Sunday is CSA-pickup day in our household. Usually, due to my forgetfulness, I pick up my produce towards the end of the generous 4-hour window we’re given. Feeling as if I’m in a self-induced rush, I usually plop on the sofa afterwards and watch some TV in front of the air conditioner. (Of course, lately it’s been lots of Olympics-watching! Go Team USA!)
But, too much lounging easily turns into a nap which turns into ordering delivery for dinner. Why in the world should I spend money on food when I just received a crap-ton of fresh food that is sitting in a box in my refrigerator?
Yes, a “crap-ton” (or “crap tonne” to those not in the United States) is a real unit of measurement to me. Behold the abundance of zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, and summer squash I received two weeks ago:
This just blows my mind! I have a small share from my CSA and as much as I love most veggies, I have a hard time eating so much squash! I also get a ridiculous amount of other items: so far each of the past three boxes have had at least 4 ears of corn, a head of lettuce, a handful of potatoes, a pint of blueberries, a handful of peaches or plums, at least four carrots… whoa! The prep of cleaning, slicing (or shredding, grating, etc.), cooking, peeling… all of that is a bit much for a lazy Sunday, or so I tell myself.
It’s even harder when I realize on Monday evening that I really ought to have done all of that prep on Sunday when I had all the time in the world. When I get home from work, I usually go for a run or clean, shower, and then cook dinner. Hindsight is 20-20, but it’s very obvious I had to do something.
This may be obvious to you non-procrastinators and master-preparers, but here’s my how-to for saving yourself time during the week for the rest of us out there!
- Get yourself some Veggie Wash. This stuff is seriously amazing. Not only is it all-natural (and paleo!), but it really truly does what it says! If you think your zucchini is smooth when you wash it by hand, just spritz some of this stuff on it, rub rub rub, and rinse. It practically glows!
- If you know how you want your produce to be prepped, do it now! For instance, if I get one huge zucchini and two babies, I slice up the one huge one then freeze it in a Ziploc bag, keeping the two babies in the fridge to be shredded or sliced, depending on what I want to do. Sometimes I will just slice, bag, and freeze all of it if I know there’s a slim chance I won’t eat it all that week; the worst that will happen is that I have to defrost it!
Most recently, we only ate two of our five ears of corn before the next four arrived in our next box. I oven-roasted all but two of the total lot, cut the kernels off, and froze it in bags. I now have frozen corn that is better than the stuff in the store because, well, it’s local and I don’t have to buy it – I already paid for it when I signed up for my CSA! Why buy frozen veggies when you can freeze your own?
- Label your bags! I’m notoriously bad for this. In the past, I didn’t label my bags. Fast-forward to who-knows-how-many-months later, and I have a brick of orange-colored frost in a bag in the freezer. Were these once carrots, or were these sweet potatoes? Regardless, they are now inedible because I had no idea of the date and just let it slip to the back of the freezer. Now, as you can see in the photo above, I label and date everything, and keep the items on my freezer door so they don’t get lost in the abyss.
So, how long do I store this stuff for anyway? Fruit and veggies can store in the freezer for one year, so I know that in the winter if I feel like having a blueberry smoothie, I can! A good guide is this awesome infographic for how long certain foods can keep in the freezer or pantry. It’s definitely worthy of printing and sticking to your freezer door. The FDA has a really good, detailed guide here which is very comprehensive and detailed.
So, now my typical Sunday is a bit different. It’s plenty lazy, believe me – I still get my CSA box within the last 45 minutes of our generous 4-hour window! Now, when I get my produce home, I clean, prep, and store right then and there…
…then I take a nap!