I believe that because we have a lot of experience using garden produce (of our own) we found using up our CSA produce easy and fun. Here are some tips to getting the most out of your CSA box should you ever choose to subscribe to one:
1) Anticipate the box's arrival and set aside some time to "process" it right away. Put it on your calendar even. Our box arrived Wednesday afternoon/early evening. It was always on my radar when it was coming so I mentally carved out some time that evening to go through it.
2) Deal with your produce ASAP. Don't let the box languish on your counter for days on end- this will lead to spoilage and you'll end up with expensive compost. Set tomatoes on a plate on the counter to finish ripening. Tear, wash, and spin lettuce and toss it in an open plastic bag in the fridge. Place any veggies that should go in the fridge...in the fridge (reserving one of your fridge drawers at the bottom works well). I kept a canning quart jar (without a lid) to toss garlic heads into for easy access. Storage produce like potatoes and winter squash should be transferred to their new home (cool, dark places indoors- the bottom of your pantry/closet works well). Then, shake out the box and put it in your car or by the back door so it's ready to be returned or picked up the next week.
3) Make Salads. There were only a few weeks mid-summer when we didn't get lettuces in our box. With the other produce on hand, it was always easy to make a side salad or add some meat to a larger salad (taco salad, Caesar salad, etc.) to serve for lunch or dinner. If you're not a salad person, shred it and heap it on to top of burritos and tacos.
4) Make salsa or bruchetta or both. Often. When the tomatoes start rolling in, likely the onions, garlic and peppers will, too. Chop them all up for fresh salsa (picture below, scroll to bottom of link for recipe) or my friend's amazing bruchetta (although I fancy spreading goat cheese on the toasted bread before topping each piece with the tomato mixture).
I often chopped up a huge bowl of roastable veggies (all mixed together and in similar sized pieces), coated everything with oil and then sprinkled salt and pepper over it all. Sometimes, I used a dried herb seasoning mix as well. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar over top makes it divine. I placed the veggies on greased cookie sheets and roasted them for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees, tossing them and checking them for doneness once or twice. Leftover roasted veggies can be stirred into soups, sprinkled on salads or added to casseroles. Our kids like to dip them in ketchup. So be it.
6) Do a little preserving. Don't have time to use it all up before your next box arrives? Lettuce isn't as forgiving but veggies like tomatoes, zucchini and peppers can be washed and chopped and frozen in storage bags for use in soups and casseroles during winter when those precious boxes full of veggies are no longer arriving.
What will we do next year? Good question. It was certainly strange not growing a big garden for once. And yet having all those beautiful vegetables washed and arranged so gloriously each week? Well, that was just what we needed. Pin It