- Food and Cooking
Use vegetables before it's too late
Open your fridge and think: how am I going to use all those fruits and vegetables before they rot?
Here's my answer....
I quite often open the fridge and think I have only a couple of days to use up the vegetables in there but what to do with them?
I hate wasting food, firstly because as my nana use to say, it's a sin, and secondly because I don't have a lot of money and food has to go a long way in my household!
I've got a few easy recipes in this article to use or conserve your vegetables for later use.
Hope you enjoy it!
Easy tomato chutney
A easy way to use up your tomatoes before they rot is to make some chutney. It's easy to make and will last for a couple of months.
Here's a simple recipe for tomato chutney:
1 red onion (finely chopped)
tomatoes ( about half a kg - chopped)
2 garlic cloves
fresh red chilli (as much or as little as you like)
about 1 teaspoon of ginger, but again depends on taste
120 ml of wine vinegar
a couple of cardamon pods
sprinkle of paprika
Put all the ingredients in a heavy duty cast iron pot and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for about 1 hour. Boil vigorously for the last few minutes, stirring the mixture which should look "gooey" and dark. Transfer into sterilized containers when still hot and secure caps. Wait until cool and store in the fridge for up to two months.
Great with cheese, dip for celery, tortilla chips etc..... but I also use it as relish for roast meat (any!)
The picture on the side is one I made last week. I used a "recycled" jar and spruce it up with some material!!!
Italian style passata
If I have a lot or ripe tomatoes I make a passata to use with pasta.
First of all blanch the tomatoes until the skin comes loose. When cool remove all the skin and chop.
Finely chop one onion, a couple of celery stalks, 1 carrot and some basil. Quickly fry them in a cast iron pot and add the tomatoes. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Cook for about 3 hours.
When still hot transfer into a sterile jar and keep in the fridge. I tend to use mine within a week but if you want to keep it for later date it can be frozen.
You can use passata as it is, or brown some mince and add the sauce, cook for 10 minutes and you have an instant bolognese for your pasta.
Perfect cast iron pots
Apples, pears and mango
The above recipe for chutneys can of course be used with fruits such as apples, pears and, my favorite, mango.
Just replace the tomatoes with your chosen fruit and follow the chutney recipe.
Here's some useful books on canning and preserving
Peppers and aubergines
If I have to use a large amount of peppers before they rot I roast them and preserve them.
Here's how I do it:
Roast the peppers under a hot grill until the skin is black and ready to peel off.
Wait until the peppers have cooled down and peel the skin off.
Slice the peppers and put in a sterile jar. Cover with olive oil and add a pinch of chilli powder and dry oregano.
The same can be done with aubergines. Slice them, grill the slices and preserve like the peppers.
Enjoy as a starter or snack!!!!
When I have a lot of onions to use quickly I pickle them. Pickled onions last ages but I tend to use mine up within 6 months.
Here's how I do it
For every 1Kg of onions you'll need:
1 pint of olive oil
1 pint white wine vinegar
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 chilli pepper (chopped)
Put all the ingredients in a pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Separate the liquid from the solids and leave to cool down. When cold reunite the ingredients and put in a sterile jar.
Pickled onions don't need to be kept in the fridge. They will last months in you kitchen cupboard.
You could use old jars but if I give my chutneys and preserves as presents I like to add a little special touch by using new jars!
Celery can of course be enjoyed as a lovely snack with some dips (or my tomato chutney....) but if I have to use it fast and have quite a bit I use it as a side dish that my kids absolutely adore:
I fry them!
Chop each stick into 3-4 inch chunks. Beat an egg and put celery in eggs and then breadcrumbs. Fry quickly, season and serve!
When bananas go a bit mushy and black I use them to make a banana cake.
Here's a simple recipe for banana cake:
3 oz margarine
4 oz sugar
1 large or 2 small ripe bananas
6 oz wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Mix all together in a bowl, transfer in an baking tin and cook at medium temperature (about 180C) for about 1 hour.
Baking with fruits
This is a great book with fab recipes using all kind of fruits!