I have an issue that I have identified in my current diet. I am not eating as many vegetables as I should. (none basically). I stopped buying them at the store because they would go bad in my fridge before I had a chance to eat them. Especially mixed greens. I don't like eating plain iceburg lettuce, I much prefer mixed greens, rocket or red lettuce for salads. Also I want to eat things like grilled asparagus, bell peppers. I can plan out my meals and buy only what I need for the week but then I end up skipping meals, or not making what I planned because I am tired. My lettuce goes bad in a few days, so I can't even get away with going to the store once a week. Does anyone have this problem and know a good solution?
Do a bit of hunting and figure out which markets offer the most reasonable prices for “loose” veggies. For example I have a couple markets here where I can easily buy non-sale loose carrots for the same price per pound as I’d have to buy a large bag at other markets.
Avoid mixed greens. I love them too, but it just makes life a lot easier if you never bother buying them because dammit those buggers do rot all the time.
Crockpot. Crockpot. Crockpot. Did I mention crockpot?
People here are going to hate me for recommending this, but microwaving does a great job of cooking a lot of veggies (of course some better than others). One thing that I do quite often for dinner is:
Yeah, I have this problem too. Did you know you can grow a decent amount of lettuce on a patio though? Plus pickled, frozen or dried vegetables are good backups. Typically I go shopping once a week and have fresh veg for a few days, then I start having to rely on backups. Yesterday my dinner was lamb shanks + pickled carrots + dried dulse (a sea vegetable) + frozen spinach + thai basil from the yard. No shopping required. Another great idea is if you get an easily freezable vegetable, buy more than you need and freeze the rest. Bell peppers and asparagus freeze just fine. You don't need salad greens to have vegetables, you'll be fine if you just have salad the first three days after shopping.
The only thing that comes to mind is turning down the humidity level in the refrigerator. Mine was to high and it was rotting my foods, it helped.
I hate recommending this but perhaps portioning and freezing the excess so you aren't wasting food, loosing money. I guess it's better to have them rather than not.
the other option is just to buy only what you will eat in a day or two and pick up things as you run out.
Well, frozen veggies would be an obvious solution -- not for greens, of course! I do share your frustration over those; nothing is more repulsive than rotting greens, but I still buy them and hope for the best. I do go to the store or, in season, the farmer's market more than once a week, however -- being in a small midwestern city this isn't a hassle for me. Most things seem to last pretty well.
I think I am reading your question a bit differently than others. My read is that the fresh salad green type veggies that you are buying are going bad in your fridge not because of some problem with your fridge, but because you buy them and then don't use them (prepare them) within a "pre-rot" timeframe.
One thing that can help with this with salad is to pre-prepare it and keep it in a large rectangular salad container that is of average depth. Part of the key is in the prep. You wash everything and then carefully lay it out on clean towels or papertowels, or even place a dishwashing drainer to dry thoroughly. Then cut up and prepare as you like your salad and put in the plastic salad keeper. The key is in getting all the greens/veggies dry. And also, do not pre -add things that are wet like, black olives or green olives, for instance. Add them quickly when you actually get the salad mix out to eat, at mealtime.
Premade bunches of salad greens like this have been really essential for me.
You can also prep things like fresh asparagus and bell peppers you might plan on cooking in the same manner. Prewash and cut meal sized amounts and store dry in plastic bags or another container of your choice. Get them ready in advance to just throw on the heat.
This makes your fridge a place where you can just grab and go and eat the great stuff you want to eat, but find frustrating to totally prepare when dinnertime comes around after a long day at work, etc.
I also hate to waste food, so working this system feels much better all the way around!
I had the same problem, and someone suggested Debbie Meyer Green Bags: http://www.amazon.com/Debbie-Meyer-20317-Green-Bags/dp/B0011TMP3Y
They really do keep veggies longer. Also, we buy frozen veggies sometimes. Not as nutritious/tasty as fresh, maybe, but a hell of a lot better than rotten.
Also, I just plain don't eat salad greens. I don't like them that much, and they always go bad on me. I do asparagus, zucchini, kale, green beans, broccoli. Anything that you cook can last a little longer, since it doesn't matter as much if it is a bit wilted. Cabbage will last freaking FOREVER in your fridge.
I run into the same thing all the time. I order weekly from a CSA so we try to stuff ourselves with the stuff that will go bad first, but there are those weeks when it just doesn't work out, and there is the sad wilted produce fridge purge. Back when I was juicing more, I'd make a tall glass of whatever was left in the fridge the night before the next delivery just to use it up.
I try to stay on top of things, and if I anticipate a stressful week, I blanch all the broccoli, collards, spinach, kale, mustard greens in a big pot of salted water, and then freeze them in serving size portions. If that sounds like too much work though frozen spinach, peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, etc. are supposedly higher in nutrients than the same food that has slowly been degrading in your fridge for a week. I wouldn't stress at all about sticking with frozen veggies if you feel like you waste less food that way.
I seriously love pickled veggies too. Sauerkraut, pickles, and kim chi are the only veggies I eat some days.
Nori sheets are shelf stable and good for wrapping up tasty meat and fish if you want to add some sea veggies. Dried mushrooms and seaweed can be tossed into a soup at the last minute for some veggie goodness too.
We also grow a big pot of parsley and some kale so I can snack on those if I'm feeling deprived of the fresh green stuff.
And lastly, if you want to venture into supplement territory, I have a jar of Vitamineral Green (basically a collection of a ton of different dried veggies in powder form), and I use a couple tablespoons of that in some water whenever I worry that I need more veggies or a quick energy boost. Best of all it can sit on the counter for a year or more and not go bad.
I don't care for salad greens. Spinach & chard have more nutrients and can be pre-cooked and then added to eggs or meat dishes.
My husband (the chef!) buys a bunch at the Farmer's Market, cooks them up and then I am set for the week.
I have the same problem with those mixed baby greens. Romaine lettuce keeps a lot longer, is pretty easy to clean (I usually buy the hearts, so they're pretty clean to start with), and I find it more tasty & satisfying than the mini greens anyhow.
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