If you are like me, you probably get a little overexcited while purchasing produce at the grocery store and end up buying a little bit more than you can eat before it goes bad. Although I have experienced this problem way too many times, I have also found many ways to re-purpose my fruits and vegetables to make sure that they do not go to waste.
I recently had an abundance of fresh tomatoes sitting out on the counter (where they should be stored), and my husband and I were not able to eat them during the week. By the time the weekend came, they had started to wrinkle, which is a clear sign that they are aging quickly. In order to make sure that these tomatoes got eaten, we came up with a few solutions.
I cooked down a portion of the tomatoes with chopped garlic and onion in order to make tomato sauce. Prior to combining the ingredients in a sauce pan, if you cut the tops off of the tomatoes, it will make it easier to remove the skin from the sauce. Then I place everything into the pan, cover it, put the stove on low and let it simmer for about an hour. You will need to check on it and stir it approximately every 10 minutes.
The great part about making tomato sauce is that you can add it to your weekly meals and cook in some other goodies to make pasta sauce (e.g., meat, mushrooms, zucchini, tomato soup, etc.), chili, a meal for the crock pot, etc., or you can place it in a freezable container/bag and stick it in the freezer until you want to defrost it and eat it.
When it comes to salsa, I have spent a lot of time experimenting (mainly with proportions). The main staple ingredients I use are tomatoes, peppers and onions. However, you can also add ingredients, such as garlic, or peach/mango in order to make the salsa a little bit sweeter.
Depending on the taste and texture you are going for, you can sauté everything together in a sauce pan and then blend together, you can chop up the ingredients fresh to make it more like pico de gallo, or you can semi-cut up everything and place it into the blender for a mix between the two. (Ours was the mix between the two.) After mixing, you can do a taste test and determine if the proportions are correct and, if not, you can add more of whatever ingredient is lacking and re-stir the mix until you have achieved your perfect salsa!
Just remember that spicier peppers (e.g., habaneros) have a tendency to leave a lasting burning sensation on your fingers if you cut them without gloves on!
These are both really easy solutions to prevent food waste, get your money’s worth and to have some fun experimenting with your produce!
Please share your favorite tomato recipes in the comments below.