Five Summer Food Saving Secrets

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by Jennifer Fugo on July 5, 2011

Ever wonder how it is that some people (like me) always seem to have food on hand?  Well, I’m going to share with you FIVE simple secrets that help insure that I’m always ready with something healthy AND delicious at the drop of a hat.  These tips are perfect for those constantly on-the-go like myself with little time to make a grand gourmet meal after a very long day.

Before you can even integrate my secrets into your kitchen, I need to tell you about some ‘equipment’ (and I use that term very loosely) that must be in your kitchen.  They’re all simple items that you can certainly pick up the next time you run to the grocery store.

1) Freezer Trays

2) Re-sealable Ziploc Freezer Bags

3) Re-sealable Ziploc Bags (preferably with the slider to make closing the bag easier)

4) Salad Spinner

Beans

Have you ever cooked too many beans?  Or opened a can only to find that you can’t use them all within a few days?  I’ve done this a few times and, being the type of person who hates wasting perfectly good food, I realized that you can freeze beans in a ziplock freezer baggie.  They’ll stay good for up to 6 months.  Add them directly into soups or sautées or let them defrost in the fridge a day or so before using in a room temperature dish.

Fresh Herbs

Herbs are one of those things that don’t always taste so good when they are dried.  Especially ones that are more delicate like basil.  Rather than spending money always purchasing fresh herbs at the grocery store, buy yourself a plant and either put it in your garden or plant it in a pot.  You can enjoy the freshest herbs ever all season long.

Whether you go the actual plant route or not, you should definitely utilize the abundant deliciousness that is a result of having fresh herbs on hand.  Here’s how you can keep them around all year round without ever having to buy bunches at the store.  You may remember that last year I wrote about how to freeze fresh herbs, but you can also create incredible and simple pestos which also can be frozen in individual ziploc bags and used a few months later when you don’t have time to make a sauce or want a taste of summer.

Berries

I absolutely refuse to waste any berries because they are expensive and their shelf life can be shorter than I need it to be.  When berries are super-duper ripe and just about ready to get moldy, I’ll remove any stems and such (including any soft or bad spots), rinse them well and then freeze them on a waxpaper-lined baking sheet.  Once frozen, place them in a freezer ziplog bag.  They’ll stay just fine for up to 6 months!

Cherries should be pitted first which is, honestly, a bit of a time consuming process.  However, they are incredibly delicious when you use them to make smoothies or refreshing light drinks!

Lettuce Greens

Summer is the prime time to buy the freshest and best tasting version of your favorite salad greens.  Whether you buy arugula, romaine, spinach, or an heirloom lettuce at the farmers market, don’t let them go bad sitting in your fridge waiting until you get around to using them.  As soon as you get home, rinse them whole (depending on size) or chopped up and spin them in your salad spinner until they are reasonably dry.  Then pack as many as you can into a ziploc bag, press out the air and seal it closed.  This will keep in your fridge for about a week.  Plus they’re already prepped for you to use – how cool is that!

Corn

Ever make too much corn for a weekend BBQ?  Sometimes I roast more corn than we can eat (I don’t like to boil it since the nutrients are lost into the water you end up pouring down the sink!).  Simply cut the corn from the ear and place it in a Ziploc Freezer bag and pop it into your freezer.  It’s easy to defrost and use again at other meals!


 

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