What do you have
Produce that is at its prime but ready to start turning rotten. Potatoes with gashes in them from the farm equipment. Broccoli with a hint of yellow. Think the stuff the grocery store puts on sale to get it out the door quickly.
Before you cook
Go through the produce and look for anything that’s got weird mold growing on it, broken skin or is way past the eating point. Toss that stuff out immediately. The longer it stays with your good food, the most chance it has to spread whatever turned it rotten to the other produce.
Quick ways to preserve your foods
- Mash and freeze: I do this with mushy foods, like avocado, berries or cooked squash. Mash up you veggies and put servings in ice cube trays. Freeze until hard, then pop your food cubes out. They can be stored as little blocks on a freezer bag. You can dethaw them and use them as needed. When using avocado for this, add a little lemon juice to your mash before freezing to prevent it from browning. I use this a lot when I made baby food. I also take the cubes and add them to food while I’m cooking to add creaminess and color to my dishes
- Freezing, pickling: Make salsas and jams and freeze them for a month or so until they are needed. I tend to search through websites such as Skinny Taste and Healthy Delicious to find recipes, as well as those affiliated with a produce (i.e. for fig recipes I visit the California Fig Advisory Board). If I have some cucumbers, radishes, carrots or cauliflower that are questionable, I cut them up and throw them into a jar of pickle juice. After a day or so, I have pickled vegetables.
- Freeze: If you want to freeze vegetables, there is some work involved. Wash and dry your produce. For fruit, like cherries or blueberries, you need to put them on a plastic tray and freeze them individually for an hour or so. Then you can put them in a freezer bag. If you skip the first part, they’ll freeze into a clump. For veggies, you need to blanch them. Basically, you get a big pot and a slotted spoon. Fill the pot with water and heat the water to a boil. Put the veggies into the pot for a minute or so and then use the slotted spoon to get them out. Dry the veggies off. Then freeze them in a single layer on the plastic baking sheet. Once frozen you can put them into freezer bags for storage.
This works well with root vegetables and hard stuff, like broccoli, potato, squash, carrots and beets.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut you veggies into uniform pieces. Place veggies, single layer onto a baking sheet. Drizzle on your favorite oil — olive oil tastes better, although I use oil spray. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the vegetables to taste.
Cook the vegetables in the oven for about 40 minutes, until the center of the vegetable is soft. With broccoli, you cook it for 20-25 minutes until the florets get a little brown on them.
This is an adaptation of a recipe from Healthy Delicious. This was recommended by Skirt Sports Ambassador Kate Edder Senecal.
• 1 Tbs plus 1 tsp oil, divided
• 2 large cloves garlic, minced
• 1 Tbs ginger, grated (you’ll need less if you have ground ginger)
• 4 cups leftover cooked rice
• 1 pepper, diced
• 2 cups of whatever veggies you have
• 6 oz already cooked meat, cubed
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 3 tablespoons soy sauce
In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 Tbs oil until very hot. Add garlic and ginger and cook until softened and fragrant. Add rice, peppers, vegetables and meat. Cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Create a well in the center of the pan. Heat remaining oil, then add egg. Cook egg until nearly fully scrambled. Add soy sauce. Stir everything around so that it is all incorporated. Serves at least 4.
Egg omelette muffins
Fellow Skirt Sports Ambassador Tory Watson recommended quiche as a use for bruised produce. I like these egg omelette muffins a bit better than quiches. This is an adaptation from Skinny Taste.
- nonstick cooking spray
- 9 large eggs
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 3 strips cooked chopped bacon or ham
- 1/4 cup each of four of your favorite soft vegetables (i.e. onion, pepper, mushroom) You’ll have a total of a cup of veggies.
- 2 oz. shredded cheese
Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray the muffin tins with cooking spray.
In a large bowl whisk the eggs, season with salt and pepper.
Mix in the remaining ingredients.
Fill and place tins on a cookie sheet and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until set.
I hope this helps get your creative juices going when it comes to making easy, healthyish meals. Next week, we’ll be looking at recipes that use eggs as the main protein source. If you have a food that you want to featured, feel free to drop a comment or send me an email.