©DMRD Chard soaking in cold water

Refresh and extend the life of your fresh produce.

Isn’t it sad? You bought that huge bunch of chard and you meant to enjoy it right away, and then life happened. Now it’s all wilty and not as appealing as it was the day you bought it at the Farmers Market. You could cook it into a chili or toss it into a smoothie where the silkiness of the leaves are a nice addition. To restore it to it’s perkier state, soak it in ice cold water and you can really change it’s whole outlook.

Have your apples lost their crispness in the crisper and the kids won’t touch them? Make applesauce! Combine a few apples, a bit of herbal tea or juice, ginger, or cinnamon and a few minutes standing in front of the stove. Even better, recruit a junior family member to help out. Stirring a pot of bubbling apples is fascinating and educational too. Add a few raisins and enjoy with oatmeal or ice cream.

Save the pickle juice! photo by doublemranchdesign

What about the delicious pickles you bought or made? All that lovely brine leftover. Refill the empty pickle jar and use the brine a bit longer. Add sliced , any wiggly carrots, limp celery, or retro radishes. Asparagus keeps well this way too. Raw vegetables will stay crunchy in cold brine for up to 2 months.

All my friends are canning madly this time of year, I am less likely to take that on but there are many things I can put away for the winter without canning. Sweet onions are a favorite of mine and caramelized sweet onions are even better. Our own Market Director, Caprice Teske shared with me the idea of slow cooking sweet onions to the point of caramelization and then freezing portions to add to soups, stews, and pretty much anything you want.

Do you have favorite things you do to extend the life of the food you buy at the Farmers Market. Let us know in the comments.

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