Tips for getting the most out of your CSA share

“The number one reason people don’t rejoin a CSA is because they feel guilty about the food they wasted.” Eating everything you get each week can feel like a chore. Below, I share some tips I use to “survive” our CSA share – some from the Heavy Table’s “The Tyranny of the CSA Box.” [Full disclosure: we have wasted some food: I threw out two bunches of beet greens and half of the leek confit that I made last week].

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Heavy Table offers some ideas for “surviving” your CSA – some I’ve been doing and some I haven’t yet embraced. Here is an amalgamation of my and Heavy Table’s advice:

  1. Take care of your produce as soon as you get home. Figure out exactly what you have and how much of each item you have. And process the produce immediately. Our produce comes fresh picked – dirt, bugs and all. I try to immediately wash and de-stem the produce all at once (except the chard, which you shouldn’t wash before storing).
  2. Store produce appropriately. We add paper towels to plastic containers and store as much as possible in our crispers. Heavy Table also recommends using storage containers that are specifically for produce and have a space for excess water to collect on the bottom, like these.
  3. Search the Internet well. In my job, I spend a lot of time thinking about key words and searching for documents. Now, I do the same level of searching for recipes. First, use a general search engine – not one from a specific website. This way, not only will “foodnetwork” or “epicurious” turn up – but also pinterest pins and some blog posts you would never have thought of seeking out. When you use the search engine, type in either a single produce item or a combination that you think will work well together along with the word “recipe.” Use quotes if you want words to stay together.
  4. Save recipes (to Pinterest). Sometimes I see a recipe that I’m not ready to make (or eat!). If I save it, I can easily find it next week when I really do want to make it. Or, if I see a recipe that I think might come in handy, I pin it.
  5. Turn some of the produce into lunches or snack foods. If you don’t have to plan every evening meal around your CSA, it’s easier to use all the produce. And, for me, snacking is an easy way to eat produce. (That’s why we eat some of our produce raw).
  6. Keep commonly used ingredients on hand. For some ideas of ingredients that I have used week in and week out, check out this blog post.
  7. Keep it simple. If you pick a difficult recipe, you will put off making it. Or, if you are like me, when you finally get around to making it, you will mess something up. If you keep it simple, you are more likely to cook the food. And cooked food lasts longer.
  8. Give some (or all) of it away. Your neighbors or coworkers will appreciate it.
  9. Write a blog for accountability. Seriously.

How do you survive your CSA?

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