Monday, February 15, 2016

6 Tips On How To Make The Most Out of Your Fruits and Veggies

A trip to the country's summer capital will not be complete without a visit to the infamous Baguio City Public Market.  It has been years since I last visited the public market and I don't know about you, but there's just something about it that makes a Manilena like me feel euphoric.

Perhaps, it is the wide array of goodies for pasalubong - Good Shepherd Ube, Romana Peanut Brittle, Garcia's Benguet Mountain Coffee, and oh, the abundance fresh produce that are so cheap compared to Manila prices.  

I remember asking for the price of Romaine lettuce. The friendly ate told me it's 80 Pesos to which I replied, "per head?" She said, "Hindi po, per Kilo." I was amazed. 1 Kilo is 3 huge heads of Romaine. Whereas in Manila, a small bunch of not-so-fresh-looking lettuce would cost about P100. Needless to say, I hoarded on fresh produce. How could I not, when a kilo of it is like the price of 1 piece in the supermarket? P20 per Kilo for cucumber, P40 for a Kilo of carrots P120 for a Kilo of fresh strawberries. P80 for zucchini.  Ahhh.. It was produce heaven!!!

So with the load of fresh produce we brought home came the dilemma of how to make the most out of the veggies I've hoarded. It has been 3 weeks since our Baguio trip and I'm proud to say that none of it had gone to waste. And mind you, I did not force my family to eat salad all week. 

With some creativity and online research, allow me to share some tips on how I've managed to make the most out of our fresh fruits and vegetables.

1.  Store vegetables properly.  Keep them away from extra moisture in the chiller.

I've stored them separately in manila paper and wrapped them tightly in sturdy plastic bags.

2.  Separate broccoli florets from the stalk.  

Consume the florets within a few days after purchase. Cut stalk into small pieces, wash and blanch if desired (optional). Place in small containers and store in the fridge.

Blanching is the process of quickly plunging vegetables in boiling water for 2-3 minutes and shock it in cold icy water to stop the cooking process.

3.  Serve veggies the way you enjoy best.

That way, eating veggies won't be such a chore, especially for your kids. Personally, I like to stir-fry veggies in a wok, add some ham and tofu. Voila! Fast and nutritious meal for your family.

 4. Store herbs in ice cube trays. Drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. 

Now you have available herbs anytime you need them for cooking.
Fresh Wansoy/ Cilantro for Asian dishes and Rosemary herbs for
chicken and meat dishes

5.  Make infused water and fruit-veggie smoothie. 

Infused water is known to have a number of health benefits including ridding our bodies from toxins, boosting our metabolism and satisfying our sweet cravings.  How I wish I can buy a kilo of Lemon for just P100 so I can put as much lemon in our water everyday.

For the fruit-veggie smoothie, I combined carrots, strawberries, cucumber and malunggay, added soymilk and put them in the freezer. Instant fro-yo for my kids to enjoy as snack.

Infused Water:  Cucumber, Lemon slices, Mint Leaves
Fruit-Veggie Smoothie:  Carrots, Cucumber, Strawberry, Malunggay and
Silk Soymilk

6.  Make your own ready-to-cook frozen meal.

Preparing your own frozen meal will surely come in handy when there's not enough time to prepare lunch or dinner. For vegetables, I chose to prepare lumpia or spring rolls. 

When it comes to lumpia, you don't have to limit yourself to the same old boring mung sprouts (togue) and cabbage. I've created my own recipe by mixing all these vegetables:  Zucchini, sayote, carrots, Kani crabsticks and Cilantro (wansoy).  I stir-fried them with garlic and onions and drizzled some sesame oil.

Hope you like these tips. Let me know if you have something to share. I can't wait to go back to Baguio and panic buy fruits and veggies again.