What Do You Do with Fruits and Veggies that are Getting Brown or Soft?
By Michelle Sala, Integrative Health Coach
You probably went shopping last weekend and now it’s Friday and you have leftovers and food you still have not prepared. Am I right? What do you do with that wilting kale and leftover chicken?
Did you know that the average American family throws out $1600 worth of food a year? Americans have a low tolerance for brown, bruised, and wilted fruits and vegetables.
When you cook fruits and vegetables you are further ‘wilting’ them and speeding up the breakdown process. It doesn’t matter if they are already soft when you go to cook them. Here are some ideas for your sad looking produce:
Brown bananas – make banana bread! Don’t have time right this minute? Cut them up in pieces and put in a freezer bag in the freezer. Use frozen chunks for smoothies. You won’t need as much ice when you make your smoothie if you use frozen fruit.
Blueberries, strawberries or other berries – if they are starting to get a little soft but not moldy, put them in a freezer bag and freeze for smoothies or frozen treats.
Brown peaches or nectarines? Make a cobbler!
Too many carrots, onions, celery, kale, zucchini – make soup! If you feel it’s a bit warm for soup, freeze it for when the weather begins to cool down. Sauté chopped onions, carrots, and celery. And a few cloves of smashed garlic. Add hearty greens that have been chopped like beet greens, kale, swiss chard. Add any other vegetables that are tired from your fridge. Add your favorite stock or water, enough to cover what’s in the pot. Season with your favorite herbs and salt and pepper. Cumin and turmeric are my usual go to-s. Simmer until vegetables are the desired consistency. You may add bean, pasta or rice to your pot if you’d like.
Another great use for too many zucchinis is to use a spiralizer and make zoodles! Sauté in a pan big enough to hold it all and cook until tender. Top with your favorite pasta sauce.
Clean out the fridge frittata – chop up a mixture of peppers, onions, mushrooms, kale, spinach or any vegetables or herbs that need to be used up. Sauté in pan with rounded edges. If you have any leftover meat like sausage, bacon, ground beef, you can add that to the pan. Add enough beaten eggs (add salt and pepper) to cover mixture. While it’s on medium heat, cover the pan with a lid. Check it about every 5 minutes until set. When it’s semi-set, you can add some cheese of your choice at that time. You can also transfer the pan to the oven if it’s oven safe and bake in the oven at 350° until set. Time depends on how much is in your pan. Frittatas keep in the fridge and re-heat really well for a few days! Great for lunch and a light dinner.
Stir fry meals are a quick way to use up vegetables on the verge of being thrown out. Onions, carrots, peppers, greens, zucchini, mushrooms, and left-over chicken or beef can make a great combo. Make some rice to go along with it.
I hope you can follow my loose recipes – Sorry, I’m Italian and we don’t have recipes for this kind of stuff! We just throw stuff together and it seems to work most of the time!
So, don’t be afraid of brown stuff. Cut out the brown and give those fruits and veggies a second chance!