Monday, September 26, 2016

Prepping Fruits and Vegetables for the Week!



I've seen a lot of ladies on the internet making salads for the week, putting them in canning jars and thought what a cool idea.  I also wondered how long they would last that way.  Well I tried it and found that mine lasted in canning jars for 12 days.  The last salad was just as crisp and tasty as the first.  I take that back it was crisper than the first.

If you know me you know that I cook all of the time, literally!  I fix full course meals every night and always have.  Mama and all my grandma's did that.  I come from a long line of wonderful cooks!  So when I say I cook every night it is the truth.  Chuck says he finds it hard to take me out to eat because I'm always cooking.



I'm trying something new.  I'm prepping a week maybe two weeks worth of fruits and vegetables by washing, chopping, preparing for use in recipes. You know that I buy in bulk because I just don't like to get out and waste time shopping more often than necessary.

A list of the items purchased for this week:
Iceberg, Curly Leaf, Romaine Lettuces, fresh cabbage and mustard greens, asparagus  Broccoli, cauliflower, small colored sweet peppers, large red, orange & yellow bell peppers, cucumbers, tiny green onions, organic carrots, celery, radishes, grape tomatoes, vine ripened tomatoes, Brussel Sprouts, Idaho Potatoes, yellow onions, organic garlic, apples Granny Smith for cooking, 2 Gala, 2 Red Delicious, 4 pears, bag of red seeded grapes, bag of green seedless grapes, 2 bunches of bananas, 1 cantaloupe, blueberries, blackberries, fresh ginger.



We really like salads but I must confess that I really hate to make a salad and sometimes think I can prepare a 6 course meal in the time it takes me to fix a wonderful salad.  Of course I've made huge salads in a bowl and stored in the fridge only to see them turn yellow and mushy after a day or two. The chickens enjoy more of it than we do.  What a wonderful idea and I don't know who came up with it first all I know is I saw it on some blogs and you tube videos the making of salads and storing in containers and canning jars for the week. Johnny told me of some at his work that put the salad dressing in the bottom of their jar and them layer their salads in.



This was my first experiment using canning and recycled glass jars that I found way too cute to take to garbage recycle.  These salads lasted for 12 days.  We ate on them for that length of time.  I didn't leave any for any longer to see exactly how long they would last because they were so convenient and delicious we ate them in that time period.




1. Take your time shopping.  Select the best you can find in your produce.  The end result will only be as good as what you have in the beginning.
2. Work these up within a day if possible.
3. Wash, soak about 5 minutes in cool water.
4. Iceberg remove core by whacking knob of core on counter pull out with your hands. Run water inside the center where you've removed the core, then rinse the other side. Pull apart with both hands and drain upside down.
5. Drain on paper toweling or spin to dry
6. Pull apart all lettuce with your hands do not cut them.
Leave some of the lettuce leaves whole if you will be using them in sandwiches etc.  Leave damp and roll them up in paper towels, place in a zip loc bag and place in vegetable drawer of your fridge.



I added white vinegar and lemon juice to water for washing these.


Wash, peel, chop and prepare all ingredients that you personally like to use in your salads. Place them each in separate bowls to work with when filling containers for the fridge.  Actually wash all of your vegetables you will be using for the week while you're at it.



I found some beautiful fresh mustard greens so went ahead and gave them 3 washings the first wash had salt added to remove any live critters if there are any, drained and pulled the leaves apart & placed in ziploc bag for easier cooking this week.Washed these brussel sprouts which were in a cook in microwave packaging because I just don't like to cook and eat these things without washing first.  It's just too dangerous nowadays. I gently washed the asparagus then broke the tough ends off.  Laid them on a dish towel to drain and dry.  Bagged the brussel sprouts and asparagus as well. Place all in vegetable crisper of your fridge.



Now when I'm looking to make a dish all I have to do is reach in grab a bag of prepared vegetables to cook or use in a recipe! Exciting and as close to a boxed or pre-bagged item I'm going to get! Healthier too!



Peel and chop carrots for use in your recipes this week and possibly the next week.  Bag and store in the vegetable crisper of your fridge.




These were the first cucumbers that I have purchased from a grocery, I've been getting mine from a neighborhood farmer. I hate to say it but these of course are too big with huge seeds so they had to go. Carly actually taught me years ago to remove the big seeds and I've found a grapefruit spoon does this job easily.


MAKE YOUR SALADS

I made some salads in these plastic containers because they are easier for Chuck to take to work. They stay just as fresh in these as in the canning jars.


Be sure to seal tightly and store in the vegetable crisper of the fridge.



Filling and layering ingredients into the jars. Pint jars serve one and quart jars serve two people.



Do you like the white canning jar screw caps?  I found them here in both regular & wide mouth.


I have to lay the larger canning jars down but the pint jars stand perfectly in my crisper drawer. Work with yours until you can store your produce being sure to set your humidity to the correct level for vegetables. Guess I need to bag my ginger but it does quite well in the drawer for me. I have taken the plastic from my mushrooms and put paper toweling over the top of them.


FRUITS

Fruits all washed, dried, bagged, jarred, ready to eat!  I have to confess the cantaloupe in the canning jar is so accessible, cold and delicious!  It doesn't last long.


You can probably see that the blackberries I found were way to ripe in top bag here, we'll have to eat quickly. Sometimes you just can't tell and you don't want to open the container.







I bag the grapes and other smaller fruits in the zip lock snack bags because it holds just the right amount.  Well unless you're a hungry man on the way to work but then again you can just grab 2 bags and run!




Store in the crisper drawer with humidity set for fruits of your fridge. I confess that I've had to break the big box store bulk buying habit for some things.  I found that by buying loads of one fruit I didn't get the variety and became bored before finishing it.  You can only eat and give away so much. Which is another thing I like to do as well. Have something on hand to give to someone.




My hungry man has packed his lunch for the next day, well this may be a snack for him I'm not sure. He gets excited and loves to share so I put some of my homemade Ranch Dressing in another jar for his friend. They love it! 

*Tip
This would also be a good time for you to make your homemade salad dressings and dips for all of these freshly washed and portioned salads and vegetables.




Utilize your scraps in compost or feed the chickens like I do here.  They love it and the rewards will also come back to you in the form of even more delicious farm fresh eggs.  

Also recycle all that you can.  We do I know it is time consuming and irritating to have to wash some of the plastic containers but do so and the earth will thank you!


This took a total of 3 1/2 hours to do for me that is great because I still buy huge amounts at the time.  Keep in mind the time it saves in the long run. I'm so excited and can't wait to cook! You know I already love to cook but this makes it even more enjoyable!  I can tell you that I have less waste because everything is so easy to grab and eat or cook! Less waste and we're actually eating more vegetables and I didn't think that was possible. Just think of the convenience: Having salads, fruits everything at your fingertips! I can tell you we've had melons to rot waiting on one of us to be in the mood to cut and eat.

No waste now!
It's a win win situation!




4 comments:

  1. Great job! The fruits and veggies look so nice ♥

    summerdaisycottage.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Summer! Don't you just love how pretty they are? We have a lot of produce stands especially in some areas of our state and I've always had trouble passing by even one!

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  2. Wonderful job! Looks so yummy. Do you have your homade dressings posted somewhere? Do you add the dressing to the bottom of the jar? Nancy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I didn't put the dressing in the bottom of mine because I was going to want them to stay crisp in the fridge for awhile. If fixing for the next day or so it would work well but if you want to keep a little longer and crisper I'd leave it out. I am working on my cookbook with several dressings. Sorry I don't have any on this website.

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