Gather Round Vegetable Enthusiasts!

Ever wonder what to do with a .. Turnip? Tomato? Bag of Kale? Or any other seemingly complex produce item???


Fear not, we've got you covered!

It can be so confusing and overwhelming when you unpack a bunch of random vegetables from the Grocery Store, Farmer's Market or CCF share. What do you do with everything? How should these things be stored? How do you cook them? So many questions. It gets even more perplexing when you realize that all of this produce will go bad quickly if not consumed.

So what's the deal? How do you handle these dilemmas?

First off, know your audience. How many people are you feeding? Will they be interested in eating vegetables? Eliminating food waste before it's created is extremely important when thinking about how to reduce your consumption (see our Food Waste blog post).

Next, do your research. It doesn't make sense to purchase random fruits and vegetables that you aren't familiar with. Give 'em a thorough background check before purchasing.  This way you will know the different ways to use and store them.

Thirdly, know your 'tools of the Kitchen'! Knowing your instruments of the kitchen is extremely important when it comes to food storage, preparation, and disposal. Here are some idea's for the most necessary tools you'll need in your kitchen...



Storage 

-Refrigerator:

   Purpose: Keeping produce chilled and resistant to mold and bacteria.
 
  What items: greens,  beans, peas, beets, radishes, turnips, carrots, berries, herbs, cucumbers, grapes etc.

-Basket, Big Bowl or Tupperware:

    Purpose: NOT ALL PRODUCE NEEDS TO BE REFRIGERATED... produce that doesn't need to be refrigerated allows produce to ripen faster.
 
    What items: tomatoes, avocados, apples, onions, garlic, potatoes, squash, etc.

-Ceramic Garlic Container:

    Purpose: Keeps garlic cool, dry and fresh.
 
    What items: garlic!

 -Plastic Bags (can be reused):
    
    Purpose: Keeping produce crisp and contained.  Keeping greens such as lettuce and kale contained in plastic baggies in the crisper of a fridge increases its storage life.
 
    What items: herbs, carrots, greens, berries etc.

- Freezer Bags (can be reused):

    Purpose: Great way to store a wide variety of veggies for several months and throughout winter.

    What items: beets, onions, radishes, kale, turnips, berries, etc...

- Cellar
   
    Purpose:  Long term storage of dried (cured) onions and squashes.  These vegetables will store upwards of six months in a cellar that is cool and dry.

    What items: onions, garlic, winter squashes, pie pumpkins.


Preparation 

-Salad Spinner or Colander: 
    
    Purpose: Clean greens thoroughly. 
   
    What items: Lettuce, Cabbage, Spinach, Kale etc.

- Nylon Brush: 
   
    Purpose: Clean produce thoroughly.
 
    What items: Beets, Potatoes, Turnips, Carrots.

-Blender and/or Food Processor

     Purpose: Making sauces, smoothies, pestos, soups, drinks. 
 
    What items: Any produce.. dependent on recipe.

-Stainless steel pan: 

    Purpose: Sautéing vegetables, cooking protein, pan-frying, toasting etc.
 
    What items: Any produce.. dependent on recipe.

-Baking Sheet:

     Purpose: Baking, toasting, roasting. 
 
    What items: Any produce (the best: sweet potatoes, beets, turnips, kale).. dependent on recipe.


Disposal 

-Compost Can/Pail:

     Purpose: Compost storage for organic food waste in kitchen.
 
    What items: Any vegetable produce/food scraps.

-Outdoor Compost Pile/Bin:

    Purpose: For larger compost storage outside. Allows for the eventual formation of soil fertilizer through decomposition.
 
    What items: Any produce/food scraps from indoor compost can/pail. 

-Recycle Bin:

    Purpose: Recycle paper, glass, tin and plastic goods **THAT ARE CLEAN/WITHOUT FOOD SCRAPS**.
 
   What items: Cardboard, cans, glass bottles, plastic packaging, newspaper, magazines etc. 

-Trash Can:

    Purpose: For throwing the rest of the garbage out... 
 
    What items: Paper towel styrofoam, dirty recyclables, tissues, napkins, cartons etc.



These are just a few of the items that you should have to properly approach the Storage, Preparation and Disposal of produce and other goods. Use these tips and tricks when approaching the summertime as it is a great time to begin leading a healthier, more environmentally sustainable lifestyle!


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