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April, 2013

Quality Organic Produce
By Mark Mulcahy

The first step in building such a practice around your house is to choose a produce department that focuses on quality organic produce and who buys from Melissa’s
.

Making the most of what you have:

I was interviewing Jonathan Bloom, author of American Wasteland, the other day and he relayed some astounding facts about our food system:

Up to 40% of the food produced in the U.S. goes uneaten.

50% more food is wasted today than in the mid 70’s.

$165 billion dollars worth of food is thrown away every year.

Wow! That will make you stand up and take notice. Add this to the fact that most Americans still don’t eat as much produce as they are supposed to for optimum health, and that got me thinking; perhaps if we knew how to choose and store our produce better, we might be able to make a big difference in both of these areas.

The first step in building such a practice around your house is to choose a produce department that focuses on quality organic produce and who buys from Melissa’s. This month they have lots of spring favorites to choose from, including organic asparagus, green beans, beets, broccoli, carrots, red, green and rainbow chard, collards, green, red and Lacinato kale, both types of parsley, and of course, mangos.

Before you shop, do the following: Kale

Make a list: This small act can help you waste much less by really thinking about what you will use and need.

Plan a few meals: Most of us are busy and things come up that make our best intentions to cook at home into a fridge full of unused food - so unless you are really dedicated or have a "cooking day" to prepare meals ahead, plan a couple of meals for nights that you’ll really have the time to spend. You’ll have the joy of a home cooked meal as well as the satisfaction from wasting less and saving more money.

Choose easy quick recipes: You’ll be surprised how often you cook when it doesn’t seem like a huge project when you get home after a long day.

Buy what you’ll use in a few days: With a list and meal plan it will be easier to buy just want you need to get through a few days, which means you’ll waste less and have fresher product to eat at the end of the week. This also allows you to change your mind as the week progresses.

Once you get your well-thought-out pile of Melissa’s organic produce home, here are some tips to make the most of what you’ve bought.

Organic Asparagus: Refrigerate after purchase. Trim the stem and wrap the bottom in a damp paper towel to keep the stalks moist and fresh.

MangosOrganic Mangos: Keep unripe mangoes at room temperature. Mangos shouldn’t be refrigerated before they are ripe. To speed up ripening, place mangos in a paper bag at room temperature. Once ripe, mangos should be moved to the refrigerator, which will slow down the ripening process. Whole, ripe mangos may be stored for up to five days in the refrigerator.

Organic Parsley: Fresh parsley will store best in the refrigerator wrapped in a damp paper towel in a plastic bag.

Bunched Carrots: Store without their greens in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer in the refrigerator.

Organic Tomatoes: Keep tomatoes out of the fridge as they are sensitive to cold and won’t ripen properly. Store them on the counter out of direct sunlight until ripe and ready to eat.

I could go on and on, but for more ideas on choosing and storing food, look at the rest of our Melissa's website and you’ll be well on your way!