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Use up your fresh veggies!

Use up your fresh veggies!


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By Ren Behan

I’m always looking for ways to use up fresh veggies since there are always great offers to be found on seasonal vegetables or at the farmers’ market. If you sign up to a veg box scheme or are a keen home-grower, you might also have some unusual veg to use up or be blessed with a glut.

Soups and salads are the way forward when it comes to using up lots of veggies. I always have the basics to hand; onions, celery and carrots. All you need then are a few fresh herbs and pretty much any vegetables you have to use up can be added in too. At this time of year, a Spring Minestrone is a great recipe to play around with. Jamie uses a whole host of veggies including fennel, asparagus, Romanesco cauliflower, baby courgettes, plum tomatoes, spring onions, garlic, green beans, yellow beans, peas and broad beans – but you can add whatever spring vegetables you have to hand. Adding spaghetti turns this soup into an easy one-pot meal and you can add some tinned beans, such as cannellini beans or green lentils to make it go even further.

Lots of vegetables can also be chargrilled or put on the BBQ. Courgettes, aubergine, peppers, fennel, asparagus and red onions all work well. You can either slice your veggies thinly lengthways or chop them into chunks and spike them onto some skewers. A simple dressing of lemon juice, olive oil and a few fresh herbs will also lift the flavours, or follow the steps in Jamie’s Rive Café inspired recipe for Chargrilled marinated vegetables. Once you have grilled your vegetables, you can serve them hot or cold. They make a great jacket potato filling topped high with cream cheese. For a summer picnic, slice a freshly baked loaf in half lengthways and fill it up with your grilled veggies, or simply serve your veggies with cooked pasta or cous cous as a tasty salad.

Finally, stir-frying is another great way to use up almost any kind of vegetables. The trick is to slice your vegetables as thinly as possible so that they take just a few minutes in a hot pan or wok to cook. Jamie’s recipe for Stir-fried vegetables with cabbage, chillies, garlic, mange tout and water chestnuts is one of our family favourites, all finished off with a drizzle of sesame oil and a generous helping of sesame seeds.

Ren Behan is a mum of two and a food writer – find out more at www.renbehan.com


9 Ways to Use Up Old Fruits and Veggies

1. Tomatoes
Chop mushy tomatoes up and use them to make a pasta sauce, which you can eat right away, keep in the fridge for 2 to 3 days, or freeze for up to 6 months. Or, use them in lieu of ketchup as a fresher-tasting base for homemade BBQ sauce.

2. Grapes
Once grapes have started to go soft, wash and dry them, take them off the stem, and place them in a resealable plastic freezer bag. Once frozen, the little treats are great for snacking on (like little sorbet bon bons) or cooling &mdash but not watering &mdash down drinks, like sangria.

3. Berries
For berries like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, freeze them on a tray and then transfer them to a resealable plastic bag (freezing them on a tray first will keep them from freezing into one giant blob). Use them in smoothies, quick jams, or thaw and serve on ice cream or pound cake.

4. Herbs
Are your herbs getting that sad, floppy look? Puree them with just enough oil to get the blender going and freeze the mixture in a shallow container for up to 6 months. Scoop out spoonfuls of the mixture for a hit of fresh herbs in marinades, sauces, and dressings.

5. Zucchini/Yellow Summer Squash
Once the skin starts to give when you squeeze it, slice them up, toss with just enough oil to coat lightly, and sprinkle with a few pinches of salt and pepper. Grill (about 3 to 4 minutes) or roast (about 15 minutes) on high heat until they're browned and tender. They'll keep in your fridge for another 3 to 4 days, ready to be tossed &mdash reheated or not &mdash into pasta salads, green salads, or sandwiches.

6. Apples
When they start to get a little mealy, grate them into salads and slaws for some healthy crunch, tang, and sweetness.

