Now, what to do with the extra…
The abundance of seasonal fruits and vegetables can sometimes be overwhelming during the summer months. We are surrounded by delicious fresh produce – crisp vegetables and juicy fruit. We may accidentally buy more than we can eat and be tempted to throw away (or compost) the excess food. Instead of throwing away produce, try some of the ideas below before it goes bad and make the most of your fresh produce and a limited grocery budget:
- Bake a meal and freeze it. Use some of your veggies that are on the verge of going bad in a casserole or frittata. Try making personal size portions using muffin tins to make quick grab-and-go breakfast, lunches, or dinners. Here is a recipe that would freeze well: https://www.mainesnap-ed.org/recipes/veggie-skillet-eggs/
- Make a smoothie. Smoothies are always a fun way to try new fruit and veggie combinations and make for a healthy, filling snack. Use less than perfect produce and no one will see any blemishes once it is blended. Or remove inedible skins, remove seeds and pits, and cut ripened produce into pieces; then throw these into a sealed container or zipper bag in the freezer. You can use this frozen produce at a later date. One recipe to try: https://www.mainesnap-ed.org/recipes/bell-pepper-smoothie/
- Make a stir-fry. Making a stir-fry is a wonderful way to use up a variety of produce while making a unique, delicious meal. The best part? You can make a big batch and have leftovers for a few days. https://www.mainesnap-ed.org/recipes/chicken-cabbage-stir-fry/
- Bake something. Who says fruit and vegetables can’t be combined to make a delicious, healthy baked good? Try this recipe: https://www.mainesnap-ed.org/recipes/sweet-potato-and-orange-muffins/
- Make your own salsa. Start by adding typical salsa ingredients like tomatoes, peppers, and onion, and then try adding some of the other produce you have leftover. You might be surprised what you come up with! Eat the salsa as a snack or use it as a topping for a veggie quesadilla (using even more of that delicious produce!). Here is a salsa recipe for inspiration https://www.mainesnap-ed.org/recipes/farmers-market-salsa/
- Share! Really can’t find a use for what you have leftover and don’t have time to do any of the above? Share it with a friend or neighbor who can use it!
Lastly, before you throw something out think…what could I make with this? How could I use this soon? Can I freeze this item for another use? Chances are there is something you could do or make with it, which will help stretch your food dollars and make your taste buds happy!