Conserving

I haven’t posted anything in over a week mostly because I was at a lose for words about our current situation. I was also busy like many of you making sure that we had enough of everything we need.

Finally today as I was unloading one of the grocery bags I had just brought home filled with fresh produce I had an epiphany. I told myself “This is what I’m good at, working with food. I know how to make it last longer in storage, use every part of it to create a variety of dishes and use leftovers in imaginative ways so no one even knows it was a left over.

So here it goes

Let me start by saying, I hope you have cloth vegetable bags, they have them in a variety of materials available at health food stores. When you bring your vegetables home take them out of the plastic bags they came in. Plastic causes vegetables to rot much faster. Trim the greens from radishes, turnips, and carrots but do not cut into the actual vegetable just trim off the greens. The greens of radishes and turnips can be used in salads, soups and stir frys’ or cooked as you would other greens. They are very spicy and go bad quickly so use them soon after you bring them home. Rinse them and discard any bad ones, bruised is not bad, yellow or rotten is bad. Beet greens can be used as well but should be cooked, I find they are best used in a beef flavored soup. Carrot greens taste a little like parsley. After all of your vegetables are clean place them in clean cloth bags for greens add a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. I actually wrap my greens in a paper towel before placing them in the bag.

Make sure to rotate your vegetables just like you do with other perishables. If you notice that something is starting to get soft or go bad figure out a way to use it. For instance if your avocado’s are getting soft make guacamole. If your oranges are soft peel them and make orange coriander vinaigrette. Recently I had some pears that were becoming overripe so I peeled and cut them up and made a pear ginger vinaigrette. Just look up a recipe for vinaigrette and use your over ripe fruit in it. Save the orange peel if its organic, grate the outside part not the white pith use some in your vinaigrette and freeze the rest for later use as orange zest.

Tips for using every part:

Speaking of vegetables, when I prepare my raw vegetables for salad or what ever I keep a lot of the parts I cut off and place them in a bag in the fridge to use later. I use these to make vegetable broth that I use as a soup base or to make rice etc.

Take a chicken, once you have had it for dinner, if there is enough to make lunch the next day go for it. Then make sure to use the carcass to make soup broth by placing it in a pot of water with vegetables, salt and pepper some garlic, herbs, and onion and boil it down until all of the meat falls away from the bone. Scoop out all of the bones and cartilage, pick the bones clean. Put the meat back into the pot along with some chopped greens if you have any and bring to a simmer also check your seasoning add more if needed. ** If you happen to have some of those left over veggie parts you could put them into a muslin bag and use them in the chicken broth.

There are ways to extend red meat in dishes as well. For instance say you have a 12 oz steak and need to make a meal for 4. You really only need 3oz of protein per person per meal. So instead of throwing that steak on the grill and making a steak and potato meal which will feel as if there isn’t enough meat for all, do this instead. Slice that steak into thin stips, season it well and quick fry it in a hot skillet with a little oil. make a big salad with what ever you have greens, and other veggies. Then toss the steak slices in with the salad and serve with a savory dressing maybe use some salsa and guacamole as a topping instead of dressing. Keep in mind there a many options to stretch this steak:

Make a pasta salad and add the steak stips; bake some sweet potatoes, add onions and peppers to the steak and top the sweet potatoes with the mixture; do the same with potatoes; or make a stir fry. These are just ideas to get your salivary glands working. I’m sure you can come up with other ones, make sure to share them with your friends.

And of course there is always soup, older vegetables, seasonings and a little bit of meat or no meat can make a really great soup which can be eaten for several days.

Be Creative don’t make the same thing all the time. That is how things get boring and you and your family will want for more. Instead of going out for dinner change it up and try something outside the box. It’s Spring time and you may have some edible flowers in your garden or yard like pansy, violets, nasturtiums use them in your salads to make everyone smile.

Try a different recipe one you’ve never done before like these Asian Meatball Lettuce Wraps. Serve them with a whole grain savory pancake that you have added scallions and shredded carrots to.

Asian Meatballs are easy to make. You can use a bottle sauce to season them or make your own by making a sauce in a separate bowl before adding to your meat which can be beef, turkey, chicken, or pork even vegetarian faux meat. I like to start with Hoisin sauce, add some spicy pepper sauce like Post sauce then fish sauce, liquid aminos, ginger, garlic, honey or brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil and water just enough to thin it out a bit. Add some of the sauce to the meat, along with some scallions, a little bit of unseasoned bread crumbs and then roll it into little balls. If you have the time let these sit in the fridge for an hour to allow the meat to absorb the flavors. When ready to cook heat a large skillet then add some avocado oil to coat the bottom, allow to heat up before you place the meat balls into it. Let them brown before turning them being sure to brown them on all sides. Place cooked ones on a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil. Serve these on Fresh lettuce leaves topped with shredded carrots, use leftover sauce to drizzle over the top. Make your pancakes thin to serve with them. Your friends and family will love these.

As always what ever you come up with Enjoy!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. T.A. (ToniAnne) Wyner says:

    Thank you for realizing your obvious contribution to all of us that have to/want to eat. I love every tip & reminder. You never know what you don’t know! Re the Asian meatballs: I will use your recipe to make my veggie “cube-balls” substituting dry cubed tofu for meat.
    (for cubeBalls, I first drain the tofu) I will then gently coat the cubes with the ingredients of your recipe & before I saute’, I will first bake the coated cubes. stay tuned……………………………..Keep those tips & reminders coming. There are too many folks who need good, basic tips to enjoy food prep.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for the feedback. You are awesome. Make sure to marinate the tofu in the sauce first. When I do baked tofu I cut 1″ thick cubes and toss them in seasonings or a marinade. Then bake them at 400′ for 12 min. and then remove from oven toss again and repeat until they are toasty or the marinade is nice and dried into them. Let me know how yours turns out.

      Like

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