7. Bananas
We all know brown, mushy bananas are the best for banana bread. But when you're not in the mood for banana bread, simply peel and mash them, then transfer the mixture to a freezer bag and freeze it. Use it later for smoothies, banana daiquiris, baby food, or, yes, banana bread.

8. Citrus
Citrus lasts a long time in your crisper (anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks), but if you're pushing that 2-week mark, you can still make use of every bit of it. Grate the zest off the outside (the parts that aren't brown) and freeze in a resealable bag for later use. Next, squeeze the juice out of the fruit. In the fridge, that juice will last you at least a few more days, but if you know you won't use it before then, freeze the juice in an ice cube tray in 2 teaspoon portions for adding hits of citrusy zing to soups, sauces, or iced drinks.

9. Cucumbers, Peppers, Radishes, and Carrots
These sturdy veggies last awhile in the fridge, but, when they start to turn, it's pickling time! Trim them, taking off any brown spots, and slice them about 1/4-inch thick. In a small saucepan, heat up 1 cup white vinegar, 1/3 cup sugar, and 3 tablespoons salt on high, stirring to fully dissolve. Cool slightly. Place the sliced vegetables in a 16-ounce container (if you have a lot of old veggies, use a quart-size jar and double the pickling liquid). Cover the veggies with the still-warm liquid. If there's not enough to cover, add a little water. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Use these pickles in salads or sandwiches, eat them as a snack, or serve them alongside burgers. They'll keep in the fridge in the liquid for 2 weeks. Feel free to add a few whole garlic cloves, a teaspoon of pickling spices, or a few pinches of crushed red pepper flakes to the liquid when simmering for some extra zip.

Don't forget: Be sure to label anything you freeze with the date and contents.

TELL US: What do you use old produce for?

Sherry Rujikarn is the assistant food editor in the Good Housekeeping test kitchen.


Wait! What Is a CSA?

CSA stands for community-sponsored agriculture. It’s a way to commit to a whole season of eating plenty of fresh, local produce, and it’s a way for a small family farm to ensure steady demand for the crops throughout the season.

Buying a CSA share is like subscribing to a magazine. You sign up for a certain period of time and make one or a few payments. You receive a box of food each week—whatever’s ripe!

How do CSAs work? The details vary, but most CSAs are approximately like mine:

Every Wednesday, from June through November, Kretschmann Farm drops off crates of vegetables at selected locations in the East End of Pittsburgh. Our location is a detached garage 8 blocks from home—just slightly too far to walk while carrying the heavy crate! Our next-door neighbors, who also have a share in the farm, pick up our crate as well as theirs when driving home from work. Each wooden crate is labeled with the family’s name. Each family is assigned two crates, so we bring back last week’s empty crates when we pick up full ones.

The crate label also includes abbreviated notes on what we like and don’t like. The farmers try to throw in a little more of our favorites and less of our disliked items…but we usually do get something we wouldn’t have chosen to buy. This has greatly expanded the range of food we eat!

Of course, over the years we’ve learned what the farm typically grows and approximately when things are in season. Tomatoes, for instance, start around July first, become very abundant in August, and gradually lessen in September. We get lots of spinach and kale in June, then none until a second round in late summer, and kale continues into the fall.

However, even after years of experience, it’s hard to predict what veggies will appear in our crate each week. As the weather varies from year to year, some crops are earlier or later than normal. The farmers might choose to plant more or less of a certain crop because of its popularity last year, or they might try something new. Various blights and exciting farm accidents (most recently, a cylindrical hay bale that rolled across the hilly farm, crushing many plants!) also have an impact on the crops.


95 Ways to Eat More Veggies

It can be easy to say, "I'm going to eat more vegetables." But when it comes down to it, many of us fall short of our daily needs. Pack in the veggies, and the flavor, with these 95 creative ways to boost your meals, drinks, and snacks.

1. Let seasonal produce shine. Our Spring Vegetable Grain Bowl, which uses raw shaved veggies as well as English peas, creates a whole-grain meal packed with nutrients.

