It’s easy to get excited about all the goodies in your Local Box! But sometimes it can be difficult to decide how you’re going to allot the items for the meals of the week. Here are some guidelines to extend the life of your Greenling Local Box contents from me, a Local Box veteran! Do you have any tips? Tweet, post on Facebook, or comment here!
1. Be Nosy. Find out what’s coming in the Local Box before it shows up! Whether you’re on a weekly schedule or if you just pick and choose when to place an order, you’ll want to prepare for the upcoming week. Every Friday afternoon, you’ll see a list of contents for the upcoming week in the newsletter (aka the Field Report!) as well as listed here on the website for each city. This step should be completed by Sunday morning.
2. Be Lazy. Being Nosy (Step 1) allows you to be lazy in the coming week by MEAL PLANNING! Sounds daunting, but it’s really word association food game… and much more fun than that spreadsheet you’re working on at the office on Friday afternoon. Just think: leeks… potatoes… hmmm…. potato leek soup! Come up with 3 dishes that use some or all of the ingredients. The Greenling recipe blog and previous Local Box meal plans are full of ideas if you’re stumped, especially for those exciting in-season items. Don’t worry about writing down the recipe, just bookmark it for later.
3. Be Greedy. Don’t forget that you can add items to your Greenling order! Now’s the time to do it, since you’ve done the meal planning and you know what you need. Local chicken, canned tomatoes, local cream, herbs, Texas olive oil? They’ve got you covered!
3. Be even Lazier! The day your Greenling Local Box arrives, plan a quick dinner that does NOT involve your new Local Box. This can be a night for takeout or leftovers or what’s left of last week’s Local Box. I like this quick dinner night because it leaves me lots of time in the evening to prep for the week ahead!
4. Be Annoying. Open your box. Take a photo. Instagram, Tweet, and Facebook the heck out of it. This is a very important step. These veggies are super fresh and just begging to have their photo taken. Plus, you can use Greenling’s Refer A Friend coupon and get 10% off for doing it!
5. Be a Grown Up. Just this once, get a head start on your weekly meals! Take a look at the Local Box insert and follow instructions for storage. Should that tomato be refrigerated? No sir! Upon arrival, most veggies can be cleaned and prepped. Give all the lovin’ you can to those veggies… your spouse can wait.
- Leeks, spring onions, and greens (spinach, kale, etc.) should be rinsed in cold water in a large bowl. The dirt will quickly settle at the bottom of the bowl. Leeks need a little more attention. After they are rinsed, shake out the excess water. The greens should be cradled (yes, it’s a term of love) in a paper napkin to absorb moisture, and stored in a plastic container, plastic bag, or in the vegetable drawer in your fridge.
- For veggies with greens, separate the edible greens from the root. Wash the greens (not the roots) and store in separate plastic bags in the refrigerator.
- Fruits with skins need a quick rinse (tomatoes, avocado, mango, etc). Yes, even if you don’t eat the skin (like mangoes) rinsing is recommended!
- Berries, peaches, and other soft fruits should be rinsed only right before consuming. Take a peek inside the container and remove any mushy or moldy berries.
- Live plants should be… planted! Most cut herbs should be stored with a bit of water in a jar, and loosely covered in plastic.
- If you know you’ll be making something that requires cooked root veggies (potato salad, beet pizza, carrot & avocado salad, etc.), you can always roast, bake, or boil a few days in advance and store in the fridge. This is a great solution for lunchtime salads and quick weeknight dinners!
6. Be Partial. Use the Local Box insert to judge what to eat first, and how to store your fruits and veggies. Generally speaking, soft veggies and thin greens should be eaten first. That’s okay though because the other tough leaves and root veggies can handle the favoritism. They have a thicker skin. Root veggies and collard or mustard greens have a longer life. Take this into account when you are going to Be Lazy (Step 2).
7. Be Frugal. You are going to use every single bit of that box. You paid for it, farmers and harvesters worked hard for it, and it’s something good you’re doing for the environment and your body! Eat the greens and the roots- yes, even carrot tops are totally edible. Keep those extra peels and cores and ends to make easy vegetable stock. Make shredded salads, pesto, and/or garnishes from the extra greens. And if you find you have more pesto, soup, stock, etc. than you can eat in one week, just freeze it! Homemade frozen meals from your Local Box are an awesome way to get away from the sodium and preservatives found in packaged frozen food. Plus, you’ll be able to eat seasonal goodies like frozen berries and fresh pesto year round!
8. Be courteous. Leave your empty Greenling box along with any of the cooling packs on your doorstep for the next round. You might even leave a nice non-meltable treat (biscotti? a travel mug?) for the Greenling Delivery dude/dudette to show you appreciate him/her. It’s hot out there!