Now that we’re at or near the end of the summer/fall growing season, we may be finding ourselves with produce that is starting to get over-ripe. Rather than throwing the produce out, consider these actions that can end up saving you money on your future grocery bill. Some of the actions could also save you time in meal preparation.
- Chop the vegetables and freeze them to use in soups, stews, or to cook with a roast.
- Puree the vegetables to use as part of the liquid base for soups and stews. Or add them to spaghetti sauce for extra flavor and to make the sauce go further.
Seasoning vegetables (such as onions and peppers)
- Chop the onions and peppers and flash freeze them before putting them in freezer bags.
- When they are flash frozen first, they won’t stick together so much and you can just remove the amount you need.
- To flash freeze, spread the vegetables in a single layer on a cookie sheet and put in the freezer until thoroughly frozen. Don’t leave them in for more than a few hours or they may get freezer burn. Once they are thoroughly frozen, take them off the cookie sheet and put in freezer bags.
- Puree the onion and peppers with tomatoes and freeze to use in chili soup or other similar dishes.
- Freeze small fruits like berries in bags to use in desserts or smoothies. You can also stir them into your yogurt for a refreshing treat.
- Slice ripe apples, bananas, peaches, or pears and flash freeze them (see above for flash freezing directions) before putting in freezer bags.
- Throw them into smoothies.
- Use them for making fruit breads.
- Use them for making fruit crisp or fruit pies.
Herbs (such as parsley, chives, basil)
- Wash and dry the herbs and put them in freezer bags, bagged by herb type, of course. When you need to use the herb, just break off the amount you need and put it in the dish you are making.
Do you have other ideas for saving ripe produce? Share them!Judith Ackland has more than 26 years of experience in accountancy and financial planning, including seventeen years as a CFO of a diverse business. She started Crystal Financial in 2010 to help a wide array of individuals, families, and business owners better understand their finances and how good financial management could help them achieve their goals. Judith has an MA in Professional Accountancy from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln as well as a Certified Public Accountant Certificate and a Certified Financial Planner designation.