September 22, 2013

Food Organization & Storage

For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father” ? Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son” ? And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

Hebrews 1:5, 6 NIV

Jesus is a big deal. He isn't, like many false religions claim, "just a prophet" among other prophets. He is the Son of God. The angels worship Him. In the same, He is God Himself.

I am in awe.

The incredibly gracious gift that God gives us to receive Christ Jesus as our Savior and Redeemer leaves us with His Spirit living inside of us. This means that GOD dwells in our hearts through Jesus. How is it that the Creator of this world, our Father who knows and sees EVERYTHING we do, think, or say, would love us so much that He gifts us with His presence? His unconditional love? His abounding grace? His never ending forgiveness? He knows how wicked out hearts are, yet He gave us Jesus.

Jesus is a big deal.

I have often been asked the question,  
"how do you eat all your food before it goes bad?"
since fresh fruits and vegetables don't have a long shelf life, and we buy them in abundance. Here's secret #1: Costco sells very unripe fruit. You know what this means? Well, first, it means you shouldn't eat it right when you get home (exceptions are their watermelon, apples, sometimes half the box of oranges, etc), and second, it means that it can sit in my kitchen for days and days and not go bad. I just recently learned about what ripe fruit is, tasted like, and does to my body (good things) so I used to struggle with fruit storage because I would immediately throw everything in our fridge once we got home from shopping. This was a weekly unhappy event, because little by little our fridge became more crowded and difficult to pull food out of. T'was a fruity, veggie traffic jam.

Which brings me to the following solutions. I hope you enjoy and can use some of these tips n' tricks to keep your fruit and veg from spoiling! Happy plant eating, friends!

Tip #1: buy a pantry, or decide to use counter space
We could easily store all of our unripe, or partially ripe fruits on our counter tops. In fancy bowls, or simply sitting directly on the counter, for all the world to see, and for pops of color and aroma around the kitchen. But we really enjoy empty counter tops, and they are much easier to clean when I make fruit juice messes while chopping up juicy oranges, or blending greens and bananas. So we opted for a pantry. We purchased ours at Ikea and it fits perfectly in a corner of our dining room. I also liked that everything would be behind closed doors, so once one fruit begins to ripen and release "we're ripe!" gases, the other fruits would follow its lead (these are also known as ethylene gases and are hormones in the fruit that produce growth of ripening goodness). Also, it gives the fruit flies a warm home away from my face. 

Tip #2: feel your fruit! 
When you purchase your fruit and bring it home, give it a good squeeze. Many (but not all) fruits are soft when ripe. Here's a list of what we eat that is ripe when soft: pineapples, figs, avocado, mango, nectarines, peaches, cantaloupe, oranges, kiwi, even tomatoes and bell peppers should be a little soft for easier digestion!

Here are our potatoes and avocados hanging out on the counter. Once the avocados ripen to soft, creaminess, we transfer them to the fridge and they last over a week (life span from the day of purchase to day of consumption usually is a couple days on counter, 5, then 3-4 days in fridge). The potatoes should not be refrigerated because they lose awesomeness. Same goes for zucchini, tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumbers... We only toss them in the fridge if they are looking extra soft and about to spoil. 

These are our bananas enjoying each other's company while we wait for them to ripen. Remember: yellow and green bananas are not ripe and if you eat more than one expect discomfort, bloating, constipation, etc. I like comparing the consumption of a green or green-ish banana to that of a raw potato. Our bodies cannot digest it well, you might not feel great afterward, and no - it's not because plant foods aren't good for you - it's because you're eating them when they ain't ready! Let them ripen, goodness me. I never knew this. Now I do. Now I can eat 15 bananas in a day and feel amazing. Leopard bananas for the win!

Leopard bananas to the fridge, very ripe and won't last outside of the fridge for much longer. Bananas straight from the fridge are like little ice cream sticks, by the way. An ice cream you can bite into and not get brain freeze from! Creamy, sweet, oh delicious.

Tip #3: Leafy green vegetables and peeled veggies to the fridge!
We bought some Tupperware (middle, left) for half of the greens, there are about 3-4 heads of leaf lettuce in there. The rest is stored with the bags open a bit, greeting us as we open the fridge doors. I have recently been storing the bags of kale in the freezer since that baby kale from Costco doesn't last very long and I have had to throw handfuls away each time I use a bag. It leaves a lot more space in the fridge and makes the smoothies extra creamy! Also see our broccoli, carrots, peppers (they can be stored outside of fridge but I don't have much room so I have gotten used to putting them in the crisper), lemons and limes (also should be stored outside of fridge but mine sometimes mold with the humidity of the cabinet and/or the warmth of the kitchen from cooking hubby's foods).

We find that we don't have to toss almost any vegetables this way, especially leafy green vegetables (the greatest gift from God - so many nutrients!).

So there you have it! If I left out anything, let me know. Our fridge has already changed quite a bit since I took these pictures a month ago, so I might do another one of these with changes we have made. These are tips that are pretty basic, a lot of people already do them. I think the main take away is what to do with so much fruit as it ripens so quickly at times.

  • Use your fridge. 
  • Use your freezer. 
  • When freezing, always peel and chop your fruit before storing. Feel your fruit often to check for softies, softies to the fridge immediately. 
  • Don't buy too much food if you're not going to eat it. Always buy a little less as you learn how much you and your family can go through before the next shopping trip. 
  • Freeze your greens, too, but only freeze your greens if they will be used for smoothies - if you use the greens for salad, do not freeze them or they will be a wilted, not so crispy mess on your plate.
Happy ripe fruit consuming!

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