Healthy Summer Eating
One of our favorite parts of summer is enjoying all of the fresh, local produce that is available at our farmer’s market every Saturday morning. We go down each week to pick the freshest flavors available for our cooking that week. This style of eating is one of the best ways to treat your body and keep everything in balance as our bodies thrive on eating seasonal foods because, for thousands of years, humans ate what was naturally available to them in any given season. Nowadays, we can grow anything, anywhere with greenhouses and ship it to its final destination, but local and fresh is by far the best way to go, especially in the spring, summer and fall when there is a ton of fresh food available.
Storing Fresh Food For Maximum Freshness
We come home with a car full of fresh produce each Saturday and if not stored properly, within a few days you can end up with soggy, wilted or moldy produce. This can be very frustrating and is a waste of money so it is important to take the care to store it properly. This will take you just a few extra minutes when you get home, but it is well worth it. Here are some of our favorite tips:
Spinach and Greens
If they are in a plastic container, open it up and place a paper towel on the top and then close it up again.. If the greens are fresh in a bag and tied together with a twist tie or rubber band, take off the tie, so they are not crammed together, wrap the bunch in paper towels and place in a clean Tupperware or back in the bag. This will absorb any moisture that is in the greens and allow air flow by loosening the bunch so they are not tied together trapping moisture.
Onions and Garlic
Place these in a cool, dry, dark place in the house in a box where they can breathe. When possible, remove from the plastic bag to eliminate moisture and allow air flow. We keep ours in our pantry in the kitchen in a wooden box so that they stay cool and dry and any skins that flake off stay in the box to keep my kitchen clean. So easy justs to vacuum out the box every time I come through with the sweeper.
Strawberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, and Grapes
As you probably know all too well, these types of berries can be beautiful one minute and covered in mold the next. It is critical when you get them home to extend their shelf life to eliminate any mold spores that are in the box. The best way to do this is to mix 3 cups of water with 1 cup of white vinegar in a large bowl. Dump the berries out of their box and swish them around in the vinegar water for several minutes. While they are in the vinegar, wash the container with hot soapy water to get rid of any mold spores in the box. Then strain the berries and rinse thoroughly with cold water to get rid of any vinegar smell or taste. Place the berries in a single layer on a large paper towel and pat them dry with another paper towel. Line the clean container with a paper towel and place berries back inside. Keep refrigerated.
If they start to get soft after a few days, put a container of them in the freezer to use in smoothies.
This method is best for firm berries and does not work well for raspberries. You are best to buy these right before you plan to use them and wash them right before serving.
Bananas and Tomatoes
These are both best when stored at room temperature in a location where they can get air flow. We keep ours in a produce basket on the counter. If you buy them in plastic bags, remove them for storage as the plastic bag will cause them to ripen more quickly.
When our bananas start to get brown spots, we remove the peel and place the bananas in a container in the freezer to use in smoothies.
Broccoli and Cauliflower
Organic produce wash is my favorite way to get these two ready for storage. I cut the broccoli and/or cauliflower into small florets, removing any brown spots and place them in a large colander. Spray with produce wash and then toss it around with your hands to make sure you cover all of the pieces. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and then allow to drain very well. LineZiplocc bags with paper towels and place into the bags for storage in the refrigerator. This takes a little bit of time when you get home from the store, but it will save you time later in the week when you need a healthy snack or you need them for a meal.
The Bottom Line…
When we have healthy, fresh food that tastes good and is ready to eat in the moment, we make better decisions on what to eat! Having all of the cleaning and prep work done allows us to have easy access to healthy options for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks without having to worry about it when we are starving and searching for something quick to eat.
Get prepped and ready today so you can make healthy, delicious choices tomorrow!