fight food waste eat raw food

Why you should eat raw food & keep it on hand…

…even if sometimes it goes bad before you can eat it!

By the Veggie Fairy Team

Your body needs the live enzymes found in fresh fruits and vegetables. Enzymes activate and carry out all your body’s biological processes, including digestion and nerve impulses – and it’s theorized that those enzymes need to be replenished regularly for you to stay healthy.

So what’s the #1 way to replenish enzymes?

Eat raw food.

Actually, for overall good health, you should eat a mix of raw and cooked food — cooking makes some nutrients more accessible to our bodies while killing other nutrients. Spinach is good example of the unexpected pros and cons. So a mix of raw and cooked covers all your bases.

Anyway, keeping fresh fruits and vegetables on hand is worth it for the live enzymes, not to mention antioxidants, vitamins, and other fragile things that are good for us… even if those fruits and veggies go bad occasionally before you can eat them all.

Still, why let any fresh produce go to waste?

To avoid wasting produce, prioritize it. Eat the stuff that goes bad the fastest first, like salad greens or green beans. Once they’re eaten, the more long-lived produce will be waiting for you, with most of the nutrients still intact. Asian pears, for example, store well: 2-3 weeks at room temp, several months in the fridge. That should give you plenty of time to:

  • Serve Asian pears on a cheese platter (skip the crackers).
  • Add thin slices to sandwiches.
  • Add chunks to salads.
  • Make Asian pear slaw. (Scroll down to the bottom of the link for the recipe.)
  • Fight food waste and save money… and the world!

    When you don’t waste food, you’re saving yourself some money. But you’re also helping change our world for the better — you’re blooming where you’re planted. Because the fact is, in America we throw away 40% of our food supply every year!

    We’ve talked about ugly food before, and why we love it (as long as it’s fresh and local!) — it just tastes better. For example, in the peak of the season, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has tomatoes of all shapes and sizes and colors because they’re grown for their nuanced flavors, not their looks. Grocery store tomatoes, on the other hand, are grown by Industrial Agriculture with a list of other characteristics in mind – good looking is one, tough enough to travel is another. (Flavor’s not on the list.) Tomatoes that aren’t pretty enough for the industrial system are thrown away.

    In a country where many go hungry, it’s unconscionable to discard nutritious food simply because it isn’t cute enough. It’s a crazy system that needs to change. As a Member of Seasonal Roots, you’re already helping to bring sanity to our nation’s food system.

    But even so, this time of year it’s easy to wind up with more fresh local tomatoes than you can eat raw all at once, even if they are loaded with live enzymes and other good things.

    More ways to fight food waste

    Here’s how you can get those fresh local tomatoes (and other veggies) eaten, with most of their nutritious benefits still intact:

  • Drizzle with olive oil, roast, and use them to top a salad, bruschetta, or pasta.
  • Simmer into sauce and can or freeze. (Check out our 3-part series on maxing nutritional value by freezing, along with other tricks.
  • Skin, seed, and simmer to a paste.
  • Bake into a tomato pie or tart.
  • Make tomato jam.
  • Add to fruit salad.
  • Bottom line: Eat fresh and local

    So… eat ugly food. Eat raw food. Eat cooked food. Just make sure it’s fresh local food! If it’s fresh and local, it’s so good for you that it’s worth it to always have plenty on hand… even if it goes bad now and then.

    But there’s no need to let that happen. If you can’t eat it all fast enough, just throw it in the freezer. When you defrost it later, if it’s not as appetizing to eat raw, it’ll still be great cooked… and just about as nutritious as it would have been if you’d cooked it instead of freezing it in the first place.

    Parts of this post were adapted from Sherri Brooks Vinton’s EcoCentric blog post “Taste it, don’t waste it: Tomatoes”.

    ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS

    Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, pastured eggs, grassfed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.

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