How to make products last longer, according to a chef

How to make products last longer, according to a chef

In January, it’s time to take it easy and sharpen up on healthy habits that you can live with on a whole trip around the sun – and beyond. We have enlisted the help of industry experts to put together three four-week plans designed to help you move your body, eat more sustainably or show yourself loving care. Select a plan – or three – and press Update. Download the program

Virtually everyone has experienced the ping of guilt over having to throw out expired food. Hi, this has happened to me too. But I have become much better at reducing my food waste (both at my restaurant and at home). The reason for? I’ve learned a few tricks along the way to keep food fresh for a long time. And this week, I’ll share my secrets with you, including how to bring wilted vegetables back from the dead.

It’s also time to head back to the grocery store again, so I’ll share a few tips to keep in mind while planning meals and shopping, which will also cut down on waste. We end the week by preparing one of my favorite plant-based meals: vegan sloppy joe’s. I promise it will win over even the hardcore meat lovers in time house.

how to make products last longer
Art: W + G Creative

Day 8: Meal plan around foods that are in season

We learned last week that eating sustainably does not start in the kitchen; it actually starts with grocery shopping. Today we will do our homework to learn about buying seasonal foods that often come closer to your local and have richer flavors and nutritional benefits because they are harvested under ideal conditions.

It is important to do this research before you get to the grocery store tomorrow so you know exactly what fresh fruits, vegetables and other seasonal foods you need to keep an eye on while shopping. The basic planning principle you need to keep in mind is this: When formulating your meals and recipes for the coming week, consider incorporating more foods that are in season in your area and adding them to your shopping list. Replace your summer-centered gazpacho with a warming winter squash soup, or try topping your yogurt parfait with fresh citrus slices instead of pineapple – both winter squash and citrus are at their peak right now.

If you’re not sure where to start, check out the Seasonal Food Guide to find out what’s in season in your area. And remember that buying seasonal food also applies outside the product section. For example, there are also seasonal fish types because the water temperature varies according to the season and spawning takes place at certain times of the year. Chef’s Resources has a great chart that shows what type of fish is in season for each month of the year – and you do not have to be a professional chef to use it.

Day 9: Buy local food whenever you can

Prioritizing buying food that is in season goes hand in hand with today’s tip: seeking out local food. Buying food sourced locally is a great way to make your purchases of ingredients more climate-friendly. Because the fresh produce, fish or cheese (for example) comes from your local area, they have a smaller CO2 footprint, and as a bonus, purchases in this way also support local farmers. Check out your local farmers market if you are lucky enough to live somewhere that has one. Many even accept EBT.

Even though there is no farmer’s market near you, most grocery stores set aside a section in the production area for locally produced food. Usually it is right in front and highlights new seasonal items. I know Publix, Whole Foods, Sprouts and most Kroger stores all do this – and many other supermarkets do too. If you can not see a kiosk showing locally grown food, do not be afraid to ask a store employee to help you find what you are looking for. Most people are happy to help!

Later in the week I’ll show you how to make vegan sloppy joe’s using two vegetables that are in season right now, potatoes and onions. Below is the list of all the ingredients so you can plan ahead:

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
  • 1 cup frozen cauliflower rice or fresh cauliflower bouquets
  • 2 red peeled potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 1/2 carrot, chopped
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1/2 lemon, the juice
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 cup chopped coriander for garnish
  • Slices of lemon
  • Bread for serving

Day 10: Use thin, moist paper towels to make your herbs last longer

An obstacle that many home cooks face that leads to food waste? Do not use herbs until they become bad. I want to tell you about a little culinary secret: There is an easy way to get a few days more life out of your basil, coriander, parsley and so on. Wash your herbs and wrap them in a thin, damp paper towel (you can get them super cheap in the dollar store) or paper towel. Then place them in a storage container or recyclable baggie. The damp towel keeps the herbs hydrated so they do not dry out so quickly. It also works for the greens you just revived.

Day 11: Hone your knife skills (or outsource chopping to a food processor)

Many people tell me that the hardest part about eating more vegetables is chopping them up. I understand that slicing and slicing mountains of vegetables can feel awkward – but it does not have to. Practicing your knife skills is a sure way to save lots of time when preparing plant-based meals, plus you will waste fewer of those precious sweet potatoes or Brussels sprouts if you know the right way to cut them up.

First, make sure your knife is sharp. Chopping vegetables with a dull blade will not just slow you down – because it requires more force, it is not safe to use one. Once your knife has been sharpened, be sure to hold it properly. To do this, place the middle, ring and pinky fingers around the handle and grasp the blade with your index finger and thumb. Then, to chop properly, hold the object with one hand and then hold the tip of your knife on your board and with the other move up and down. Finally, when cooking products, square the bottom of round objects, such as apples and potatoes. This will help anchor them properly to your cutting board, which means it will be easier to chop equal pieces – and significantly less waste will be created along the way.

Finally, for a solution that requires zero elbow grease, you can also outsource the entire chopping task to your food processor or mandolin cutter.

Day 12: Prepare and freeze products for later use

One reason products often die in the fridge without being used is that it can feel like so much work to prepare it for your meal. When the time is 19.00 after a long day, you just want something on the table ASAP – and that often means that you skip any extra cooking steps, such as. to chop vegetables up for your dinner.

At this point in the week, you should have a pretty good idea of ​​what products you have purchased that you will be able to complete and what products have the potential to go to waste. So today, take the vegetables that you are not going to use this week, chop them and store them in the freezer. That way, they are ready to throw in a frying pan, in a pan or easily integrate into what you make later. If you take the time each week to do this one thing, you can cut back on waste – and save yourself money so you do not have to buy vegetables just to see them wither before your eyes.

Day 13: Give your greens a cold bath

You bought your locally grown vegetables in season. And decided to stop freezing them so you could eat them fresh this week and now you’re ready to use them. Then you open the fridge to see that they are a little withered – despite the fact that they are freshly picked and free of signs of spoilage. Do not give up yet, because there is an easy way to revive them: Just give them a cold water bath. Believe me, it works! Vegetables are about 90 percent water, so hydration goes a long way in bringing them to life. Fill a large bowl with ice cold water and immerse your vegetables in it. Let them hang out there for about an hour. After this, your greens should re-emerge.

Day 14: Make Vegan Sloppy Joe’s

You’ve worked hard this week to find the most sustainable seasonal products when you shop, plus you’ve grabbed hold of how to prepare and preserve your fruits and vegetables in ways that cut down on unnecessary waste. Thanks! Next, use a dinner recipe that helps use up your delicious amount of fresh (and frozen) ingredients, and my six-veggie vegan sloppy joe’s is just the thing. Come back on January 16th where I will share the full ingredient list and instructions on how to make the recipe.

Do you want to refresh your healthy habits in January? Check out our full 2022 renewal program for expert-led plans for better sleep, nutrition, exercise and self-care routines.

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