Disclosure: KitchenAid Canada provided me with a Produce Preserver kit and a grocery gift card so I could stock up on fresh produce and have compensated me for writing this post but all opinions are my own.
Let’s chat a little bit about food waste. And in particular, produce. How many of you knew that forty-five percent of Canadians frequently throw away lettuce? I am part of that group although I have been trying to be better about using up my wilting greens, like in soups… And how many of you frequently throw away brown bananas? You might remember from my post about using up bananas on their last legs to make banana bread that according to a recent study commissioned by the KitchenAid brand* the average Canadian spends around $40.80 per week on fresh produce but will throw out close to 10% of these purchases – that’s a lot of uneaten fruits and vegetables going to waste each year.
And what about the other produce that Canadians throw out frequently? Would you be surprised to know that alongside lettuce, tomatoes, bananas, grapes and celery are the items at the top of the “Most Frequently Thrown Away” list in Canadian households? Probably not (if you are being honest!). But what a lot of Canadians don’t realise is that they are unwittingly shortening the lifespan of their produce by not storing it correctly. Produce like apples and green onions emit ethylene gas (which speeds up the ripening process) and they should be stored separately from other produce like spinach and yams which are sensitive to ethylene gas. Who knew? Not thirty-nine per cent of respondents in the KitchenAid Fresh Facts survey.
If you’re not lucky enough to own one of the select KitchenAid® refrigerators which offer the Preserva® Food Care System, I’m pleased to tell you that the KitchenAid Produce Preserver Kit (now available in Canada) will do an excellent job of helping keep your produce fresher longer.
The Preserver Kit ($16.99 for a starter kit) is a small cartridge that attaches to any refrigerator crisper which will absorb the ethylene so produce stays fresher up to 4 days longer – over the past few months of experimenting, I have definitely noticed my produce staying fresher for much longer. I’ve been trying to store the ethylene-producing and ethylene-sensitive produce apart (here’s a chart which explains the difference) AND my fridge has separate humidity controls in each of the crisper bins (fruit and vegetables with skins should be stored in a low humidity crisper and fresh, leafy vegetables in a high humidity crisper) so I am sure this is all helping my produce last longer. The Produce Preserver refill kits retail at $11.99 – for when your Keep Fresh pack needs replacing (approximately every six months but the indicator will tell you when – mine has lasted longer than six months). I’ve been very impressed with my kit overall although there are still items I find myself scrambling to use before they go bad.
Like when I found myself with a recent glut of red peppers… And when life presents you with too many peppers, I say roast them and make a soup!
Roasted red pepper soup
A simple roasted red pepper soup.
- 3 red peppers, roasted
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 litre vegetable or chicken broth
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Roast the red peppers:
- Preheat the oven to 425˚F for about 45 minutes, turning the peppers every 10 minutes so that they roast/ blacken evenly all around.
- When the peppers are roasted, remove them from the oven, place then in a covered container so that steam forms and the pepper skins slide easily off (you can leave them until they are cool enough to handle or even refrigerate overnight).
- Remove the pepper skins and seeds and chop the peppers roughly.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion and garlic and sauté for a few minutes until the onion is translucent and soft.
- Add the peppers and cook a few more minutes, stirring to coat the peppers well with the onion mixture.
- Add the broth, increase the heat and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce the heat, cover and cook for about 15 minutes until all the vegetables are very soft.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Use an immersion blender to purée the soup.
- If you like a thicker soup, you can add a dollop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt to each bowl.
A KitchenAid Produce Preserver giveaway!
KitchenAid Canada is offering one lucky eat. live. travel. write. reader (in Canada) the chance to win a KitchenAid Produce Preserver Starter Kit and a $50 grocery gift card to spend on fresh produce!
How to enter:
There are 2 ways to enter (maximum of two entries per person for the duration of the contest).
1. Leave a comment on this post telling me the produce you always find yourself scrambling to use up.
2. Tweet the following message: Enter to win a #ProducePreserver from @KitchenAid_CA + a $50 gift card on @eatlivtravwrite ! Details: http://bit.ly/1Cmc9BC
then come back to leave a second comment letting me know you did.
Eligibility and contest rules:
– Open to Canadian readers only.
– No purchase of any product necessary for entry.
– Winner will be chosen randomly (using www.random.org) from all qualified entries on Wednesday October 1st 2014 after 6pm EST.
– Winner will be notified via email Thursday October 2nd 2014.
Congrats Rebby who won my Second Cup Canada giveaway – I’ve sent you an email!