According to an article posted on The Guardian, half of the US food produce is thrown away. This has been fuelled by perfectionism leading to large quantities of fresh food taken to the landfill and others to rot. If you happen to have a surplus in your kitchen, you do not have to throw it away; there is a lot that you can do with the excess produce.
Things to Do with Excess Kitchen Produce
If kitchen produce has gone bad, you cannot consume it: you have the option of composting. Learn how to compost and use the waste to nourish your backyard garden. Besides that, here are other ways you can put excess kitchen produce to good use.
Share with Neighbors
If your family cannot consume all the fruits and vegetables from your garden, you should consider sharing. It is better than leaving the excess produce to rot and give it to the livestock. Your neighbors and family will be overjoyed to get the chance to eat from your garden. In the process, you will also foster good relations with them.
Freeze for Future Use
Your harvest may be plentiful in a given week but not be as good in another. Freezing produce ensures food security. Having excess produce is a good thing as it guarantees that your family is well fed throughout the year. While the amount of harvest may not be uniform in all seasons, freezing the excess gives you insurance for a rainy day.
Sell The Excess Produce
How about you capitalize on the extra produce? The farmers’ markets could use more kitchen produce. Not everyone is fond of gardening, and their only source of kitchen produce is the market. There is a ready market for you: sell your extra produce for a few extra dollars.
There is a sense of satisfaction that comes from giving. According to a study done by Carnegie Mellon University, donating and volunteering has health benefits. Donating produce, according to the study, will reduce your chances of getting depression, high blood pressure, and it will lower stress levels.
There are tons of shelters and local soup kitchens that could use your products to feed people. It is better knowing that your produce is helping the needy instead of rotting in the field.
Make Sauces, Stews, And Soups
The extra veggies from your garden could come in handy in supplying you with stews and sauces. You have the option of making potato soup, jams and sauces for your pasta and rice, and of course, freeze them for later use. You do not have to freeze them in their raw form. Having them canned in different forms makes it even easier to preserve them.
Meet And Swap
There is another smart way of offloading your excess fruits and vegetables. If you have never given the idea of doing a veggie swap a thought, you need to try it. Veggie swaps are usually community events where the locals get to meet and exchange produce. In such events, cash is not allowed.
People are required to bring their vegetable produce on the swapping table. If you have too many tomatoes, you can bring them to the table and swap with food that you have less of or you lack. A meet and swap event provides you with the best opportunity to offload what you have in excess and get other products that you need more. It is also fun as you get to interact with your neighbors and borrow a few notes on how to upgrade your gardening skills.
Make Vegetable Chips
You can use the excess produce to make snacks for your family. The best part is that it will not be the unhealthy snacks the doctors keep warning you about. Veggie snacks offer the best alternative for making your diet exciting. You could make anything from zucchini, potatoes, onions, and beets. Dehydrated and paired with fantastic seasoning, you will have snacks that your family will ultimately enjoy.
Host a Cook-off
A cook-off would be a great way to offload and at the same time, give back to the community. You can encourage other neighbors with excess produce to bring them and invite friends. You can charge an entry fee for everyone who comes to the event. The money collected could then be used for charity. At the end of it all, you will have offloaded your kitchen produce, enjoyed tasty recipes from friends, and also raised money for a local charity.
When the harvest is good, it is very easy for you to end up being wasteful. If you have enough for your family, there are still other ways that your product could be helpful. Sharing, donating, preserving for future use, and doing a barter for things you don’t have is one of the best things to do with the surplus fruits and vegetables.