No one wants to end up wasting perfectly good produce. When produce is past its prime, it's time to do something with it before it spoils. This may require a little creativity and effort, but there are ways to use all of your fruits and vegetables before they end up in the trash can. Stop throwing away money and start preserving your farmer’s market goodies before they expire.
Make interesting quick bread combinations. Make your favorite bread or muffins recipe, then add a cup of chopped produce to the mixture to complement the base flavors of the bread. You can add chopped produce to almost any bread recipe. Banana bread made with overripe bananas is sweet and flavorful. Zucchini, pumpkin, and apple breads are always a treat.
Jams and Jellies
Using pectin packets and jars, you can easily make your own jam at home. You don't need a magnificent canning setup to make homemade jam. Turn your strawberries or cherries into a wonderful treat. There are recipes for almost any kind of jam you can think of. You will need to sweeten the chopped or pureed fruit and add the pectin to thicken the mixture. Homemade jam on toast or a bagel is a delicious breakfast made easy.
Run your fading produce through the food processor to add extra flavor and nutrients to some of your recipes. You can use tomatoes and peaches for a salsa. You can use fruit purees for jam and jelly making. You can even make sweet pepper or rhubarb jelly for something different. You could puree tomatoes to make homemade pasta sauce or chili starter.
Soups and Stews
If you have several produce items that are nearing the end of their shelf life, find a suitable soup or stew recipe you could use them in for dinner. Finely chopped vegetables make soups and stews thicker and heartier. Soups and stews are a quick way to use a variety of leftover vegetables in one recipe. Onions. potatoes, carrots, celery, and corn are all good add-ins for casserole dishes as well.
Soaking wilted lettuce or herbs in an ice water bath for about twenty minutes can help them spring back. If your lettuce has lost its crispiness, you can dunk it in a bowl of ice water to revive it. Broccoli, flimsy beans, carrots, and celery can all be revived with ice water. To help dry storage produce like tomatoes or avocados keep longer, refrigerate them. Cooler temperatures will keep them ripe longer until you’re ready to use them.