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Get Fresh

 

I have never liked to throw food away. It is a waste of money.

My biggest waste problem is with fresh produce. This is because of two things. One, I am a small eater, and two stores sell produce in such huge quantities. It is difficult when single AND a small eater to use up, say a huge stalk of celery.

I think this is a common problem and wasted produce can put a big dent in one’s budget. It is like throwing money down the garbage disposal!

And with produce SO expensive these days every penny saved is of utmost importance.

Over the years I have tried many different ways to make produce last. I have learned a few tricks for keeping produce fresh as long as possible.

I am happy to share some of those tricks with you today.

Bananas

I am not sure anyone really knows how to keep bananas fresh for very long. First thing I recommend is to buy only what you will need or eat for only one or two days.

I do know this much: Do not refrigerate. Do not place in a bag of any sort. Do not store in a dish with any other fruit. All of these things will make the bananas ripen sooner.

The best tips are to hang on a banana holder if you have one. Another way that has worked for me is to pull them apart when you get them home. You can often find lose bananas at the store. I get those.

Celery

I have tried several methods here too. Best way I have found is to cut off the bottom of the celery and any brown looking leaves, and then wrap it all completely and tightly in aluminum foil. Then place it in the crisper of your refrigerator. Do not wash before hand as the dampness could cause early rot, mold, or both.

I have been able to extend the freshness of celery about 5-7 days doing this.

Lettuce

Wash the leaves and then dry, dry, dry the leaves with towels very thoroughly. Water is what makes lettuce leaves spoil so quickly. If you have one, and I recommend you do, also spin the leaves in a lettuce spinner. That too will help dry the leaves.

Then put the dry leaves inside a plastic bag with 1 or 2 paper towels to absorb any lingering moisture. Place in your crisper and you should get a few extra days from your lettuce.

Mushrooms

Place the mushrooms in a paper bad and loosely fold over. Then place in the refrigerator, not the crisper. The crisper is too moist for mushrooms.

Raspberries

Do not wash them. The water will make them spoil faster. Gently remove them from the container and turn them upside down and place on a large plate so that they are not touching each other. Place a small but taller than the berries, object in the middle of the plate. I use an egg cup. Then place aluminum foil over them and wrap tightly. They will last several days this way. Wash them when you are ready to eat them.

Strawberries

First, choose the ripest berries you can because strawberries do not ripen any further once picked. Leave their caps on and do not wash them until ready to use. Store in a colander in the refrigerator until ready to use. Do not cover.

Tomatoes

Do not store uncut tomatoes in the refrigerator as it ruins both the flavor and the texture. Store them above 55 degrees stem side down, especially if you buy stem less tomatoes. If you can, buy tomatoes on the vine. They will last a bit longer. Do not wash them until you are ready to eat.

 

These fruits and vegetables are the main ones I have trouble with. If there is a fruit or vegetable I did not include and you want to know how to store it just let me know and I will do a sequel, Get Fresh II.

Featured Recipe        Savory Mushrooms 

I love mushrooms any way you make them or serve them. I love them sliced and mixed in scrambled eggs for breakfast. I like them in salads and pastas. I love them on steaks, chicken, or pork chops. And I like them as appetizers like in this recipe.

Answers.com defines ‘savory,” as “Piquant, pungent, or salty to the taste; not sweet.” I think that sums up this very delicious recipe.

You can serve this as a side dish to any meat entrée, especially steak. You could even serve these mushrooms over the steak.

You could also serve it for party food, like the Super Bowl. Just set out some party toothpicks and let people stab their food.

You can use this recipe in other ways too.

SERVING SUGGESTION —–>  You could chop the mushrooms, lightly sauté them, add the Worcestershire mixture, cool the mushrooms completely and serve on top buttered bread. So elegant. With some soup and salad you could have an entire meal.

SERVING SUGGESTION: —–>  You could follow the recipe in the first suggestion and top some pasta or rice with them too.

This is truly an all purpose recipe.

