Fall Five Produce Prep
Produce prep is probably one of my favorite (and most helpful) things I do for us each week. I love sharing about it on Instagram with you, and have received so many wonderful questions regarding how I do what, and why, that I decided to write an ebook on this topic. The only issue for me has been getting started. So I thought I would begin by making this post, to help work out some kinks in my produce prep story telling and hear your thoughts on what would make the most helpful ebook for you. Because what I want most of all is for you to feel confident in buying, prepping, and cooking with produce in every season. I know it can be a hurdle at the beginning, but I hope I can help you feel empowered to do so. After seven years of trying to get our weekly farmers market hauls to last us throughout the week, I’ve developed a method for almost every produce item - some tactics are common ones, and some are more unique.
Usually we understand shopping lists and recipes, but what about the in between part, right? The part where you have to keep all of the ingredients alive and fresh for your weekly meals. And what if you’re not into cooking recipes everyday? If you’re more of a throw-it-together-and-see-what-happens kind of person, like me, it helps to have your ingredients prepped for you. If I see a whole pumpkin sitting on the counter and I’m hungry for dinner, it’s too late for that poor pumpkin. The odds of me using it are slim. But have it peeled, seeded, and diced in a container in the fridge, and I’ll grab for it right away to whip something up.
I decided to prepare five fall produce items for the week with you here, and am thinking maybe I will do the same for each of the seasons leading up to the release of the ebook too? Let me know if this is helpful in any way, and if there is something I could do to make it more beneficial to your prepping needs. This is a trimmed down version of what the ebook would entail, but I think you will get the gist!
For me it’s about knowing what I will need as a cook during the week to succeed, and then prepping ahead of time. Not necessarily cooking anything, but getting the fresh ingredients primed for use. Although a few things in our fridge are stored after being cooked as well (more on this in next week’s post), the majority is left fresh for assembling salads, soups, steamer basket meals, and other recipes - should I dare to follow them.
So here we go! The simple ways I prep five fall veggies. There are many ways to do so, and I’m not trying to cover them all, but only trying to share what I do. I hope some of these work for you too. Let me know what you think in the comments section below, I need all the nudges I can get to start cracking away at this ebook ;).
Kale and chard are the two in this category I purchase the most often. They hold up well to being rolled because they are sturdier and require just a little moisture to keep crisp. This method keeps them fresh for one week.
Step 1: Lay out a cotton kitchen towel.
Step 2: Separate the leaves and rinse well. Give them a good shake.
Step 3: Lay out the leaves on the towel, with a few overlapping.
Step 4: Roll the leaves up in the towel, applying some pressure to minimize air and wrap tightly.
Step 5: Store in the fridge on a shelf, or if you have room, in the crisper drawer (best).
Tip: You may need to unroll and add a spritz more of water halfway through the week if you notice the leaves going limp.
Use: I tear the leaves up into bite sized pieces and add to the steamer basket for a few minutes before serving with my meal.
Rosemary, thyme, and sage are herbs I buy every so often in the fall to add to soups and savory bakes. This method seems to keep them fresh for about two weeks.
Step 1: Lay out a small cotton towel, or reuse the cotton bag I brought them home in (see my bags here).
Step 2: Untie any herbs if bundled, and give them a rinse.
Step 3: Shake off excess water, and wrap in the towel or cotton bag similar to the technique used above for the sturdy greens.
Step 4: Leave sitting on a shelf in the fridge wrapped, or to extend their life a bit longer, place comfortably in a glass storage container with the lid sealed.
Tip: Save the stems for bundling and simmering in soups and stews once you’ve run our of their leaves. (Discard before serving.)
Use: These herbs’ leaves are hardier so they can withstand longer cooking times in soups and stews, and are great for sprinkling over a tray of potatoes to roast.
Kabocha Squash (Pumpkin)
The kabocha squash is the variety of pumpkin we eat the most of in the fall season. This method works well for butternut squashes (and I’m sure others) too, and keeps fresh for one week.
Step 1: Wash any dirt off of the pumpkin and dry.
Step 2: With a sharp knife, carefully slice the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds.
Step 3: Slice the skin off of each half (again, carefully).
Step 4: Dice into small cubes, and place in glass containers.
Step 5: Store in the fridge and use throughout the week.
Tip: You can slice and roast this pumpkin with the skin on if you prefer, I just enjoy my pumpkin this way.
Use: I love throwing a few handfuls into my steamer basket meals in the evening to then enjoy with hummus or a drizzle of tahini and lemon juice. Also for simmering in lentil soups!
Our most beloved vegetable of all, and look at how much it gives! The leaves and stems I enjoy almost more than the florets. Here is how we prepare our broccoli fresh every week.
Step 1. Rinse broccoli crowns (and leaves), then give a good shake.
Step 2: Trim leaves and place in the first glass container.
Step 3: Slice florets and place in the second glass container.
Step 4: Trim a half inch off of the bottom of the stems (compost) and dice the remaining into bite sized pieces. Place these in the third glass container.
Step 5: Seal tightly with a lid, and store in the fridge.
Tip: If you’re not into eating the broccoli stems and leaves, or have too many, they go wonderfully in a green juice!
Use: Steamed is by far our favorite way to enjoy all three parts of the broccoli, but there are endless recipes to use this wonderful veg in. I especially love it paired with a homemade hummus or tahini.
The most nutritional bang for your buck - cabbage! Especially the purple variety because of its high level of antioxidants. I love this veg in so many ways, and it keeps for a good while too.
Step 1: If storing the cabbage whole (top left) I leave unpackaged and sitting in my crisper drawer. It will typically keep for several weeks.
Step 2: Once sliced, if the cabbage is too large to fit in my silicone bags, I wrap it in a cotton kitchen towel (top right) and place it in my crisper. I make a point to use it within a week this way.
Step 3: If I quarter the cabbage and the sections fit in my silicone bag, I’ll store like so to keep from oxidizing too quickly. This way it can last up to two weeks being stored anywhere in the fridge (not just the crisper).
Tip: If you bought an extra large cabbage and are looking for ways to use it up, consider making your own purple sour kraut!
Use: In the fall I love to steam slices of cabbage to enjoy in my dinner bowls with hummus or tahini. Roasting it with a little mustard and maple is delicious too. Or shredding the green variety and adding it to bean soups!