How to Use Fall Fruits and Vegetables

*Quick, upfront disclaimer: this post is based on produce that is in season across the USA. Sorry if it does not apply to all climates.

With the autumnal equinox upon us, it’s time to celebrate one of the best parts of fall: the food! In addition to the obvious favorites like pumpkins, butternut squash, and apples, autumn offers an array of other fruits and vegetables that can be used to make great healthy dishes or indulgent desserts. Given the purpose of our organization and the fact that there are plenty of recipe guides to seasonal produce out there (such as these for October and November), this post is going to focus on making the most of your purchases. That means finding a use for parts of fruits and vegetables that are typically disregarded and/or creatively using up produce once it’s no longer fresh.

fall-applesauceApples: Apples are best kept in the pantry.

Don’t toss apple peels: crispy chips, apple peel tea, or apple cider vinegar

If apples are getting old: applesauce, apple cider, or apple crisp

Beets: Store beets by chopping off the leaves and storing each in separate plastic bags in the refrigerator.

Eat beet leaves within 2-3 days: frittata, pesto, or just saute similarly to kale or collard greens

If beets are starting to go soft, try: pizza crust, hummus, or chocolate cake

Broccoli and Cauliflower: These vegetables are very similar and should be stored in sealed plastic bags in the fridge.

Don’t throw out leaves: roast, smoothie, as a raw salad base, or try the beet green recipes

fall-grapesGrapes: Grapes should be stored in the fridge. Alternatively, they can be easily frozen to serve as ice cubes that will chill wine without diluting it.

If grapes are starting to go soft, try: grape pie, grape gazpacho, or grape vinaigrette

Parsnips: Treat parsnips like carrots – store in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Use the whole parsnip, peel and all: honey parsnip bread, roasted with onions, or baked fries

Pears (Bosc and Comice): Ripen pears at room temperature, store in fridge once ripe.

Treat pear peels like apple peels.

If pears are going soft: pear crème pâtissière, pear butter, or spinach-pear soup

Pumpkins and winter squash: Store these fall-centric gourds in a pantry. Butternut and kabocha squashes should be peeled, but the skin is edible on other varieties.

Roast your seeds: cocoa, rosemary-sage, or sweet and spicy (or use them raw in muffins, granola, bread, etc.)

How to make pumpkin puree, which can be frozen.


Have a flavorful fall!


Bite sized wisdom: hacks for taste & freshness

Dear Friends,

Have you ever found that sometimes food doesn’t taste as fresh even though you just bought it?

The trick to fixing this is by learning the likes of each fruit and veggie. Instead of throwing everything into the fridge after a grocery run take time to separate items that shouldn’t be put together (such as potatoes and onions), and don’t refrigerate items that enjoy being in room temperature.

Below you’ll find three tips that will give you an immediate taste difference with recently bought tomatoes, cheese and bananas. (There are many more items, but to those we’ll get to in our later posts.)

1. Let the cheese sit after being refrigerated cheese is made mostly of fat you want to make sure its molecules have time to warm up after being pulled out of the fridge. In the cold the fat molecules contract, hiding with it delicious texture and taste. It’s recommended to take out cheese 1.5 hours before eating it (even 45 or 30 minutes is better than none). Softer cheese such as brie should sit out for even longer. Fresh cheese can be an exception and can be eaten faster, but be sure to keep all the cheese in their packaging before opening them to eat.

2. Don’t chill your tomatoes like to be in room temperature, and since ‘room temperature‘ varies greatly the approximate degree ranges between 60-70F. These temperatures may vary in the summer time, but the general idea is that the linoleic acid in tomatoes turns into a Z-3 hexenel compound and gives the tomato fruit its taste. Cold weather impedes this process leading to a loss of flavor.  Our tip: be realistic about your situation. If you plan to eat your tomatoes in a day or two after purchasing it’s best to keep them in at room temperature. However, if you won’t get to them for couple of days, put them in the fridge so that they don’t ripen too quickly and begin to rot.

3. Wrap plastic over your banana are delicious! They are filled with potassium, are a perfect ingredient on top of a peanut butter sandwich, a morning smoothie and can even be eaten for dessert when mixed in with greek yogurt. When you buy them though, you usually buy a bunch of bananas, which can go bad quickly in warm temperature. A good way to prevent them from browning is by wrapping some plastic around the ‘crown’ of these yellow goods. This technique can give you an extra 3-4 days of freshness, not bad for all the bucks you spend at the grocery store.

All these tips are new to me and I’m excited to share them with you. Are there other tips you guys are aware of that we should post on the website? If so, drop a line and share your knowledge!

Happy Friday guys!


