How many times have you opened you fridge in the hopes of eating a fresh crispy apple and all you could see was a shriveled wrinkly prune-size object that used to be so luscious just yesterday?? Don’t you hate spending all this money on produce and then find it in a few days completely wilted and unappetizing? If only there was a way to bring your veggies back to life!!! Well, listen closely (or should I say “read attentively”) because I know how to make your greens immortal.
As a vegetarian, who eats lots and lots of fruit and vegetables, I always find new ways to keep my produce fresher for longer. Over the years I came up with a few ideas on how to do it effectively.
Always pick fruits and vegetables that are free of bruises, cuts, mold, dark and soft spots and any other visible damage.
Shop at farmers markets! They sell the freshest produce available. You can be sure that food purchased at a local farmers market has been picked and sold within 24-48 hours of harvesting.
Whenever you buy vegetables in bulk – FREEZE THEM! Freezing is a neat technique to use anytime you have extra produce in the fridge.
There are a few easy steps to freezing:
- Wash your vegetables first and then place them in the boiling water for a minute or two.
- Then quickly place them in ice water to stop the cooking process.
- Put your veggies on a paper towel and dry them completely.
- Use plastic bags to store you veggies in the freezer. You can keep them in the freezer for up to 18 months!!
Make SMOOTHIES with leftover fruit and leafy greens. Here is my favorite recipe for an easy-to-make delicious smoothie.
2 cups of spinach
½ – 1 cup of water
And wooalah — smoothie is ready!! Use different combinations of what you have on hand!
AWAKEN AND REFRESH:
Place wilted greens, wrinkly carrots or green beans in an ice water bath. They will awaken and crisp up in about 30 minutes.
You can make mouthwatering pesto with those droopy herbs that you have in the fridge. Pesto is prepared in seconds and can be used as a dip, spread or pasta sauce.
Try this recipe for a quick, inexpensive pesto sauce!
In a food processor (or a blender) pulse until smooth these ingredients:
2 cups of raw herbs (parsley or basil)
3 tablespoons of nuts (peanuts, walnuts, or almonds)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
¼ teaspoon of salt
¼ teaspoon of black pepper
You can always make some spaghetti sauce with leftover vegetables that are about to go bad. I promise, it will taste way better than any store bought tomato sauce. Spaghetti is one of my favorite “go to” meals when I do not want to spend much time in the kitchen.
Here is a recipe for spaghetti sauce!
2 Tbsp of olive oil
½ cup of yellow onion, chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can of no-salt added diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can of crushed tomatoes
¾ cup of carrots
¾ cup of bell peppers
¾ cup of zucchini or squash
¾ cup of cauliflower
1 cup of tomatoes
2 tsp of Italian seasoning (dried oregano, dried basil, dried thyme)
½ tsp of black pepper
Tip: You can use any vegetables available.
1. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in onion, garlic and all the vegetables that you could find in your fridge. Cook until veggies are nice and soft.
2. Crank the heat up to medium high and add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Stir in all the seasonings.
3. Let the sauce cook for about 20 minutes. Don’t forget to stir it occasionally!
4. Remove from heat. You can use it right away or store in the freezer. Remember, the sauce has to cool down completely before you can put in freezer safe containers.
These simple ideas will help you revitalize fruit and vegetables in your fridge!
Polina Novitskaya (ONIE Dietetic Intern)