This is what you need for 4 servings:

¾ pound small mushrooms

¼ cup butter

2-3 anchovy filets

1 garlic clove

2 tablespoons minced parsley

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Salt & pepper to taste to taste

Here is what you do:

Mince the parsley.

Combine anchovies, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, salt & pepper, and parsley in a bowl and set aside. Leave the anchovies whole. They will melt right into your sauce when you heat the mushrooms. 

Prepping the Mushrooms

Clean the mushrooms. 

NOTE: I just discovered my mushroom brush is missing. I hope I do not have to go out and buy a new one. Where did I put it? Not where I always keep it. Drat!

So I had to use one-fourth of a dry paper towel to clean the mushrooms.  I just lightly waved it back and forth over the mushrooms to get the big surface dirt off. In many ways it worked better than my brush. I do this right over the sink. These were really dirty little mushrooms.

Then using one-fourth of a damp paper towel lightly rub off any remaining dirt.

Last job in prepping the mushrooms is to cut off a small part of the stem. Not all of it. Just a wee bit.

NOTE: All of this sounds like a time consuming process. It is not. Maybe 10-15 minutes, less if you have your children help out. It takes longer to write it out than it does to actually do it. And the rest of this recipe goes very fast. I woud say making the whole recipe takes 30 minutes or less.

Onward fellow cooks…………

Now melt the butter over medium low heat.

Add the mushrooms and stir the mushrooms to make sure each of them is well coated with butter.  Sauté the mushrooms about a minute or two gently stirring constantly over medium low heat.

Stir the anchovy mixture into the mushrooms and heat until mushrooms are heated through about 5-7 minutes. It will not take 2 minutes before all traces of the anchovies are all gone. Anchovies melt when heated forming a great savory sauce.

Spoon the mushrooms into a bowl. Pour the sauce over the top of the mushrooms. Serve hot.

Bon appétit!!! 

Cost

¾ pound small mushrooms*           $3.07*

¼ cup butter                                  $0.36

2-3 anchovy filets                           $0.36                                                 

1 garlic clove                                  $0.03

2 tablespoons minced parsley          $0.07

1 tbspn Worcestershire sauce          $0.12

Salt & pepper to taste

* I had a $2 off coupon which is why I decided to make this recipe.

Total cost = $4.01
Cost per person = $1.00

If you are making the recipe for a party this recipe makes about 35 mushrooms.

Quote of the Day

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.

Albert Einstein

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2 comments to Get Fresh

  • LHunter

    Awesome tips! What do you recommend for grapes and blueberries?

    • Roberta

      Glad you like the tips, Leslie. The following is in answer to your questions about storing grapes and blueberries.

      How to store grapes

      Like with much produce keeping grapes fresh starts at the grocery store. Choose firm grapes with no mold anywhere. Especially check in the middle of the bunch for lingering molds or mildews.

      When you get home remove any soft or brown grapes. Again, do not wash before storing. Wash right before you will eat them.

      Place them in a zip-lock plastic bag with holes in it and place in the refrigerator, not the crisper.

      How to store blueberries

      Sadly, blueberries start to deteriorate 2 weeks after picking. It takes many blueberries far more time than that just to get them from where they are picked to the store where you buy them.

      So my first recommendation is try to get berries that were picked as close to where you live as possible. Very hard to do, I know.

      Also choose berries that are plump with no tinge of red on them

      I am very lucky.

      I live near New Jersey. They have the best blueberries in the states. I wait to get blueberries till I see NJ ones in the stores. I also live next to Michigan. Michigan berries are very good too. When I can no longer find Michigan berries, I seldom buy any. Although last year I had some very good berries from Chile.

      When you get home with your blueberries remove the broken, dried up, moldy, shriveled or brown berries and throw away.

      Do not wash. Place them in a plastic or glass bowl (never metal) with a lid, seal them and place in the refrigerator. Use as soon as possible, 2-3 days at most.

      Hope this helps.