"Root Veggies - Kingsfield Farmers Market" by mamichan via flickr
An awesome guest post today from reader – and writer - Jessica Drue – thank you and GREAT advice!
How To Use Up Your Produce Box
The Husband and I have been getting a produce box from a local grocery store, Newleaf in Chicago, for a few years now. We like having fresh, organic fruits and veggies delivered to our door, and we’ve discovered all sorts of recipes for produce we never even knew existed (“Sun choke? What the hell do we do with this?”). What isn’t so great is that if we let a few days slide where we don’t use our produce, we end up with bags of greens wilting and rotting in our refrigerator.
Produce boxes are a wonderful way to eat healthy and support local farms/grocery stores, but it’s a waste of money if you don’t use it up. A lot of people get discouraged and cancel their order when they realize they aren’t eating as much salad as they thought they would.
"Local Raspberries" by mamichan, via flickr
Here are a few tips we’ve learned over the years to make the most of our produce. Granted, we aren’t great at following our own advice 100% of the time, but we keep trying!
Chop It Up!
If you chop up your veggies and greens right away, or at least on the first day you can find some free time to do it, you will have a much easier time using up your produce. When everything is already chopped, rinsed and stored in Ziploc bags in your fridge, eating healthy is just as easy as eating like crap. When you come home exhausted from a day at work, you can reach into your fridge, throw handfuls of chopped veggies into a saucepan, and presto! You have stir fry or soup in minutes! Don’t know what to bring for lunch? Throw chopped lettuce into Tupperware with cherry tomatoes and feta cheese, and off you go (don’t forget an apple or pear before it turns brown in your fruit basket!). Feeling hungry for a snack? Grab the radishes you sliced and dip them in hummus instead of tortilla chips.
Taking the time to chop a bunch of veggies at once sounds like a drag, but if you crank up some music or listen to a podcast, it can become your favorite chore to do. Chopping is always going to be more fun than vacuuming.
Google Is Your Friend.
It’s how we discovered recipes that are now staples for us, such as Swiss Chard and Chick Peas , Sweet Potato and Dandelion Green Gratin, and Beet and Potato Pancakes.
You’ve probably been promising yourself for awhile that you’ll add more greens to your diet. Well, get ready, because greens aren’t just going to be an addition to your diet, they’re going to be the backbone. My husband and I aren’t big on salads, so we’ve had to get creative with greens. Luckily they’re a lot more versatile than we thought…it’s easy to add a handful to stir fries, soups, sandwiches, or just sautéed with garlic. Green smoothies are also a lifesaver for using up what you have before it wilts. Try blending up frozen cherries with vanilla almond milk and baby spinach. Trust me.
When In Doubt, Roast It.
There is absolutely nothing that isn’t delicious when roasted with olive oil, garlic and sea salt. Nothing!
“Purple Corn” by mamichan, via flickr
Jessica Drue was once told by a New Orleans tarot card reader that she is “a middle of the road personality. Everyone gets along with you. And the ones who don’t are bitches.” Follow her exploits at robot-pixie.blogspot.com.
Check out more of mamichan’s photography, including a whole section on local eats, at flickr.com and visit her own site at mamichanmakes. Mamichan also recently posted her own guest article here on Green Penny Pincher on how to Grow Your Own Sprouts.
Visit LocalHarvest.com to learn more about Community-Supported Agriculture and to locate a CSA in your area.
If you are interested in contributing a guest post, or just have an idea for an article you’d like to shoot my way, leave a comment and I’ll get in touch with you, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’D LOVE IT!
Also check out past GPP articles:
Reduce: How to Waste Less Food
Organic Produce: Which to Buy