It's alarming to note that half the food prepared in the US and Europe is wasted every single day. Almost 80 billion pounds offood goes to waste every year in the US. While its almost considered normal now to discard foodthatssomewhat close to its expiration date, or because its been sitting for far too long in your refrigerator or pantry, or sadly because youre bored to eat it,you can avoid wastage (and save a few bucks).With summer comes an abundance of fresh producejuicy, fresh berries are a welcome treat for kids and adults alike. Tempting with their vibrant hues and tart sweetness, berries are great on their own, or added to smoothies, pies, blended into sorbets and cooked into sticky, long lasting conserves, compotes and jams. But why stop there when you can try out so many interesting options?These tips will make you fall in love with berries all over again:
- Layering them on paper towels in glass or plastic containers helps them keep for a long time in the refrigerator. But the easiest thing to do would be to wash, hull and freeze them in individual batches for future use. Here are a few interesting ideas to ensure you dont allow any of this marvelous yield to spoil and go to waste.
- To use the summer fruit interestingly, place a single berry in every slot of an ice tray, and pour water over them so they freeze into pretty cubes with a berry suspended in the center. These alternatives to regular ice cubes can be added to summer coolers or iced teas for a visual treat.
- Blend with yogurt and pour into lolly molds for cheap, healthy and refreshing ice lollies.
- Place washed and hulled berries in a bowl and sprinkle with powdered brown sugar or turbinado, with a squeeze of lime, a pinch of salt and some chopped, fresh mint leaves. Let it sit covered in a warm place undisturbed for an hour or so, and stir once or twice in between. You will be left with a bowl of aromatic, softened, macerated berries sitting in a slurry of their juices. Just scoop a bit of this onto fresh Greek yogurt, home-made nutty granola or even vanilla ice cream.
- Place berries in an oven-proof, flat bowl, sprinkle a bit of sugar or a spoonful of honey, and cover with heaping spoons of crumble topping before baking, until you have a delicious dessert.
- If you want a no-bake dessert for the family, just spoon the macerated berries into a glass dish or individual bowls, and layer with fresh cream or Greek yogurt and ladyfinger biscuits for a trifle that looks just as good as it tastes.
- Blend extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, balsamic or apple cider vinegar, herbs and garlic with a few tart but semi-ripe berries to make a flavorful vinaigrette for an unusual twist to boring salads.
- Chop up some firm, ripe strawberries and add to tropical fruit like pineapple or mango, with diced white onion, some green chilies and sprinkle with spices such as ground cumin and pepper, as well as finely chopped fresh herbs like coriander, dill, cilantro or mint with a splash of lime juice for a spicy, appetizing salsa.
- And finally, go ahead and infuse vodka or gin with berries for a tantalizing liqueur-like base, for fancy summer cocktails.