How to Hungry Harvest: Our guide for letting nothing go to waste.
A whole lot of produce goes to waste before it even gets close to our homes - on farms, at wholesalers, at grocery. We love fighting this kind of waste with every single delivery. But food waste doesn’t stop there.
According to the NRDC, 43% of waste is actually generated at home once the food is already on the counter, in the pantry or in the fridge. We want to fight waste at every turn, so to make sure nothing gets tossed once our harvests hit our houses, we thought it might be helpful to share some thoughts on how we at Hungry Harvest approach our personal deliveries each week.
For many of us, it required a mental shift when first getting started, but in time as we began to create new habits centered on the goal of using up every piece of produce before our next delivery, it became second nature. Here’s what’s been working for us:
Let the produce inspire your meals.
Once our Customization and This Week’s Harvest emails hit your inbox, it’s time to start the fun thought process of meal planning! This is probably the biggest shift most people have to make, because it means that instead of thinking about what you feel like eating that week, you let the fruits and veggies help inform your cravings. Trust us, delivery day is even more exciting when you are eagerly awaiting the contents with a game plan in mind.
Personally, I love to bake, so every week I look forward to figuring out how to use the produce in some sort of special treat. This week the mangoes spoke to me and led me to find the Mango Lemon Bars recipe at Grandbaby Cakes! (We’ll also be featuring it in tomorrow’s Harvest Ideas)
Shop your pantry.
Once you have an idea of a few dishes you might want to make with your Harvest, shop your pantry first to see if there are any other ingredients you need to have on hand. This not only helps save food with pending expiration dates in your cupboard, but also, by stocking up on staples like olive oil, pasta, rice and aromatics, you are pretty much guaranteed to be able to create a dish from scratch with or without a recipe. Luckily, we try to keep a lot of these items on hand in our Add On Market to help you easily stay one step ahead of the game.
Prioritize what needs to be eaten first.
It’s just a fact of life, delicate fruits and veggies won’t last as long as their heartier counterparts, so make a plan to use those up first to avoid disappointment when you open up your crisper drawer. This week, that means the kale needs to be eaten first, while things like the acorn squash and apples can last longer. Not able to use certain items up right away? Learn to make friends with your freezer – you’d be surprised how many fruits & veggies can be frozen for future use with little or no difference in taste.
Store it right.
This one is important, so make sure to take the time to carefully put away your Harvest once it is delivered. For example, this week mangoes and avocados are in the box. Give them a good squeeze. Are they feeling soft and ripe? Either plan to eat them right away or stick them in the fridge to help them last longer. Hard and not quite ready to be used? Place them in a paper bag with an apple or kiwi (also in this week’s Harvest) and leave them on your counter for a few days to help speed up the ripening process. For more storage tips check out our online storage guide for how long you can expect something to last and where they should be kept.
Flex your creative muscles.
Tired of eating the same old thing? Looking for some recipe inspiration? Many fruits and veggies can be combined in different ways to help accentuate their flavor profiles. A quick google search or look on Pinterest can serve you well, but now there are also many websites and apps where you can input the ingredients you have on hand and generate thousands of meal ideas (Meal Prep Mate, SuperCook, Dinner Spinner, Epicurious to name a few). Want something a little more curated? Head to our Harvest Ideas page and search through the hundreds of recipes we have collected and categorized by harvest and produce name.