So you’ve shopped… maybe like me you stood in line for about an hour and navigated the store yourself, maybe relying on online ordering or something that I did to really physically distance was to send in an order and picking up my shopping with it being put in the trunk of my car. Genius way to it.
No matter how you’re shopping, it’s just the beginning of so many questions. Wash, not wash, ditch the cardboard or don’t. Change your clothes when you get home, leave your goods on the front porch or in the garage for any traces of Coronovirus to die a slow death.
Along with those questions and so many more, on this episode of EAT THIS with Lianne, let’s talk about making the most of your fruits and vegetables so doesn’t go bad before you get to eat it.
I get it, shopping for a week or two at a time is a new way for all of us. Actually, one of my clients this week told me that her stress level was at 11 as she planned to go shopping for the first time in two weeks. I get it. As I finally went shopping for myself this week after 14 days of self-isolation, I was kinda excited. Until I got to see the line ups of distanced people, the ushering when I could go in, the arrows on the floor telling us shoppers which way to go and how far to distance ourselves, and of course the checkout experience with the plexiglass. Don’t get me wrong, these are all really important measures to have in place, I’m just sharing this because it was my first time out and it was ALL new for me, and funnily enough I’m not so excited to do it all again.
The number one question that I’ve had from friends and clients that I thought I’d share here as it’s a hot one, is about washing fruits and vegetables. Another of my clients said that she was ONLY going to buy frozen, no fresh.
First, there is no need to avoid fresh produce. Your apples, pears, tomatoes, squash, potatoes, zucchini, kale, even bananas, mango, and kiwi can be washed. BUT not with soap. As much as we are being told to wash your hands with soap at every opportunity, your produce does not need soap! Take your peppers for instance or your apples, pears, beets or anything that you’re going to eat the skin of. Wash them under running water, and give em a kinda scrub massage with your hands. Wash your hands first with soap, yes. That’s important. Wash your hands after with soap, sing that happy birthday loud and proud. Add in a brush in the places that need a little scrub or your just hands rubbing the skin does the job according to every expert that I researched.
Good? Ok that one is done, let’s move on.
With respect to washing, know that your produce could spoil faster if you wash it all once you’re home and unpacking it all. The dampness that’s left on it can make bacteria grow and we have enough to worry about without that happening. Yes, refrigerate your greens wrapped in a piece of paper towel and put it in a plastic bag. I have cotton bags that I store all my veggies in, so I don’t always need the paper towel, but it’s a good idea for things like lettuce, kale, chard and all those lovely leafy greens that I know you’re buying, but maybe haven’t quite figured out what to do with yet and you need them to last while you do.
Fill up your fruit bowl with your apples, bananas, oranges, lemons, kiwi, and avocado and wash it before you nosh.
Don’t wash your berries until you’re ready to eat them, or they just start to look like they’re 10 days old in under a day. Store them in the fridge until you’re ready to eat. And if they get lost in the back, and you find them looking a bit sad throw em in the blender to make a smoothie, OR add them to homemade ice cream! Yes, I just said Ice Cream! I have the easiest recipe in my book Sprout Right Family Food that has 3 ingredients in it that can including sad-looking berries. I showed viewers how to make this on my birthday #CookTogether special edition live video on Facebook and Instagram so you can see me make it AND eat it. You’ll find that video on Sprout Right’s YouTube channel.
To make your produce last longer, keep bananas and apples away from anything that you don’t want to ripen fast. They give off more ethylene gas and while that’s useful for those baseball-like avocados that you just want to make guac with, it’s not good if they’re ripe already. Putting your unripe produce in a paper bag with a banana or apple and leaving it at room temperature can help speed the ripening process, and you also can use rice as you would do with a wet phone. Cover your produce with dried rice and watch it ripen!
Chris… you had a question for me about a cucumber encounter you had the other day.
Ok, first, cucumber is best stored at room temperature, which I didn’t even know until looking into it. The plastic wrap isn’t needed either. Ok, so you found this rogue cuc… you could have taken the seeds out and thrown it into a salad, blended it up to make a cold soup with some peppers, onions, fresh herbs or grated it into plain yogurt with dill and lemon to make tzatziki. I know you want a “what would Lianne do button” when you come across these things… so know that I’d likely suggest using a blender in some way, freezing it for later, throw it into pasta sauce, hide it in a quesadilla like I show on another #cooktogether video or make the Rainbow Rice Wraps, yep, it’s another recipe from my book!
To circle back to my clients’ comment about not buying fresh and only buying frozen, yes it’s an option because you’ve got more time to eat it, but make sure that you do! When your crisper is full of fresh, you know it needs to be eaten. When it’s frozen, it doesn’t always taste as good, most is blanched already so it can come out rather wilted like broccoli does.
Think of this whole thing like when you go camping. You bring all the tinned goods for the last days because they store well. Eat the freshest first, freeze what you don’t need for the next couple of days… and that includes milk if you’ve bought enough for a couple of weeks.
Shopping habits have to change to be safe, and that doesn’t mean that you don’t eat fresh foods… you still can! Store it well, maybe even keep a list of what you’ve got so nothing gets forgotten and if you a younger person asking whaaaaat can I eat, you can invite them to check out your list. I’m under no illusion that you won’t be saying that multiple times a day, but at least it takes the heat off you going to the fridge more times that you already are!
These are strange and unusual times. We will get through it, I promise.
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If you want me to do a deep dive into something that you can’t figure out, just let me know.