I have been all about kale lately which is a total about face. As a super taster, I found kale tough to take but since my juice cleanse, my palette has adjusted and I am buying bunches of kale every few days.
I cut the very bottoms of the stems off, place the kale in a jar of water and keep it in the refrigerator. If it starts looking wilted, I cut a little more off the bottoms and wait a day. The kale livens right back up.
And speaking of how to preserve food, an article appeared in The New York Times this week all about how to reduce food waste. I cut, pasted, and edited the section on produce which has some great ideas, some of which I am already doing and some of which I am going to start doing ASAP like mashing ripe avocados with a little lime juice and freezing them for an instant guacamole base.
- Give vegetables some space. A crowded vegetable crisper is soon a rotten one. Allow air to circulate. Most vegetables are best left in plastic bags that are open and punched with holes.
- Leave onions and potatoes in a cabinet or pantry, alone in the dark, away from other vegetables and each other.
- Wrap lettuce and cucumbers well in paper towels and refrigerate in plastic bags. For best results, wrap cucumbers individually.
- Rinse herbs lightly, roll them in paper towels and refrigerate in a plastic bag with the top left open. Or trim the ends off a bunch, put it in a glass of water like a bouquet, and cover with a plastic bag.
- Sauté lettuce that has begun to wilt in olive oil and season with garlic or shallot.
- Make chocolate pudding or mousse with overripe avocados. Or mash them with a little lime juice and freeze for an instant guacamole base. Or blend with spinach or basil, olive oil and herbs to make a sauce for pasta. Or add to salad dressing and purée for a thicker emulsion.
- Keep the stems from cilantro or parsley, along with celery leaves, onion peels, mushroom stems and the like in a bag or bowl in the refrigerator or freezer. When you have enough, simmer into a stock for risotto or soup.
- Toss berries and peeled brown bananas (cut into chunks) in a bag in the freezer for smoothies.
- Keep lemons in the fridge. Wrap zested lemons in plastic, and keep extra lemon halves cut side down in a bowl or on a plate to be used for salad dressings. They can also be preserved or cooked down to a quick marmalade.
- Throw woody stems, like rosemary, thyme, and savory into a roasting pan with root vegetables or when baking tofu.
- Steep mint for tea.
- Purée herbs and olive oil and freeze in plastic bags or ice cube trays. Use as the base for pesto or other herb sauces. Do the same with water. Or try these flavor bombs from Amanda Cohen of Dirt Candy.
- Resprout scallions by using the green parts, then taking the white bulbs and putting them in a jar of water. Replenish the water regularly.
- Hang sturdy herbs upside down to dry. Use as you would any store-bought dried herb.