Balanced Diet Solution? Eat Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables!

Balanced Diet Solution? Eat Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables!


A CSA box is packed with seasonal fruits and
vegetables that are key to a balanced diet. This is the typical size of my CSA box. But
this week, I have two boxes, which can feel overwhelming… and heavy. In this video,
I’ll show you how I go about working though a large quantity of seasonal fruits and vegetables
in just one week. Hi, I’m Micaela, creator of the kitchenlister
online recipe finder and pantry management tool. My goal in this video is to give you
the confidence to try out a CSA subscription for yourself, which will help with your goal
of eating a balanced diet. You’ll have no problem using a CSA box which contains as
little as six items after watching me use a double CSA box which contains over 30! First some general tips to help you get started.
Make sure you take the time to store produce properly. Plan on eating leftovers or something
very simple to prepare the day you pick up your box so you don’t feel rushed. Most
items should be kept in the fridge but not always. Adding paper towels helps avoid spoilage.
And pay attention to the crisper drawers – most have humidity settings – so use them. Second,
think about using up produce according to perishability. Most cut greens and fresh herbs
are highly perishable so focus on using those first. Root vegetables, onions, cabbage, potatoes
and apples are all long-keeping so just make sure they’re stored well and use them after
everything else is gone. Thinking about your produce in this way also makes it easy to
decide what to cook next! For specifics, download my free vegetable storage and perishability
chart at kitchenlister.com. Now let’s talk about some of the items I
have to cook with this week. This is the amount of food in one box. But remember, I have twice this much. And here it is again, simply separated into low, medium and high perishability groups.
Now with so much produce, I also want to consider which items freeze well. Broccoli, cauliflower
and carrots are obvious choices, but any leafy greens and beets can also be frozen if fully
cooked first. And a few additional items freeze well with extra prep – basil and cilantro
can be made into pesto, and eggplants can be roasted and pureed, or many of these vegetables can be made into soups. How am I going to use these frozen vegetables if I’m always getting new CSA boxes? The longest CSA subscriptions typically only run for six months out of the year. If you’re trying to eat locally, you’ll appreciate having your freezer stocked with fruits and vegetables in the dead of winter. The next step is to come up with a rough meal
plan for the week. Think about incorporating produce into breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I usually aim to cook all of each ingredient at one time, rather than having small amounts
of each remaining. If it’s too much food for one meal, then it becomes leftovers for
lunch! This tip is less useful for ingredients that you’ll eat raw since they are quick
to prepare on the spot. One way to check that you are on track to use everything within the week is to divide the number of items by the number of days. In this case, 15 different varieties of produce over one week means I should use up about two things per day. Obviously, this is just a rough guide to help you plan your meals and make sure that you aren’t
left with too much produce at the end of the week. So let’s look again at the produce I received
this week, again sorted by perishability. Mixed salad greens means I’ll be eating
salad for the first couple days. To keep it interesting, I’ll toss in some of the fresh
herbs, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, radishes, or Asian pears, plus any nuts, cheese or cured
meats that I might have on hand. Salads make easy packable lunches and also work for breakfast
with a poached egg. Or if you’re not a fan of salads, try the greens on sandwiches as
a replacement for lettuce. Speaking of breakfast, beet greens are delicious sautéed in butter
and served with fried eggs. And of course, bacon, sausage, or toast could be added to
complete these meals. If you like smoothies for breakfast, cucumbers make an interesting
addition and can help thin them out. I think I’ll make a basil-cilantro pesto to serve
with eggplant pasta and freeze any extra pesto. I’ll also roast the extra eggplant at the
same time, and then freeze it for later. Any fresh tomatoes can be added at the end of
cooking to brighten up most dishes. Radishes also make easy garnishes on the plate but
my favorite is radish crostini – bread, butter, sliced radishes and salt topped with
thinly sliced radish greens – which make great appetizers for entertaining. One of
my go-to dishes for using up lots of leafy greens is a baked casserole. The basic formula
is to sauté a mixture of any type of greens and then bake it with a topping, usually cheese.
I cook the greens with other vegetables like onion, garlic, cabbage, peppers, and chiles
when available. I also mix in mustard, olives, capers or canned tuna and sometimes add tomatoes,
nuts, or breadcrumbs to the topping. Since I didn’t get many greens in my box this
week, I’ll try using a combination of cooked broccoli and cauliflower instead of the greens.
At the same time, I could blanch and freeze any broccoli and cauliflower that I don’t
use. Or I could make a broccoli cheese frittata to have on hand for easy lunches. Finally,
the pears and grapes can be served throughout the week with breakfast, or eaten as snacks
or dessert. Okay, it has been three days since I picked
up my CSA box so let’s see how I’m doing. I used up the last of the salad with an omelet
this morning. I added the remaining radish greens to the broccoli-cauliflower casserole. Following my rule, I’ve hopefully used at least six items. So here’s what’s left…
and everything is still looking good. I’ll roast the beets and carrots to make a filling
for tacos and top with shredded cabbage, queso fresco and fresh cilantro. I can’t eat tacos
without pinto beans so fortunately I have some on hand. I’d also like to use up some
items from the freezer so I search for #freezer in my kitchenlister tool to see everything
I have. This list is long enough that I would forget about a lot of these things if I didn’t
keep track of them here. It looks like I have cooked chickpeas, which I’ll use to make
a salad with the leftover roasted beets. And I also have vegetable stock to make carrot soup with the rest of the carrots. Since whole heads of cabbage will keep for months, I’ll
use up the cut cabbage with pickled vegetables and leftover pinto beans and save the remaining
heads for later. The Anjou pears are not ripe yet so I’ll continue to leave them at room
temperature. So here we are, it’s the end of the week.
Let’s take a look at what’s left. A couple heads of cabbage and half the pears… not bad. With this many pears, I’ll sauté some of them to eat with pancakes or waffles. This week I’ve shown you how I tackle using
up lots of seasonal fruits and vegetables – one of the keys to maintaining a balanced
diet. If you’re trying to reduce your meat consumption, CSA boxes are an easy way to
get started. With so much produce, you simply don’t have enough room left on your plate
for meat! You can see a transcript of this video by clicking “show more” in the description
below, but if you have any questions about anything I’ve covered, leave me a comment
below. And don’t forget to go to kitchenlister.com to download my free vegetable storage and
perishability chart. That doesn’t work, does it? First some generals tip… I screwed it up already. – Is that too close? – Diving into the camera there. Someone’s like, what the (bleep) are you thinking? Doing this I realized, a lot of people probably don’t know how to do this. Do you dump everything all over the table when you’re trying to mix in your tiny bowl? Or if you’re not a sam… or if you’re not a sfan… or if you’re not a fan of salads… say something. – Okay it’s been three days. – Have a
different outfit on. – No, oh… Oh yeah. That’s a good point.