2. Plant your own vegetable garden. It&aposs hard to avoid eating healthier when fresh fruits and veggies are growing in your own backyard.

Struggling to cook healthy? We'll help you prep.

3.򠿪ture a new vegetable each week. Experiment with new and seasonal vegetables, and invite friends over to try new dishes together.

4.ꂺg the bread and instead wrap your sandwich inside a leafy green, or try one of these healthy lettuce wrap recipes.

5. Cook more greens. Chef Jenn Louis&apos਌ookbook The Book of Greens boasts an encyclopedic yet engaging collection of recipes for everything from kale and collards to tatsoi and purslane.

6. Pick your own seasonal produce or visit the farmers&apos market for a fun weekend activity to get up close and personal with farmers and their crops.

7. Dine in for date-night dinner. Forget the steak. In our Shiitake and Asparagus Sauté with Poached Eggs recipe, earthy, meaty shiitake mushrooms balance lemony asparagus and a rich, perfectly poached egg for a meal portioned for two.

8. Pack them into pasta sauce. Vegetables like mushrooms, onions, and peas can amp up theਏlavor and nutrients.਌onsider starting with our Mostly Veggie Pasta with Sausage recipe. We reverse the typical meat to marinara ratio and use sausage as the flavor agent instead of the base and add in plenty of vegetables.

9.ਏish-free sushi isn&apost just cheaper to make, it also gives you a chance to really pack in the vegetables. Shiitake mushrooms, avocado, and cucumber are just a few of our favorites.

10. Dress for success਋y shaking together a few pantry staples to create additive-free, lower-sodium dressings that are perfect for veggie dipping or tossing.

Take advantage of this delicious fruit.

11.਋lend them into your favorite smoothie. Check out our Best Green Smoothie Recipes.

12. Add them to eggs. Vegetables make excellent򠫝itions to omelets, frittatas, and breakfast sandwiches. Eggs are already a great source of protein, so up the nutrition factor by filling them full of colorful vegetables.

13. Sneak them into your morning muffin. These zucchini muffins make a delicious breakfast on-the-go.

14. Toss them in a stir-fry, like our Szechuan Tofu with Cauliflower for a quick and easy dish for Meatless Monday.

15. Save the stalks. Stalks from broccoli and cauliflower are edible and eye-openingly delicious. Save outer peels for stock, and shave the stems into salads, or sauté, roast, or steam them just as you would the florets.

16. Swap your usual salad, and optਏor a vegetable salad. We use a mandoline in our Baby Vegetable Salad to create thin, even slices dressed with olive oil, honey, lemon juice, as well as fresh tarragon and dill.

17. Shred up a slaw.�ge is the classic go-to, but other veggies like zucchini or bok choy make wonderful slaw side dishes.

18.ਊmp up your cheese board with the addition of vegetables. Thinly sliced cucumbers and radishes make for excellent palate cleansers, and any pickled veggies will create a balanced board. 

19.਋uy a CSA Box. Support your community਋y purchasing a਌ommunity Supported Agriculture (CSA) box filled with seasonal fruits and vegetables from local farmers and usually available for weekly delivery.

20. Stir them into a stew. Our saucy Chicken and Poblano Stew with Polenta is a Mexican twist on Italian comfort food, especially when served over creamy polenta.

21. Get juiced by creating drinkable vegetables. Recover from a late night, or just pump up your morning, with flavorful veggie juices. Juicing is a great way to get a serving—or two—of plant-based nutrients in a single glass.

22. Stuff them into sandwiches. Rich in vitamins and antioxidants, vegetables also add nice crunch and flavor to sandwiches.

23. Feature them in spring-inspired cakes. Vegetable cakes, that is. We combine zucchini, and shrimp in our Zucchini and Shrimp Cakes then top them with a Snap Pea Relish.

