Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Putting Old Produce to Good Use

It happens, we forget about a piece of produce in the back of the drawer, we don't eat all of the bananas before they start browning or the celery before it starts wilting. Produce gets old and it gets damaged in various ways. Sometimes we buy it that way at a discount. But just because a piece of fruit or a veggie is past its prime, doesn't mean that it belongs in the the trash or the compost pile. Here are a few great ways to put old produce to good use!

  • Freeze - If you wash your fruits and veggies before freezing them, they will be ready for smoothies, stir-fry, chili, gumbo, fajitas and anything else you come up with.
  • Dehydrate - Slice your produce thinly and then dehydrate them for a quick snack or in the case of herbs or chilis, for seasoning.
  • Bake - Soft bananas make great banana bread (and pudding!) You can pretty much use any fruit to make bread or muffins. Carrot cake and zucchini bread are examples of baked veggie goods.
  • Sauce - You don't have to be limited to apple sauce, you can also make pear sauce, plum sauce, cranberry sauce, peach sauce, etc. Add cherries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries...the sky is the limit.
  • Juice - Juicing can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. Check your store's reduced rack for past prime produce. 
  • Soup - Soups, stews, chili and gumbo are fantastic destinations for old produce. Keep the skin on for great flavor and hearty vegetable stocks.
  • Baby Food - Fruits, like bananas, actually sweeten as they get older, making them perfect for baby. But this a great idea for any past-prime produce, as long as they are age appropriate. It can be frozen into ice cube trays for later use.
  • Wine - What a great thing to make with past prime fruit! Just let it keep fermenting! There are many recipes on the internet for homemade wine. Enjoy!

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