Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Uncharacteristically efficient

We just started getting delivery of organic produce.

To our front steps.

Could anything be better?

I'm thrilled with Door to Door Organics so far. (If you are in Colorado, Kansas City, Michigan or on the East Coast, check them out!)

It has been great for our meal-planning, healthy-eating, and saving-the-Earth-ness. (Too far? Maybe. But, I do feel better.)

However ... to the point ... I generally hate to waste food, and I find it especially repulsive to waste organic food. I am liking our composter for the kitchen scraps, but it can be a challenge to use up every bit of the fresh fruit and veggies before the next box arrives.

So, here are a few of my new strategies:

Blanch veggies and flash freeze
I happened to be cooking some pasta for dinner, and it occurred to me that I should just use that already boiling water to cook some broccoli and cauliflower that we wouldn't get to before it went bad. I pulled out the pasta, threw in the veggies, and let it cook for about 2 minutes. I drained the veggies and spread them out on a kitchen towel on a big cookie sheet. After they cooled to room temp, I put them in the freezer all spread out. After fully frozen, I tucked them away in a freezer bag for future use. I have thawed just a few pieces in the microwave for Girly's dinner, or will likely thaw a bigger amount and mix into mac and cheese or something.

Slushy fruit soup
This sounds kind of fancy, right? It isn't at all. We had a bunch of fruit leftover from a party - pineapple, oranges, kiwis, strawberries - and it was starting to look dismal. I put it all together in our Magic Bullet and then froze the blended fruit in ice cube trays. I thaw 2-3 cubes in the fridge, or just barely zap them in the microwave. It's a good, refreshing treat and good for spoon practice.

Frozen berries
Girly loves, loves, loves berries. They do seem to spoil faster than most fruit, though. If I have extra that I don't think we'll get to, I just freeze them spread out on a cookie sheet (or even better, the plastic lid to a tupperware container or something so they don't stick). You can thaw them to mix with yogurt, but Girly likes them frozen and chopped up. A cool treat!

I'm usually not good at this pre-planning business, but it does kill two birds with one stone: avoids wasting food AND gives you quick meals for the kiddos!