24. Rethink your steak. Go entirely plant-based at dinnertime by opting for Broccoli Steaks or Cauliflower Steaks.

25. Turn them into chips. Whether you&aposre thinking zucchini, beet, or sweet potato, our healthy homemade chips help you eat more veggies and save you tons of fat and sodium.

26. Learn how to create beautiful salads that are balanced, colorful, and brilliantly simple.

27. Snack your way through dinner with our favorite new trend. Load up a sheet pan with fresh veggies, fruit, and other goodies to make a DIY dish that the whole family will love. 

28. Pickle and preserve them. Turn surplus veggies into a quick pickle to use throughout the week—or a sealed batch to last months.

29.ꃪt by color. Make the effort to eat a colorful diet, and you&aposll eat more fruits and vegetables.

30. Savor them in a meatless main, like our Chickpea Panzanella filled with artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, and red onion.

31.ꂭopt a plant-forward approach to Mexican food with smoky salsa, satisfying veggie tacos, and saucy enchiladas.

32. Bake them into a tart or savory pie. By pairing a load of vegetables with a little meat and sauce, you&aposve automatically got a filling and nutritious meal. 

33. Snack on them as you cook. Toss potato, carrot, and parsnip peels with a little oil, salt, and pepper, and bake at 400ଏ for 10 minutes or until browned and crisp. They&aposre delicious!

34. Stuff them into lean cuts of meat. High-flavor ingredients like fresh baby spinach embellishes our succulent pork loin in an elegant slow cooker main.

36. Go frozen. It&aposs always vegetable season in your freezer, and frozen still boasts stellar nutritional value.

37. Pulverize them for a quick dip. Sweet peas offset the kicky heat of wasabi in our Pea and Wasabi Dip𠅊 zippy alternative to hummus.

38. Swap sweet potatoes for wheat-products. Sweet Potato Crust Quiche is a reader favorite, while thinly slicing the tuber and toasting it can also make for a great gluten-free breakfast option. 

39. Make stock. Save tough outer peels and snipped parts of turnips, rutabagas, squash, and beans mushroom stems bell pepper scraps and other odds and ends to make vegetable stock.

40. Whip out waffles to keep your daily vegetable-intake going. Sweet potato waffles can be dressed up to be sweet or savory, and you can always add a bit of shredded zucchini to your family&aposs favorite recipe for a zucchini bread-like twist.



If your vegetables aren’t holding their shape, there’s nothing better than blending them up! Make a green juice by adding them to other fresh ingredients or mix into your favorite smoothie blend. They’ll still have nutrient value, despite looking a little rough, and by not cooking them, you’re keeping more of those nutrients still intact!


Please note: Check for signs of mold or sliminess beforehand and toss if they’re no longer edible! Minimising food wastage is important, but it’s also important to protect yourself from food poisoning!


Are you looking for the ultimate crash course in nutrition? Discover the free online masterclass and tune in today.

James Colquhoun is the filmmaker behind Food Matters, Hungry For Change, and Transcendence Seasons 1 & 2 and founder of Food Matters and FMTV. Along with Laurentine ten Bosch, James founded the Food Matters community …


10 Great Ways to Use Up Fresh Basil

Pick up a bunch (or two!) of this fragrant herb while it’s in season. The toughest part is deciding how you’ll want to use it—there are just so many good ways.

Pick up a bunch (or two!) of this fragrant herb while it's in season. And don't worry about how you'll manage to use it all—there are just so many delicious ways.

Pesto

Go the traditional route and whip up a mean pesto sauce. Use as a condiment or as a sauce for fish or pasta dishes.

Photo by: Seksak Kerdkanno/ EyeEm/Getty Images

Seksak Kerdkanno/ EyeEm/Getty Images

Infused Oil

Infuse your favorite olive oil with basil. It only takes a few minutes!

TOMATO, MOZZARELLA AND BASIL BRUSCHETTA, Giada De Laurentiis, EverydayItalian/Cocktail Party, Food Network, Whole Tomatoes, Basil, Olive Oil, Garlic, Baguettes,Mozzarella

Appetizers

Having a few guests over? Whip up simple finger foods using fresh basil leaves.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Vegetable Soups

Whip up a batch of a summer veggie soup--add ribbons of chopped basil for more seasonal flair.

