One of the best parts of summer is stopping by a local farmer’s market or roadside produce stand for fresh-picked fruits, vegetables, and herbs. The experience itself borders on sensory overload.
First it’s a rainbow feast for the eyes—red ripe tomatoes, bright orange carrots, sunny yellow squash, glistening green cucumbers, beautifully juicy blueberries, deep purple eggplant. Then there is the tempting aroma of just-picked basil, the seductive flavor of sun-warmed strawberries, the satisfying “thump” you hear when a watermelon is ready to eat, and the unmistakable feel of a fresh, fuzzy peach.
With all the delicious potential presented by this bounty, it’s easy to imagine cooking an abundance of healthy meals for the family. It’s also easy to get carried away. Here are three common farmer’s market pitfalls, plus clever solutions for coping with them from the team at Beko.
Pitfall #1: Too much of a good thing
You’ve stocked up on produce your family really likes, but you bought way more than they’re willing to eat in a week.
Beko Solution: Prepare produce properly
In our last blog, we talked about ways Beko refrigerator technology can actually extend the life of fresh fruits and vegetables for weeks. But to get maximum shelf life, it’s also important to prepare to produce properly before storing. The Internet has hundreds of tips on how to handle everything from fresh asparagus to zucchini. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Lettuce, greens, and leafy herbs can be sandy or dirty. Fill up a deep bowl with cold water and dunk the leaves. Lift them out, change the water, and repeat until the water is clean. Dry the leaves thoroughly on paper or kitchen towels or use a spinner. Wrap the dry leaves loosely in a paper towel and store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
- Blackberries and raspberries should be spread in a single layer on a paper towel-lined plate. Discard any damaged or moldy berries before storing in the refrigerator. Wash gently just before using.
- Radishes and carrots are often sold in bunches with the tops attached. To prolong freshness, remove and discard the tops, then rinse and drain the vegetables before storing in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
- Beets and turnips are edible roots but their green tops also make for great eating. Again, remove the greens from the roots but don’t discard. Wash and dry both before refrigerating them separately in plastic bags.
- Celery heads can spoil before they are all used up if they’re left in their original plastic bags. Instead, keep celery heads whole, wrap them tightly in aluminum foil, and store in the refrigerator crisper. Rewrap with foil after each use.
Pitfall #2: Too much of an unpopular thing
In your enthusiasm, you bought a few new fruits and vegetables for your family to try. Only it turns out your family turns up their noses at them and you’ve still got a lot left over.
Beko Solution: Get creative
Disguising good-for-you fruits and vegetables in delicious and innovative recipes is an age-old secret. But the concept is still a winner. For some creative inspiration, we suggest trying “Eat Like A Pro” recipes from Beko’s campaign with FC Barcelona that encourages kids to develop healthier eating habits. Three great suggestions are Broccoli Crust Pizza, Wok Vegetable Lasagna, and Sweet Spinach Muffins.
Pitfall #3: Not enough bandwidth to prepare it all
As you look at the array of great products you brought home, you also glance at the calendar and see a crazy schedule that will keep you running and running out of time to cook. Now what?
Beko Solution: Cut, freeze, and run. Turn that bounty into recipe-ready ingredients right now. Many cut vegetables freeze well. So, dice and slice in advance. Some, like bell peppers, can be cut and frozen on baking trays before storing in plastic freezer bags. Other cut vegetables should be blanched first by submerging in boiling water for a short time (30 seconds to 5 minutes), plunged into an ice water bath, and drained before storing in freezer bags. This process works great for:
Now go out there and take a big bite out of summer’s bounty … with a bit of help from Beko!