Do you suffer from veggie stress?
You know, veggies you bought at the grocer’s with every good intention to prepare and eat, yet somehow haven’t gotten to before they started to rot?
Raise your hand if you’ve never had a vegetable or fruit rot on you before you could eat it or figure out how to incorporate it into a meal. Well, you are not alone… The New York Times came out with an interesting article on this very matter:
What should be a beautiful and inspiring sight — your kitchen, overflowing with seasonal produce — is sometimes an intimidating tableau of anxiety. The knobbly piles and dirt-caked bunches are overwhelming. Already the peak-ripe multicolored peppers are developing soft spots; the chard is wilting and the race is on.
“People often feel overwhelmed in the kitchen, and when all this produce suddenly arrives, they panic,” said Ronna Welsh, a chef in Brooklyn who teaches workshops on, among other topics, produce management. read more…
Here are some helpful suggestions to make the most of your produce.
1. Buy smaller amounts of produce more frequently.
2. Wash leafy greens before storing in the fridge.
3. Don’t wash herbs, berries, and mushrooms until usage – they will rot even faster.
4. Store fruit and vegetables separately. As fruit ripen, they release ethylene, which increases the rate of ripening/spoilage for nearby vegetables. (You can also use this to your advantage if you need to ripen an avocado overnight – place it in a brown paper bag with 2 apples on your counter top)
5. Some produce does not ripen any more once refrigerated – stone fruit (not cherries), melons, mangoes, apples, pears, avocados and tomatoes. Consider moving them to the fridge once they are ripe enough.
6. Knife skills. Buy an expensive chef’s knife that won’t dull after 2 weeks. Practice your cutting skills so that you won’t be intimidated by prep time required to make a salad or sauteed vegetables. A bit of practice and you can reduce your veggie preparation time by 50%-75%.
7. When in doubt – use sliced and diced veggies as a colorful addition to pizza topping.
8. Smoothies – many an overripe banana, strawberry, etc… are perfectly fine for consumption but for the yuck factor. Throw them into a blender with low fat yogurt, ice cubes, and as little honey as you can, for a yummy tasty treat.
9. Schedule the day/hour of your veggie purchase to when you have some free time to care for them. Weekend mornings, for example.
10. Pre-cook as many of your veggies as you can the day you get them – peel, place on a roasting pan and drizzle some olive oil plus salt, then roast until soft. Now your veggies are ready to be added to any dish during the week.
How do you make the best of your produce?