Tips to Using All Your Vegetables Before They Go Bad

How do you make sure to use your vegetables before they go bad? This is one my pet peeves because vegetables are quite pricey, and they enhance meals so much.

First, let's start with two tips:

Regularly buy the amount of vegetables for a consistent number of days

If you buy vegetables every 2 weeks, buy the amount you need for 2 weeks. Basta sa Bahay suggests the idiot-proof approach: no stockpiling, no buying in between. It's when you complicate things and make exceptions that you introduce error, so keep it simple. Of course, you'll need a learning curve as to what that exact amount is, but if you are consistent about the period between buys, you'll perfect the amount after a few tries. This is also has the added bonus that your vegetables are not any older than the number of days in between buys.

Plan your dishes and store them packed as ingredients for one meal

I got this idea from the packed all-you-need ingredients for certain dishes that you find in the supermarket, but the basic premise is to store your vegetables as ingredients for one meal already. Of course this takes some discipline: the best time to do this is when you get home from the groceries, in other words: don't put it off. But it pays off in the end. Like my meats (which are in packs so that I only defrost what I need), they go into the refrigerator packed already. You are basically doing prep work in advance, but it works wonders in making sure none of your vegetables go bad on you.

Use all of the vegetable if you can

Before, I had this bad habit of using half a carrot or a third of the cabbage. But I noticed that this was one of the most sure-fire ways to let those leftover go bad. So I made it a point to use whole vegetables. Of course, this is still subject to how it affects the dish you are cooking, but for the most part, I don't mind a bit more cabbage or carrots.

Staple meals I can dump vegetables

That being said, I also finish the last few vegetables I have in these go-to recipes:

  • Eggs dishes: I personally only have my eggs as sunny-side up or scrambled. For the latter, I actually don't like scrambled eggs with just salt, and I can only have it with the flavors of other ingredients. I find that it's just a matter of mincing said vegetable and adding the staple flavors of onion, garlic and tomatoes. I've done this with spinach, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, and sayote (chayote), and honestly it makes having eggs everyday pretty exciting.
  • Garlic-Buttered: Another tried and tested way to cook your vegetables is just to cook it with garlic and butter. Carrots, Brussel sprouts, corn, and cabbage all taste great to me with butter and garlic. As Julia Child famously said, "with enough butter, anything is good." I find that this can elevate simple meals, as just rice and hotdogs or spam gets pretty boring.
  • Fried Rice: Fried rice is another way you can use many vegetables. Like egg dishes, you just want to mince the vegetable and have it with any of the usual fried recipes, of which there are quite a few ways to do. Sometimes I'll have it with butter, sometimes with oyster sauce.

  • Soups: Finally, you almost can't go wrong with any vegetable soup. Perfect for a rainy, the trick is to make sure you soften the vegetables. I find that slow cooking or pressure cooking are perfect methods for soup. I like to experiment with this, but you can't go wrong with making sure you have some combination of the fat, acid and/or salt.

So there you have it: tips on how to make sure you use all your vegetables before they go bad. To be honest, there's a bit of forcing yourself to do so, but I like that by doing so, you make sure you have healthier meals just because you have to put some vegetables in.

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