As we are wrapping up the menu planning series (click for parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5), I’ve gotten questions on affordability. How do we afford to eat a Paleo diet? Isn’t it expensive?
Yes, it is, and I’m still ruminating the cost of our diet question. I will share once I get my thoughts straightened out!
For today, I want to share one aspect of affording a whole foods, Paleo diet:
Don’t let your food rot in your fridge.
I know, shocking, right? If most of your fresh fruits and vegetables end up in the trash can, it is going to be pretty expensive if you end up buying them twice or three times.
Making a menu plan will solve a lot of that. You will only have the ingredients for the meals you plan to make. You won’t have that theoretically-good-to-snack-on-or-cook-with celery rotting in your fridge. You will only have celery in the fridge if it is actually an ingredient in one of the recipes you are going to make.
The problem I still run into, even with a menu plan, that I’d like to present to you today is what if you get ahead of your menu plan and veggies/fruit are hanging out in the fridge longer than intended?
I ran into this just this week. I had purchased two bags of green onions from Aldi (equivalent to 4-5 bunches of green onions from the regular grocery store. So…a lot!) for use in soups that I never made. I still plan to make them, but the meals I had planned this cycle ended up stretching farther than I thought they would.
So here I am with a whole bunch of green onions that are past their prime. Most have squishy, slimy green pieces. Some only have slight browned ends, mostly crisp and fresh still. They are on their way out. They will be a pile of stinky, mush if I leave them in the fridge too much longer.
Enter my amazing mother-in-law’s solution: snap off the slimy or brown parts, rinse them off, chop as usual, then toss in a zip-top bag and throw in the freezer!
It’s so simple, but I never thought of it. Freeze the vegetables that are about to go bad. Later, toss them into a soup or baked dish, and the consistency will not be noticeable!
Here are my tired green onions. Honestly, I’ve had way worse in my fridge, but I knew if I didn’t take care of these right away, they’d be a stinky mess in no time!
I pulled off all green strands that were slimy or discolored.
Then I snapped off the ends of any pieces that looked dried or discolored. The difference here is I did not remove the entire green piece from the onion. The piece was still crunchy and fresh(ish) looking except the ends.
Next rinse each onion under cold water making sure to remove any remaining slimy parts. Since the onion is in layers, you will find that the entire layer is not always removed down to the white roots. Just make sure all the onions are cleaned up and fresh.
Move the onions to the cutting board. Remove the root ends then chop the rest of the onion.
I, uh, had a lot of these in my fridge. I should’ve counted. I chopped at least 20! Yikes!
Put the chopped onions in a zip top bag, label it, and toss them in the freezer!
The next time I need to add green onions to a soup or egg casserole, I pull these out of the freezer and pour them in frozen. They do not freeze in a hard clump. They are easy to break up when frozen. I never thaw them before I add them to a dish. I know the consistency will be mushy, so I always add them to a dish that will get just a little bit more cooking. I would not use them as a raw topping, say on tacos.
There you have it! You never need to waste green onions again! Chop them up and throw them in the freezer! This tip, and many other like it, will help you use all of the vegetables you buy without wasting any.
Anyone else know this trick? I’ve also done it with bell peppers. Have you tried any other vegetables?
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