Whether you’re getting seasonal produce from the farmers market, grocery store, or even CSA box, it can be overwhelming at times figuring out how to use it all.
There are many benefits to eating seasonally: it’s more nutrient dense, it tastes better, it’s more affordable, and you’re supporting local farmers. But sometimes we get carried away, buying WAY more vegetables than we can handle, and they end up going bad in the fridge.
Over the years we’ve identified some ways to help avoid that, because no one likes wasted health food!
Here’s what we got…
5 Tips to Make the Most of Your Seasonal Produce
Store Your Produce in Bags & Bins
This is a simple way to keep your delicate produce from wilting and going flat. If left out in the open, even in the fridge, your veggies will go limp – and nobody will eat those! Stuff your refrigerator bins and bring out your old plastic shopping bags if you have to – this will save you from losing the fresh, crispy, beautiful, delicious produce you could be eating later in the week!
Make a game plan to use it all
It takes commitment to figure out what you’re going to do with everything, but over time it becomes automatic. Here’s what we got in our CSA box this week, and our strategy for how we’re going to use it up:
- Spring Mix – salads for Monday and Tuesday
- Cabbage – stir fry for Tuesday and a Chinese Chickenless Salad on Thursday
- Avocados – not ripe until this weekend, we’ll be having Mexican and use these for guacamole
- Spinach – smoothies for Monday – Wednesday
- Purple Carrots – use in this week’s juice and salads
- Celery – use in juice and potato salad on Wednesday
- Lemons – use in morning lemon water
- Strawberries – make strawberry chia jam for homemade scones on Sunday
- Snap Peas – use in Tuesday’s stir fry, and as a snack for Sarah
Set a goal for it to be gone
This can work exceptionally well. The moment your box arrives, it’s game on. Your mission is to use up everything you have in the next 5 days. If you get your produce on Sunday, set your intention to have it all used up by Thursday. Take Friday and Saturday off, and get more seasonal goods on Sunday to do it again the following week.
A strategy like this makes it more sustainable, and balanced in your hectic life. There’s less pressure to cook every single day, but you’re still eating well for the majority of the week.
Juice & Blend the Extras
As you probably already know, we drink green juice/smoothies on the daily, so when we have an opportunity to use up the loose ends, we do! Here are some examples of how we use up the extras:
- Juice collard stems leftover from wraps (as in our sweet potato salad wraps)
- Juice beet greens
- Juice broccoli/cauliflower stems*
- Juice dandelion greens*
- Juice kohlrabi stems*
- Blend kale stems leftover from kale chips (use along with spinach or chard)
*These items are very powerful, a little goes a long way
Cut Yourself some slack
If you buy up a storm at the farmers market and don’t use it all before it goes bad, don’t let it get you down.
We too have stuff that goes bad before we can use it. A good example is bitter greens, such as mustard and dandelion – if you’re able to use 1/2 of what you get, you’re doing good! These bitter varieties are far more nutritious than other leafy greens, being more medicinal, so the powerful punch you do get will balance out the fact that you didn’t use them all up.
So there you have it, our top 5 ways to get more from your farm fresh fare.