I really hate wasting food, and summer time seems to be the season where so much food is thrown away. I think the reasoning is simple; summer is hotter and thus food spoils quicker. Below are three ways that making smoothies can help you avoid wasting food.
1. Freeze any fruit that is showing signs of a downward decline.
I have been doing this for several years now and it is remarkable how much money I save by making sure my fruit never goes bad. The steps are easy; if you see fruit that you are probably not going to eat before it declines to a point you won't eat it, then take it out of the fridge. Wash the fruit, dice it up and stick it in a container with a lid in the freezer. You can do this with all kinds of fruit. Right now I have raspberries, mango, grapes, blueberries, plums, peaches, bananas, and even watermelon all in a frozen state. By the way, with bananas, just throw them in whole while still in their peel and do not peel them till you are going to use them. I then use this fruit from its frozen state in smoothies. It can be as simple as water + frozen fruit and can get much more complicated with yogurt, ice, flax seed, alcohol, and more.
2. Freeze your expiring dairy.
I am not saying freeze all dairy really, as I haven't experimented enough with cheeses to say that. But, when it comes to milk and yogurt hitting their expiry date, I chuck them in the freezer. Sometimes I keep the milk out if I need sour milk for a recipe. However, if I don't see using it for a while I just freeze it. I freeze them on their expiry date so that they don't go bad (though you might want to check your milk... it is important to know whether you are freezing sour milk or just fine milk). If your milk is frozen sour, just stick it in the fridge to thaw it when you have a recipe requiring sour milk, or for making anything where milk is cooked in it, like pancakes. If the milk is frozen not-sour, then you can use it in smoothies. The yogurt is fabulous from a frozen state - I make it into smoothies with my frozen fruit. You will need a good knife (or a chisel) to cut the yogurt after it is frozen (if you freeze a 500 ml container) or you can stick it in ice cube trays so you have ice-cube portions of frozen yogurt to drop into smoothies. Fabulous.
3. Freeze your wilting veggies.
This is not something I do often, but I am expanding into this direction as we speak. Do you have wilting kale or perhaps your carrots have begun to droop? Either way, if your veggies are showing signs of age and you just know you won't be eating them before they hit the trash bin, freeze! Wash, trim off bad spots, and dice any vegetables that are soon to see their last days and freeze them. For leafy veggies you can just wash and freeze whole. Then the next time you are making a smoothie, try adding in some frozen veggies. Might I suggest carrot in an orange based smoothie, or kale with kiwi? Your taste-spuds dictate how far this food saving measure goes. Some people also love green power drinks where spinach, kale, and many of your vitamin packed veggies will find a home. If you are not a veggie fan (I am not) then combine with fruit to take the edge off the taste.
Making smoothies has really helped reduce the amount of fresh produce and dairy that goes bad and gets thrown out in my household. Smoothies are also a refreshing drink for the summer. The great thing is that with a blender and some frozen fruit, smoothies can really be made so many ways. Just add in what you think might taste good. Lately, I have been adding in flax powder to all my smoothies because you really can't taste it and it is awesome for Omega 3 intake.
Hey Moosers, do you have any good smoothie recipes to share?
(Image credit: miriamwilcox)