Photo by: Alice Gao ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Alice Gao, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Salads

Basil pairs nicely with a wide variety of seasonal veggies. Just chop and toss into your favorite salad.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Pizza

Toss whole basil leaves on your favorite pizza when it's hot out of the oven. Delicious!

FNK_ThaiShrimpStirFryWithTomatoesAndBasil_H

Food Network Kitchen's Thai Shrimp Stir-fry with Tomatoes and Basil for LESSONS FROM GRANDMA/MICROWAVE VEGGIES/CHICKEN SOUP, as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Renee Comet ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, © 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Fish & Seafood Dishes

Tomato and basil are a match made in seafood heaven. Combine with shrimp or halibut for a delicious main dish.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Sides

Use aromatic basil to punch up your everyday sides.

Frozen Desserts

Basil also goes well with fruit like watermelon, lime, lemon, mango and strawberries. Combine for variety of mouthwatering frozen treats.

Photo by: Jason Clairy ©Clairy Productions Inc.

Jason Clairy, Clairy Productions Inc.

Cocktails

Don't forget your cocktails! Muddle basil into lemon or berry-based drinks to balance out the sweetness.

What to Look For

At the market, choose basil with bright green leaves and avoid those with black, brown or yellow spots.

How to Store

Once you get home, place the cut stems in a container of water and keep it on the windowsill for about a week. The water should be changed every other day. You can also store basil wrapped in a damp paper towel in the refrigerator drawer for up to 4 days.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition.


Garden-Fresh Recipes

If you’re anything like me, then you grow a massive amount of fruit and vegetables every year and are always looking for new ways to use them up. I put this list together in hopes of helping other gardeners who want some new recipes to add to their summertime harvest collection.

I also made it for myself as a reference for when I’m staring at a mountain of zucchini and suddenly forget how to use it all before it goes bad. I originally posted this list in July of 2018, but have since updated it with lots of new recipes for your convenience.

I hope this list of garden harvest recipes is helpful for you and if you like this post, don’t forget to check out some of my other popular articles before you leave such as 25 Old-Fashioned Recipes Your Grandma Knew by Heart and 6 Powerful Life Lessons Learned from my Thrifty Grandma.

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How to Air Fry Tender Vegetables

Any quick cooking veggie will fall into the Tender Vegetable category. These are great for busy weeknights when you need to get a vegetable on the table! It includes veggies like:

  • Crucifers (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts)
  • Soft Veggies (like bell pepper, tomato)
  • Thin Veggies (like asparagus)

To cook tender vegetables in an air fryer, preheat your air fryer to 375 degrees F (190 C). Prep your veggies by chopping them to the size you want, optionally drizzling with oil (this will make them a bit more roasted tasting in the end). Add to your air fryer in as flat of a layer as possible and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, shaking the air fryer pan once or twice during cooking to promote even cooking.


Stock Up and Store Smart

There is a misconception that fresh produce isn’t safe to eat during the coronavirus outbreak. The FDA and the CDC have both issued statements reiterating that it’s safe to eat fresh produce so long as you’re taking the necessary food safety precautions to clean and store it and following these rules for grocery shopping safely during the pandemic.

That being said, there are a few simple tricks to storing fresh fruits and vegetables to maximize their shelf life, including keeping produce that releases ethylene gas separated (find them here). In general, storing fresh produce in your fridge, or a cold cellar, will slow how quickly it ripens and allow you to extend its life. “Pears, berries, and dates are some of my favorite fresh fruits to have on hand both for snacking on and cooking with,” says Tyler Lee. “Just remember to save washing berries until you’re ready to eat them, otherwise they’ll spoil faster."


