March 1, 2012 | Home >In the News >5 Ways to Use Your Produce Before It Goes Bad
5 Ways to Use Your Produce Before It Goes Bad
March 1, 2012 | Home >In the News >5 Ways to Use Your Produce Before It Goes Bad

5 Ways to Use Your Produce Before It Goes Bad

March is National Nutrition Month!  Every March I like to assess our lifestyle and decide onI'm Blogging National Nutrition Month one nutrition goal to focus on for my family.  This year, that goal is going to be to eat all our fruits and veggies before they spoil!  This is a great goal for several reasons:

  1. Less Waste!
  2. Save Money!
  3. It means we’d be eating more fruits and vegetables.!

The motivation for this goal, was finding this bag of spinach had gone bad while I wasn’t looking.  I went to add to a salad, and it was too late. You know, slimy and mushy. Booooo.

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So, here are my 5 strategies to accomplish this goal in March.  No spoiling! No throwing away, and lot’s in our tummies.

      1. Check dates, and possibly under ripe items! The first step starts at the store. If purchasing anything in a bag, check the date stamped, and for heavens sake- get the one that has the latest date on it.  Also, when buying fruits or veggies you will portion out for the week, like bananas, buy some that are ripe enough to eat right away, and others that won’t be ready for a few days.
      2. Store produce properly!   If I could cut and paste this entire post I would, but basically, they have a list for items to store in the fridge like apples, apricots, and honeydew.  Items to not store in the fridge like avocados, bananas, peaches, and tomatoes (oops.. I always put tomatoes in the fridge).   Another thing to remember, is if you can avoid it, don’t wash or cut your produce if you want it to last longer.  This is contrary to what we usually teach which is “have it washed and cut ready to eat”, but the idea here is, that it will actually last longer if you leave it as is.
      3. Plan out our meals for the days we will eat which foods.  To be honest, we don’t have to do this with fruit. Fruit gets eaten before it goes bad, every single time.  But veggies, they need to be planned into our week.
      4. Spot check our vegetables anytime I’m in the fridge.  Even if I bought this spinach on Monday, and planned to eat it Wednesday, sometimes it will still turn bad before it is supposed to.  Spot checking will tell us when spoiling is beginning, and then we can do a quick rearranging of our meal ideas and get to it right away.
      5. Last of course is to USE it or LOSE it!   This sometimes means you have to get creative.  If a food is on the verge of spoilage and no one will eat it within the day, I will do one of several alternatives:

**Juice it and freeze for later use in smoothies, broths, or homemade juice.  This is some carrot juice I froze into a shaped mold.  We used it in a carrot-vanilla-banana smoothie.

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Or these cucumber ice cubes can be plopped in some pineapple juice.

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**Puree it and freeze.  I often do this with squash, although I couldn’t find a post where I have.

**Just freeze it as is! Lay out your vegetables or fruit on a cookie sheet. Place in the freezer until the food freezes, independent of one another.  After it’s mostly frozen, then dump into a freezer safe bag.  This way, it won’t clump together.

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So, that is the plan! The trash collector will not find any produce in our trash for the entire month of March!

written by
Amy Roskelley

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Comments(13)
Beth says:

Where did you find those beyond awesome freezer molds? I’d eat the stuff for the shapes if for no other reason!!
PS I love your blogs.

Amy says:

Thanks Beth! IKEA!

[…] too sour, and they were actually right!  But there is no way I was going to let my new goal of “waste no produce in March” be lost with grapes!! I can see us wasting spinach or asparagus, but grapes?  Forget about it! […]

angee says:

Interesting that you posted this. I was just thinking about this exact topic yesterday when I went to use some green onions I had just bought, and they were already BAD! Thanx for the link, as well. Great articles!

(I’m kind of a produce snob. I’m picky about where I purchase my produce–only the best over here!)

[…] March 9, 2012 / no comments   9 days into my goal of wasting no food in March, I think we are doing really great!  Originally, it was to not throw away any produce, but I’ve […]

[…] March 9, 2012 / no comments   9 days into my goal of wasting no food in March, I think we are doing really great!  Originally, it was to not throw away any produce, but I’ve […]

Sarah Tayloe says:

Thanks Amy! This was very informative. Why is it bad to store tomatoes in the fridge? I don’t think I’ve had a problem doing this yet, sometimes it stays in there for a bit longer than I would have hoped.

Amy says:

It seems like they say not to store tomatoes in the fridge, only because the effect they have on the other foods from the gas they release.. (I think!!) But, like you , I’ve never had any trouble 😉

Kelly says:

Tomato cells crystalize and the seeds begin to sprout! Besides they just plain taste awful and texture is mushy compared to those stored outside. Same with potatoes and onions. Their cells produce more starch (think like a plant being stored over winter) Avocados are to be left out until they reach peak ripeness, THEN you can store them in the fridge and get another 1-2 weeks out of them without any issue. Hope this helps. The other thing you can do is start a compost pile/worm farm (your kids will love it), so the guilt I used to have from throwing out a stale loaf of bread or those slimy ends of the bag of spinach was negated a bit. If this compost pile goes back on your garden which produces those fresh greens in summer, then you feel very Zen about it all. 😉

Kelly says:

#6 which is my go to for using up “dead” veges is Minestrone soup. The limp celery, the carrots which have lingered too long, the beans, peas or mushrooms which are starting to look a little spotty – actually anything you have works. A little bit of this and a little bit of that. Start off some stock (that frozen ham bone from easter is good), drop in your favorite presoaked bean mix, cook till al dente. Clean, edit and chop those sad veges. and throw them in the pot with a handful or two of the leftover pasta you have hanging around. Season with some italian seasoning. Volia! a clean vege drawer 🙂

Amy says:

Fantastic article! Thanks for the great tips 🙂

Amber3 says:

You could also compost it and then use it in the garden. That way you will never ‘waste’ anything.

Amy says:

Love it Amber! Of course )

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