Kitchen Skills: 10 Tools to Up Your Veggie Game
OK so you decided this was the week you were going to finally work more veggies into your diet. You made your list, headed to our weekly farm stand (or picked up your first CSA share) and brought home your reusable bag feeling pretty accomplished.... now what?
Truth be told buying the vegetables is the easy part. You now need a game plan for actually eating them and hopefully making them palatable. Adjusting the way you cook and forming new habits around your kitchen is a HUGE part of the equation of making your new resolution stick.
We're here to send you some good vibes and share some strategies that actually work so nothing goes to waste.
First things first, you're going to need some tools of the trade if you're going to make this easy on yourself. By arming yourself with these essentials your produce will keep longer, it will taste better, and it will be far simpler to use all of it.
1. sharp chef's knife
Ever go to chop a tomato and end up just squishing it instead? Yeah, no fun. Having a good, sharp knife is so important in getting your food processed and ready to cook. It'll save you some time and maybe some skin. I take my knife to be sharpened once a year and have a honing steel to keep it maintained in between.
2. salad spinner
Organic salad greens like ours can sometimes bring home dirt and critters that need to be washed away (even after processing and washing it on the farm). Its a good idea to give your salad a good wash when you get it home. However, water causes the greens to wilt faster so you'll also need to dry them well. Enter the salad spinner. After a thorough rinse in your sink spin your greens to get them bone dry and store them in the fridge. They should last up to two weeks and you just snuck in a mini upper body workout, win-win.
3. storage containers/mason jars
One simple way of fitting more veggies into your diet throughout the week is having them ready to go beforehand. I like to prep my produce when I have some extra time on my hands and store them in glass containers. You'll be able to use them to store your awesome leftovers from the recipes we send out in our newsletters too! Mason jars are another great option for workday salad storage.
Somedays I just don't have it in me to gnaw on another bunch of carrots sticks or nibble on my greens. That's where my blender is ready to save the day. I can add a handful of kale or some frozen carrots into a smoothie and make it taste like dessert. We'll talk a little more about specifics in our next post about kitchen skills but suffice it to say you're going to want one of these bad boys.
The lazy cook's dreamboat, a crockpot can be used for so. many. things. Set it and forget it will be music to your ears after a long week of running around. Its the perfect way to use up those veggies you just can't seem to fit into a meal too.
6. dehydrator (or a cooling rack and baking sheet)
Let's start thinking about the big picture shall we? Your CSA share doesn't just have to last you the season, it can last you the entire year if you do it right. Dehydrating produce will make it last longer and you'll be able to use it up far into the winter months.
Cube your veggies, sprinkle with evoo, grill. Throw some chiles on em and roast them up. Use it to poke your kids when they won't try that weird veggie that came in this week's box. Very versatile.
Need to sneak one past said kids' discerning eye? The grater is great for breaking down carrots and squash so you can mix them into chocolate muffins and call it dessert (I have a thing for dessert).
9. green bags
If you're still learning to use your produce up in one week then this one is for you. These bags allow ethylene gas released by your vegetables to exit the bag and will keep them fresher longer. You'll get a bit of wiggle room and can plan to do better next week.
10. BONUS: food saver
A staple in our farm house for saving produce for the off months. Blanch, seal and freeze them or if you're like me put them in raw and plan to use them in soup so the texture won't be a big deal...
Hopefully you already have most of these lying around. Maybe they have a bit of dust on them, but now is as great a time as any to shine them up and start using them to help make life easier. Your produce will taste better and you'll spend less time in the kitchen so you can use all that green powered energy to spend time making memories with your family.
Still not quite sure the best way to use them? We'll be showing you some essential skills that will make you a CSA pro in no time.
Which of these tools is your favorite?
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