Preserve Your Produce!

by Julie Wilson RD LDN, School of Public Health

Image courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn/

Image courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn/

If you are like me, your eyes are bigger than your stomach when shopping in the produce section. Every weekend you stock your fridge with fresh fruits and veggies that you plan to incorporate into your meals and snacks. However, your idealistic goal of eating “5-a-day” may lose momentum mid-week when you notice your produce is starting to wilt. You’ve spent valuable dollars on these nutrient packed foods so before you toss them, try one or more of these strategies to make the most of your fruits and veggies.


While this is more of a prevention technique, you will be more likely to stick to “5-a-day” if your fruits and veggies are cleaned, cut, and packaged before mealtime hits. Plan to do your grocery shopping on a weekend or evening when you have some free time. When you get home, clean, cut, and package your produce into “grab and go” portions. You’ll be happy you did when you are making your bagged lunch the next morning.

Make Soup

What is better than homemade soup to get you through a Michigan winter? Next time you go to the grocery store, stock up on canned broth and beans. When you notice the beginnings of an overstock of veggies in your fridge, throw everything together and make a delicious and nutritious soup. Need more guidance? Simply Google [whatever vegetable you have] soup and browse the recipes. Don’t worry if you do not have every ingredient; make your own specialty!  When it’s done (and you’ve tasted it to ensure it’s up to your standards) package it into single size portions and store in your freezer for up to 6 weeks. When you’re ready for another taste, run warm water over the frozen container until the frozen soup block loosens and you can put it in a pot to re-heat.

Make Pesto

Because I live alone, it is hard for me to eat a whole bunch of kale (or spinach, or chard, or carrot tops or basil, or cilantro, or parsley for that matter) before it starts to wilt. After making a salad or side dish, I use the left over kale leaves to make pesto. I divide the large portion into small baggies which I store for weeks in the freezer. This fresh topping is delicious on fish, chicken, pasta, and sandwiches! Here’s the recipe I use:

Like what you read? Look forward to future blogs from registered dietitian Julie Wilson RD LDN, a graduate level student at UM School of Public Health in the department of Health Behavior and Health Education.


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