresh: Supermarket price was $3.99/lb; I spent $2.17, for savings of $1.82

1 pound blueberries, frozen: Supermarket price is $5.99/lb.; I spent $2.17, for savings of $3.82

1 dozen blueberry muffins: Supermarket price is $3.99/4, or $11.97/doz.; my recipe used 1/2 pound of berries plus about $1.00 in other ingredients and cooking gas, or $2.09/doz, for savings of $9.88

1 blueberry pie: Supermarket price is $6.49 for a bakery pie. The bakery pie was smaller than my deep-dish pie, so let's say that it would take 1.5 of them to match mine, or $9.73; my deep-dish recipe used 1.5 pounds of berries plus about $0.75 in other ingredients and cooking gas, or $4.01, for savings of $5.72

1 blueberry cobbler: My supermarket didn't have a cobbler in the bakery or freezer, so let's say I made one from canned blueberry pie filling and a 16-oz. tube of refrigerated biscuits. Canned filling is $4.04 for 21 oz., or $0.19/oz., and I would need 32 ounces, or $6.08 worth. One tube of biscuits is $2.15, so the total is $8.23; my recipe used 1.5 pounds of berries plus about $0.75 in other ingredients and cooking gas, or $4.01, for savings of $4.22

6 half-pints (48 ounces) of blueberry jam: Supermarket price is $4.94/lb., or $0.31/oz., so $14.88; I used 3 pounds of berries plus about $1.60 in sugar, lemon juice, pectin, jar lids, and cooking gas, or $8.11, for savings of $6.77

10 ounces blueberry syrup: (Even though I unintentionally made jam, it was same ingredients, same cooking time as syrup.) Supermarket price is $66.6/oz., so $6.66; I used 1/2 pound of blueberries plus about $0.60 in sugar and cooking gas, or $1.69, for savings of $4.97.

2 quarts (64 ounces) brandied blueberries: Priceless? Though you can get whole blueberries in light syrup, or blueberry jam or preserves made with brandy, nobody seems to sell whole blueberries preserved in brandy. The closest analogue -- but not a perfect one, because blueberries are almost always more expensive to begin with -- I could find is the more usual brandied peaches, via an online retailer at $10.90 for 18 oz., or $0.61/oz., so $39.04; I used 3 pounds of blueberries plus about $2.00 in sugar, brandy, jar lids, and cooking gas, or $8.51, for savings of $30.53

Total supermarket prices: $100.49
Total Rowhouse Livin' prices: $32.76
Total savings: $67.73

And now I promise for real that I'm done with the blueberries. New topic tomorrow!

3 comments:

Jo Mathis said...

Brilliant. I know that making things from scratch are so much cheaper in general, but I don't usually take the time to count that out.

In fact, I made a mix of veggie/chicken stock today (home sick, woo), and it's so tasty. Something that good is made with things I'd have otherwise thrown away, and then I save all but the time (we don't pay gas or water in our building).

Ray Conrad said...

Did you calculate in the cost of your time?

Michele Grant said...

Ray, I did not calculate the cost of my time in this summary, because that's actually a very complicated question. Please stay tuned for a post next week on the numerous factors that I think a person should think about when considering how to calculate their time.