Well you’ve done the right thing and made the decision to improve the way you eat by getting a veg box. No more processed food, take-aways or BOGOFFs. Well, not so many eh?
And that’s a good thing. We would say that but you know it’s true!
So your first box turns up and you are faced with a mountain of veg and you think:
“What the hell am I going to do now!”
“That Cabbage is massive!” “What even is that!”
And there lies the problem, because the standard response is to put it in the fridge and think I’ll do something with that later.
And you don’t.
And then it goes off and you throw it away.
And then you cancel you box as it is a waste of cash and go back to eating rubbish.
BUT, with these 6 simple ideas, you can get so much more from your veg box, and you’ll end up
Saving Money – Eating Well – Enjoying Veg
Ok, that’s a big promise, so what’s the plan?
TIP 1 – BATCH COOKING
You can get a lot of a type of veg in one go. Because the veg is grown for taste not uniformity, then some of it can be enormous. That massive cabbage that is almost fighting to get out of the box…
So rather than use some of the veg and cook for the meal that night, it is much more efficient to prepare it in one go. Only one set of pans, one effort to prep, one bill for power.
Once you have cooked it (see below for best ways) take what you need for the meal that night and put the rest in the fridge or freezer for later. You probably won’t get that veg again in your box for another couple of weeks and this way you’ll have a supply during that time. When you do use it it is just a case of warming up etc rather than prepping and cooking, which is great on those busy weekday nights when you are late from work or after school clubs etc.
You can freeze the veg off as it is, or cook into a meal, e.g. a soup, and freeze that off. Freezing it on its own gives you flexibility when you come to use it though.
Remember to label up so you know what it is and how old it is.
We have a Friday Night Batch Club at home to do this. It’s good family time and a cheeky vino helps 🙂
For more ideas on storing/using your extra veg check our Pinterest Boards
TIP 2 – WASH/BAG/CHILL
When you get your veg you will usually get leaf veg/salad of some variety, e.g. spinach, chard, lettuce. Unfortunately these leaves can hold a bit of grit and also, if like ours there are no chemicals, the odd traveller. These leaves are delicate and will go off quickly if not chilled. There is also evidence that leaf veg particularly can lose its nutritional value quickly if not chilled. And who wants wildlife in the fridge right?
There is a problem with fridges though, and that is that they dry the air. Open leaves in a fridge wilt very quickly as the cool air circulating the fridge literally sucks the moisture from them.
So the best plan is:
1 Rinse in Cold Water
2 Remove excess water (salad spinners are great)
3 Put into plastic bags or containers and SEAL IT
4 Put in fridge (be careful not to put near to cold inlet as it can freeze it and you’ll get a spinach slush puppy)
You can then use the leaves as required and they should stay fresh for up to 10 days (assuming you’ve got a fresh crop like ours eh?)
TIP 3 – PORTION CONTROL
Having batched cooked from TIP 1 one above, don’t just lob everything into a bag and put it in the freezer. It will stick together and you be bashing lumps off with a club hammer every time you go to use it.
It’s best to divide the veg up into portions so you can take out just the right amount each time. We’ve seen a great idea to do this – and that’s using muffin/cake moulds. The silicone ones are the best.
Having batch cooked your veg divide it up into the muffin trays and put these in the freezer. Once frozen, pop them out and put this in your container/bag to go in freezer. You can then just take out as much as you need. It works great for soups etc as well, you just take out as many as you need for that meal.
You can do this with soups etc too – or even make your own frozen ready meals! Much cheaper than buying them.
TIP 4 – USE THE PEELINGS AND STALKS
Quite often you can cut off a large portion of the veg you get; peeling the skin, cutting of the stalks or leaves. Whilst they can be not that good to eat, the contain plenty of flavour and nutrients that we don’t want to waste.
So when you are cooking up you veg box gather all of the off cuts together and use them:
- Boil in water to make a great veg stock to use as base for soups etc
- Add to your juicer/blender
- Use to make Chutney/Pickles
- Roast for veg crisps
When you’ve done that don’t forget to freeze off any excess in portions (see how these tips work together!)
TIP 5 – JUICING/BLENDING
You know, sometimes you just not in the mood for veg right? You know you need a hit of nutrients but cannot be bothered to get the pans out or defrost the store yeah?
We find that a quick and easy way to get your fix is to use a blender to create a juice drink. You can get loads of recipes online, but a mix of veg with a bit of sweetness from some fruit creates a great, and filling hit.
We prefer the blender, as you get all of the veg not just the juice. Lots of nutrients are in the pulp that’s left with juicing; with blending you get it all. Having said that if you do juice try and use the pulp in your cooking…
You can buy specific blenders like Nutribullet for less than £100 but there are a lot that are even cheaper. They really do offer a simple, quick way to get you veg used up, and you can have great fun creating your own blends.
Remember to go easy to start though, as a sudden influx of blended raw veg can lead to some unfortunate side effects….
If you really get into it you can get your own juicing box from us – check here
TIP 6 – COOK WELL
Traditionally most veg has been boiled; who remembers the lifeless, colourless wet cabbage from school dinners? We really cannot remember the last veg we boiled other than potatoes now and again.
We regard boiling as almost a sin. Loads of flavour/colour/nutrients end up in the water and not in your tummy. It is also easier to mush the veg if you do not catch it right..
We generally steam or roast our veg. The only time we, in effect, boil it is when we add to stews etc and know that anything that leaches out will be eaten anyway.
Steaming is great for delicate veg like broccoli, and you find the colour retention is good. We also reckon the flavour stays better as well.
Roasting also offers a great alternative for a lot of veg. Not only is it simpler but the process ‘caramelises’ the sugars in the surface of the veg and makes them taste so sweet. So much better to do this to get your children to eat them than covering in honey etc.
We generally roast all of our veg other than leaf/dedicates. Squash, roots, even cauliflower and cabbage quarters. Bit of oil, bit of salt (easy…) & pepper and of you go. We have to save using the fat from a cooked joint is a fantastic way of improving the process.
So there we go. 6 ways to get more from your veg box. Of course, the most essential part is that your veg is as fresh as it can be when it gets to you. No point getting the best from old, tired veg
Our veg comes from Kent farms and is cropped the week it is delivered. Hence it is no more than a few days old and you can only get fresher from your garden.
Is your veg box that fresh? To be honest most are not and use overseas veg even when it is in season in the UK. We are unique in only sending you FRESH 100% LOCAL VEG.
So….. why not see if you can get the best from our veg boxes? Click the veg pic in the sidebar and DON’T FORGET THE DISCOUNT.