Waste Not, Want Not
YOUR FREEZER IS YOUR FRIEND
Your farmers’ market haul was a little heavy on the greens, and they’re now wilting in your fridge. Fresh herbs are great, but your garden has been prolific and you’re a bit thymed out at present. That visit to the U-Pick blueberry patch was fun, but now what to do with all the fruit? Quick: Buy a few ice cube trays and put them to work to cut down on waste and have healthy ingredients on hand.
Here are a few ideas:
Put greens such as kale or spinach in your blender with water, blend until pourable. Pour into ice cube trays, freeze, then transfer the cubes to a bag for storage. The cubes are great for thickening soups or sauces and make healthy and delicious green smoothies: In a blender, put 2 to 3 cubes, plus a handful of whatever frozen fruit you have on hand, a banana, honey or other sweetener if you’d like, and enough water to blend to your desired consistency.
Tear leaves of fresh herbs from the stems and place in the ice cube trays. Pour olive oil over or melted butter over the herbs, freeze and then transfer to bags. Use the cubes in recipes where you’d use fresh herbs, or thaw a few and sauté with cooked pasta for a quick and easy dinner.
Forget the herbs and just freeze the fat – pour leftover bacon grease through a fine-mesh strainer (while still warm, but not hot) directly into the ice cube tray, then use the cubes to sauté vegetables, fry eggs or roast potatoes for added flavor.
If fruit is starting to go bad, cut it up and freeze it for smoothies (simply throw it in a plastic bag), or use the same method as for kale to make cubes (using as little water as possible). Use the cubes in place of regular ice for flavored water, thaw and blend with yogurt for a healthy, low-sugar alternative to store-bought flavors, or add to pancakes or baked goods for a little extra nutrition.
Visit the United States Department of Agriculture website at www.usda.gov and search “food product dating” for more information and guidelines on expiration dates and proper food storage.