My four minute segment on CTV’s Canada AM last Friday was so quick that I thought it would be best to review the various tips Jeff and I shared with viewers. Since fruits and vegetables are what we waste the most in a kitchen, I chose to concentrate on the items that could be saved before leaving on vacation to then use upon return. This helps to reduce the back to work and school stress after such a lovely break.
5 HINTS FOR SAVING VEGETABLES AND FRUITS FROM THE BIN
1. Herbs are often the first to rot in the bottom of the vegetable drawer and they are the easiest to freeze in ice cube trays with a little water or just on their own. Once frozen, they can be transferred to a zip lock bag, identified and filed away for later use in soups, casseroles or even guacamole.
2. Lettuce can also be frozen, to be used for the base of a stock or added to a frittata with herbs, cheese and any other vegetables that might be hiding in the fridge or freezer.
3. Cauliflower can also be filed away in the freezer.
Pulse the florets in a food processor. Once it has a couscous-like consistency, add some grated ginger (a microplane and frozen ginger works like a charm). I usually add at least 2-3 tablespoons of grated ginger per 2-3 cups of processed cauliflower.
At this point, the cauliflower mixture can be frozen or placed on a baking sheet to be baked in the oven for 20 minutes at 200C (400F) being sure to stir a few times during the cooking process.
Grated unsweetened coconut can be added to the final mixture along with some flaky salt to help boost the flavours.
*The cauliflower leaves can also be baked with the processed cauliflower. Save the leaves with some of the stalks, mix in a bowl with a bit of olive oil and sea salt and crisp in the oven. The flavour resembles brussel sprouts and add a fun touch to the final dish.
*Roasted cauliflower is also great in a mac and cheese that is frozen and available for a meal on your first night back from the holidays.
4. Berries and bananas are often left to rot in the fruit drawer or on the counter. They can be easily saved by: slicing or chopping them up(if necessary) then spreading them out on a baking tray and freezing them in the freezer. Once frozen, place them in containers and use them for smoothies or fruit coulis.
5. Apples and pears can easily be made into purées rather than letting them rot and be discarded. Fruit sauces are also great to put into lunch boxes or served as sweeteners for plain yoghurt and granola.
Place sliced fruit in a casserole with a little maple syrup or brown sugar and water. Bring to a boil then turn down to simmer until the fruit falls apart and becomes a sauce. If it is too runny, remove the lid and allow a bit of the moisture to evaporate. This sauce can be canned or frozen for your return from the holidays.
Past due dates were also mentioned with Jeff. I feel strongly that we should depend on our noses and our taste buds to really be the final decision makers but there is a little trick with eggs. If a past due egg is dropped into a glass of water and it sinks to the bottom then it is most probably still good. If it floats to the top then the egg has deteriorated and the shell has filled with gases, which causes the egg to float. Time to throw that one out!
Eggs can be whipped with a fork and a little added salt then frozen for future use if there is fear that the eggs will not be used before they go off.
Yogurt is the one product that is often misunderstood. It’s best by date is very conservative and is often well before the item goes bad. It is full of bacteria so it is often still good weeks after the date on the lid. Let your taste buds and nose make the decision and save some money and create less waste.