What To Do With Carrot Greens: 10 Inspiring Ideas

Published: Aug 11, 2017 · Modified: Apr 16, 2021 by Nicole @ Oh My Veggies · This post may contain affiliate links.

This may come as a surprise, but those lanky Bugs Bunny-like green tops on your carrots are edible, and not only are they edible, but they are super delicious and loaded with nutrients!

Carrot greens have a sweet earthy flavor that is reminiscent of, well, carrots! With a fresh parsley finish.

It is important to note that there is a nasty rumor that carrot greens are poisonous, and this is simply not true.

Carrot greens do contain alkaloids, as do all vegetables in the nightshade family: eggplant, bell peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes, but they are perfectly safe and nutritious to eat.

What can you do with carrot greens now that you know they are edible? Well here are 10 inspiring ideas to get you started:

Roasted Baby Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto // Another carrot top pesto recipe from Delicious Everyday - this one has a nice zesty flavor and is served over top of the carrots themselves!

Cashew Carrot Top Pesto // Pesto is a recurring theme in the carrot green recipe world, and for good reason! This cheesy cashew carrot top version from Abra's Kitchen is a delicious topping for perfectly roasted carrots.

Carrot Green Chimichurri // Carrot greens are transformed into a gorgeous garlic, herb and vinegar dip in this recipe from Love and Lemons. I would pour this chimichurri over just about anything.

Curried Carrot Fritters // This healthy fritter recipe from A Virtual Vegan combines shredded carrots, curry spices, and carrot tops. Best of all, they are baked — not fried!

Carrot Top Pesto // This carrot top pesto from Snacking in Sneakers truly let’s carrot tops shine. Carrot greens are simply blended with garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and Parmesan cheese. You could toss this pesto with pasta for a real carrot top treat.

Vegetarian Roasted Vegetable Broth // A great way to use up vegetable scraps is to make a big pot of vegetable broth! Life Currents adds carrot greens to her nutrient dense vegetable broth. Brilliant!

Carrot Top Tabouli Salad // Perfectly cooked bulgur wheat combined with crunchy cucumbers, fresh tomatoes and scallion, and lots of parsley, mint, and of course, carrot tops! Dressed simply with olive and lemon juice. A zesty fresh summer salad from Abra’s Kitchen.

Garlicky (Lahsuni) Moong-Masoor Daal with Carrot Greens // This garlicky daal from Jagruti’s Cooking Odyssey is packed with healthy carrot greens.

Carrot Top Pesto with Vegetable Noodles // Carrot greens are blended with walnuts, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, basil, and vegan Parmesan cheese, finished with a squeeze of lemon and then tossed together with sweet potato, carrot, and zucchini noodles. This is a true vegetable celebration from Euphoric Vegan.

Garden Veggie Burgers // Carrot greens, dill, and parsley are the stars of this garden veggie burger from Strength and Sunshine.

Carrot Top Mint Pesto // Carrot greens pair perfectly with refreshing mint. This mint carrot top pesto from Tasting Page would be delicious with grilled summer vegetables.


Desserts

Fresh Basil Mousse

Basil, more commonly found alongside fresh fruits when it's served as part of a dessert, works surprisingly well with dairy in this lovely pale-green mousse. Perhaps even more surprisingly, white chocolate blends seamlessly with the herb's heady scent, while also making the mousse rich and thick, even in the absence of eggs. It's somewhat similar to a panna cotta with whipped cream folded in. Serve it alone, or top it with sliced fresh summer fruit, like strawberries or nectarines.

The Best Mint Chip Ice Cream

You can't achieve the same intensity of mint flavor using herbs that you will with mint extract, but the roundness of flavor you'll get from fresh mint in this ice cream is beyond compare. We steep the mint leaves in hot cream and milk for two hours to extract the best flavor before making the custard, chilling, and churning. As for the "chip," we prefer to incorporate long swirls of chocolate, stracciatella-style, instead of traditional nubbins, which tend to get tooth-crackingly hard when frozen.