As we ring in the New Year in a few weeks, lots of us will be making resolutions to improve our health. If you’re anything like me, this means you’ll start out full of motivation and go overboard at the grocery store.
But you know the drill: a week or two later, your fridge is still full of produce and your good intentions (along with the money you spent!) end up getting thrown out.
Instead of feeling guilty about the waste, try one of these five tips:
1. Juice It
Produce that may be past its prime can easily be turned into juice. This is one of our favorite ways to use up extra fruits and veggies. There are endless combinations – my girls love apple, carrot orange the best. Celery and cucumber are surprisingly tasty and refreshing, too!
Juicers range in price from moderate to very expensive, depending on your needs. We’ve been using this Hamilton Beach Juice Extractor for the last year and it gets the job done well. Cleanup is a breeze thanks to dishwasher-safe parts. Tip: Line the pulp collector with a plastic grocery bag to make cleanup even faster!
2. Blend It
If you don’t have a juicer, smoothies are another great way to use up produce that’s seen better days. Throw it in your blender with some ice, liquid (water, juice or milk) and sweeten if desired. I’m a big fan of green smoothies, though the rest of my family isn’t quite on board yet. Maybe someday 🙂
My absolute favorite kitchen appliance is my Ninja Master Prep Professional Blender. Other than my coffeemaker, it’s the only one that gets used every single day. There are plenty of expensive blenders out there that may be more robust (hello Vitamix), but I find that the Ninja easily handles whatever I throw at it.
3. Dehydrate It
You can dehydrate just about anything. Dried apples, bananas and strawberries make for yummy snacks. Overripe berries can be pureed and dried into fruit leather.
I’ve also dehydrated sliced mushrooms, celery and carrots. These are so handy to have on hand for soups and crockpot meals! Most dehydrated foods can be stored in the pantry for months at a time, so this is a great way to extend the life of your produce.
I received this Nesco American Harvest FD-37 400 Watt Food Dehydrator for my birthday several years ago. It’s definitely among my top favorite gifts ever!
4. Freeze It
This may be the most convenient option and it’s one I use all the time. We’re constantly freezing leftover bananas to use for dairy-free ice cream. I puree spinach leaves with water and freeze into ice cubes for my green smoothies. Frozen peppers and onions are so convenient to throw into quesadillas or omelettes. Just be sure to label what you are freezing along with the date.
5. Bake It
You can make delicious baked goodies using overripe bananas, apples, carrots and more. Our favorite is pumpkin banana chocolate chip muffins (we double the chocolate chips and leave out the nuts due to a food allergy in the house.)
So how about you? Do you have any tips to share to keep fresh food from going to waste? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
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