Three Tips for Buying Local on a Budget

When it comes to buying produce, I try to get as much as possible from farmer’s markets or local grocers rather than supermarkets. Not only do smaller growers tend to raise their crops more organically (i.e. with fewer pesticides or hormones) than massive corporations, but you also get the comfort of knowing that the food hasn’t had to travel alci seasonalthousands and thousands of miles to get to your table. That saves hundreds of gallons of fuel that would have otherwise been spent cooling and transporting the food across the country, much less the world. Not to mention that the local food is much tastier because it’s fresh.

The one critique I keep hearing when it comes to locally-sourced food is price. When I encourage my friends to shop at our city’s farmer’s market, they typically say something like, “I love the farmer’s market, but it’s so expensive! How can you afford to go there every week?” Without going into the economics of it, I’ll admit that local food tends to be less cheap because small producers don’t have the kinds of business models that allow big manufacturers to keep prices low. When grocery stores sell a pint of blueberries for $2.99, many people feel that the positives of buying local still don’t justify spending $5 for the same amount. However, there are three simple tricks you can use to buy locally and economically.

1. Browse before you buy

Since all the vendors are growing their produce in the same climate and season, most of them offer the same variety of fruits and vegetables. For the shopper, that translates into multiple price options. Just last week, I saw potatoes being sold at $3/lb., $3/pint, $4/quart, and $5/quart. Before making a single purchase, walk the entire market, make price comparisons, and then buy accordingly.

2. Remember why you’re there

It’s incredibly easy to get enticed by things like fresh breads, pastries, and nut butters, especially when samples are available, but you must resist! Try to concentrate on buying produce and whatever else you planned to buy, because treats can cost a pretty penny. The two, age-old pieces of advice ring just as true at local markets: don’t shop hungry and bring a list.

3. Try something new

market vegetablesThe farmer’s market is a great place to discover new varieties of food. This slightly contradicts my advice of sticking to a shopping list, but if you see an appealing piece of fruit or vegetable for a low price – cheaper than whatever you had planned to buy – you should go for it. Buying food that you might not yet know how to cook is a great way to expand your culinary repertoire.

I realize not everyone is fortunate enough to live near a well-publicized farmer’s market, but look around online – or just walk around your town – and you might find some good local options. Being eco-friendly doesn’t have to be hard on your wallet.


Food Myths 2

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe are back with more information of different food myths. Below, you will find more interesting facts on food, thanks to PhD. Malgorzata Drywien from SGGW (Warsaw University of Life Sciences).

  1. WATER is vital for our life. However, it doesn’t mean that if we drink a lot of it will be good for us. Our body process around 2.8 liters of water a day. So we should provide our body with the same amount of water in order to balance our liquids. On average we “eat” 1 liter of water a day, we drink some other beverages, such as juices or tea, so we need to consume a little more than 1 liter of water a day. If we have spent an active day another liter would be needed. On the other hand, if we spend the whole day in the office drinking 5 liters of water, we will enhance the filtration of our kidneys and lose a lot of vitamins and minerals from our body. So everything needs a balance
  2. GRAPEFRUIT JUICE It is true that we should be taking our medicines with grapefruit juice, especially the antiallergic and heart disease related ones. After mixing them with juice their concentration can get much higher and it can cause poisoning of our organism. It doesn’t happen with orange or lemon juice but any kind of medicines should be taken with water.
  3. WHOLEMEAL BREAD VS WHITE BREAD Many people say that whole meal bread is so much better than usual bread. And it is true that it has much more minerals that are very important for the functioning of our organism. However, contrary to a lot of people beliefs it doesn’t have much more calories. For instance, 100 gr of whole meal bread contains 220 kcal and 100 gr of wheat bread contains 248 kcal. If a person eats 10 slices of bread a day than some calories may get saved, but in normal conditions the difference is scarce.
  4. VEGETARIAN DIET IS THE BEST Recent studies carried out in Oxford claims that vegetarians are generally healthier and have fewer heart attacks. It is all true but they were compared with people that are following the traditional western diet filled with fats. As Malgorzata Drywien said, there are some studies that claims that vegetarians compared to people with a reasonable diet were lacking in vitamin B12, iron and calcium.
  5. MILK The topic on milk is divided. Nowadays many specialists talks about our genetical predisposition to digest milk. 70% of the population – Asians, Latinos or Jews do not tolerate milk. In the US or Brazil there are many people with different backgrounds and this is why many people stop to tolerate milk. The Caucasian race is safe to drink milk during their whole life, except 3% that are allergic.  

There is definitely many of specialists that would totally disagree with some of the information I have put in this post. However, it always nice to hear a second opinion. I have just learned a couple of interesting facts and I will try to change my diet so it becomes more rational. I hope that you have learned something too.




Posted by Piotr Wielezynski