Monday, August 6, 2012

Using up ALL of your Produce for the Week!

CSA strawberries are the BEST!

I absolutely LOVE getting a CSA from our local farm each week.  Sometimes, I will admit, it can be a challenge to use it all up in creative ways.  Anyone know what I mean?  :)  On occasion, I have been guilty of tossing spent produce into the compost like most anyone else.  However, as many of you know, I dislike excess and wastefulness ...and since we were going to be out of town moving our eldest son off to college, I wanted to use up the remains of our produce before we left.  Here is what I did (this might sound nerdy, but it worked!):

1.  First, I made a list of all the remaining produce in our fridge and on our counter (fruit bowl and basket).  Only a few things were not from our CSA box, including the apples, bananas, and red pepper. 


tomatoes (really a fruit)
1 red pepper
carrots-lots of them
leaf lettuce
kale-just a little bit
broccoli-just a little bit
green beans

2.  Now came the fun part!  :D  I looked at the list and figured out what I could make with what we had:
SALSA, using the tomatoes, onion, garlic and cilantro
CABBAGE SALAD, using the cabbage and adding the red pepper, some carrots and parsley
SMOOTHIES, using berries, banana, squeezed oranges, and KALE
SALAD, using the lettuce, onion, carrots and tomatoes
GRAPEFRUIT CAKE, as a dessert
WATERMELON, on it's own (naturally!)
APPLES, for snacks and BAKED, for a dessert

3.  I then planned our meals around all of the above ideas.  For example, the steamed veggies were side dishes, the salsa was incorporated into a Mexican-style casserole, the salads were eaten as main dishes, etc.

I am happy to say that all this amazing produce has been accounted for (except for a couple of onions and carrots).  Hopefully this little post will help someone who tends to toss produce or needs a little inspiration to use everything up.  Remember, too, that many fruits and veggies can be prepped and frozen (or canned for that matter).


Gluten-free brownie with fresh strawberries!


  1. This is a great post! I was taking inventory this week, thinking about how much I hated to throw out some grapes and carrots. I ended up giving the carrots to the horses, but the grapes are still hanging around.

    I've been wanting to challenge myself to not even go to the store (except for milk) over the next few weeks, just to see how long we can go, by using up what we have. I hate being wasteful!

  2. This is how a well managed kitchen should run! It makes me think of my grandma's kitchen, where not even a crust of bread was wasted. You go girl! ~ Maureen

  3. I've been doing the same thing with my CSA box each week. I used to meal plan on the weekends and then my box would come on Wed and it just wouldn't get used, so now I'm waiting to see what comes in my box each Wed and planning based on's working so much better! Here's this week's:

  4. Debbie S.- Ever tried frozen grapes?!? Fabulous, especially in the summer. Just wash and freeze, then eat fast because they're a bit mushy when they thaw too much. You may want to freeze flat on a cookie sheet or something, then transfer to a container after frozen so it's not a huge frozen lump.

  5. I freeze produce that you wouldn't normally think to freeze - pepper, onions, celery and carrots can be chopped and frozen as is - I just flash freeze them on a cookie sheet, then keep them in baggies and take out what I need as I need it. It makes food prep quick and easy when the chopping part has already been done (I would only use these for cooking, not for fresh salads, of course). Even spinach can be chopped and frozen if you can;t get to it on time - I use it later on pizzas or in baked rigatoni, etc. It makes for very little food waste around our place.


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