It happens to all of us: you go grocery shopping, or hit up your farmers' market with a plan in mind, but it quickly falls by the wayside when you see the bounty of produce available. Soon, your bag is stuffed, and you feel good – virtuous, even. Fast forward to a week later and the bundle of kale is wilted beyond resuscitation, the scallions have disintegrated into a sad army green bundle, and the cucumber is soft and disturbingly flaccid. With regrets, you compost them, vowing to do better next time, but how?
The solution is quite simple: wash and prep the vegetables now, while it's on your mind. This way, you'll be more likely to put them to good use in meals, salads, and snacks. Like meal prep in general, it seems obvious and easy once it becomes a part of your routine, and yet it's a step that many of us don't take.
The how varies depending on what you filled your tote bag (or shopping cart) with; in general, consider prepping any sturdy vegetables that can withstand a few days cut up and rinsed; prioritize using delicate vegetables early on in the week, or preserve them if applicable (slow-roasted tomatoes and quick-pickled scallions come to mind). In my case, I rinsed, dried, and cut a head of cauliflower into florets (for later roasting); washed, dried, and tore kale into bite-sized pieces (for salads or sautéeing); removed the tops from carrots — always do this when you get home, regardless of whether you plan to save the greens for another use, as they leach moisture from the carrots; and sliced the cucumber and bell pepper for snacking. You do you.
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