Getting more out of your produce

 

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With the failing dollar, I am sure you are all noticing your grocery bills going up steeply. I know I have. So, in an effort to reduce waste and get a little more out of my food budget, I started doing some research and came up with a few simple tips to best use produce:

  1. Pay attention to your fridge’s crisper drawers, which often feature clear humidity settings for fruits and vegetables. Be sure to separate and store your produce properly, as certain fruits and vegetables can cause others to spoil faster.
  2. It may sound a little gross, but avoid washing your produce right away. The added moisture can encourage rot.
  3. Buy Local! This may not be feasible for everyone, whether related to product affordability or location, but when possible locally grown produce is often better quality and generally has reduced transport time, so your food will last longer.
  4. Buy “young” food. If you don’t need to use it all right away, buying young produce and letting it mature a little will give you some extra time. Additionally, some younger foods hold more nutrition than their older counterparts, e.g. baby spinach.
  5. Don’t over prep. Pre-cut fruits and veggies, when exposed to oxygen for a day, lose 10-25% of their antioxidants, like vitamin c. It may be convenient to cut all your veg at once, but you are cheating yourself of nutrients and speeding up the degradation process.
  6. Fruits and vegetables are best eaten in their natural form. If you must cook, in order to get the best bang for your buck, do not over cook. Try methods such as steaming instead of boiling or nuking in the microwave.
  7. If you aren’t able to use all your produce fast enough, freeze it. I know it doesn’t always sound like the most appealing solution, but it is definitely better than letting good food go to waste. If done properly and while your produce is still fresh, the produce will also retain most of it’s nutrients.
  8. Juicing at home? Juice only what you need. I know it can be tempting to juice extra, but research shows you get the best bang for your buck when you drink it right away.

 

Those are just some general tips. If you are looking for more specific information, I am rounded up some great links to get you rolling (below). Remember: waste not – want not.

 

http://www.thekitchn.com/the-kitchns-guide-to-storing-fruits-and-vegetables-tip-roundup-176308

http://www.thekitchn.com/seize-the-season-freezing-fresh-vegetables-171376

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http://cleangreensimple.com/2011/05/storing-food-and-produce/