Monday, August 13, 2012

Fresh, fresh fruits and veggies!

Every other Saturday is Bountiful Baskets day at our house – unless it’s a hiking day.

(Yes, shameless bragging about the beautiful Black Hills!)

What is Bountiful Baskets? Bountiful Baskets is a food co-op distributing fruits, vegetables, breads and occasional other fun stuff to locations in twenty states (sorry Ruthy, New York isn’t on the list). Because your participation includes volunteering once in a while (our locations request us to volunteer about four times a year), the food is available for lower prices than I can get anywhere else but my own garden. I usually buy the conventional basket – about a bushel of fresh fruits and vegetables for $15.00.

Here’s a link to their website if you want to know more:

BUT, this post isn’t to promote Bountiful Baskets, it’s about the FUN part! Frequent visitors to Farmer’s Markets get to have this same fun experience: what do you do with all that produce once you get home?

Here’s what we picked up Saturday morning:

1 bunch celery
1 head Romaine lettuce
2 bunches Broccoli
4 green Bell peppers
8 oz. container mushrooms
1 bunch Tuscan kale
1 cantaloupe
8 bananas
9 peaches
2 mangoes
And a few pounds of sweet cherries

Some of the items are easy, but others needed more thought.

The celery, lettuce, broccoli and cherries were easy – washed and put into the crisper drawer to bring out in meals over the next few days.

The bananas and peaches were still a bit green, so they went into a paper bag to ripen. After three days they should be ready to eat.

The peppers were washed, sliced and put into the freezer for future use.

The mushrooms were used on homemade pizza Saturday night J

The cantaloupe was cut into chunks for eating with meals and snacking.

The Tuscan kale was new for me, but I love kale. I decided to use this bunch in soup on Wednesday – a knock off of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana (recipe to follow another week!)

And then there were the mangoes.

I have to admit, I had never eaten mangoes before I started getting Bountiful Baskets. I had no idea how to prepare them, how they tasted, if my family would like them…

The internet is wonderful, isn’t it? Youtube has all kinds of videos on how to cut a mango. Here’s one of them:

Now I know you can make salsa out of them, cook with them, use them in salads…but did you see that picture? Two little mangoes in this week’s basket. They were eaten for lunch on Saturday.

What is your favorite part about getting a bunch of fresh fruits and veggies? And what's the most recent NEW thing you've tried - or don't you like letting your palate travel on the wild side? (Virginia, we already know about your wild side!)


  1. Oh, WOW!!! That pile of fresh food looks SO GOOD!!

    I just love this program. I'd never heard of it ebfore last week (?) when someone (you, Jan?) mentioned it. Such a great deal, and it cuts out the transport/gas/mileage of the food.

    What I also love about this list is how very chock-full of vitamins it is! you just can't beat the fresh fruits and veggies. Your bodies are thanking you!

    Let's see... Wild side. Um, I ate a WHOLE BUNCH of squash yesterday. Yellow, crook necked squash. Not a squash fan but when it's free and in season , I'll eat it.

    That's the last time I stop by a friend's house in squash season. She just kept loading me down with zukes and squash. I kept trying to say no. I had a trunk full before I left. :O

  2. I tried a jicama about a month ago..think that's about as exotic as I've been...oops I bought some of that cut up cactus at Kroger this morning and put some in scrambled eggs - I see what you mean about the slime-blech!-the few times I've had it before someone had already cooked the food!

    go on night shift tonight(mon) not looking forward to it but once I adjust I like nights better.

    my friend is having a hard time with losing Logan. I figured she would but it's hard talking with her- dont' know if she wants to cry or talk like old times or what and when she starts crying I can't hear/understand what she's saying...just wish it had never happened :-(


    1. I've been there, with a friend. Sometimes they want to talk about nothing. And soemtimes it's all about the baby they lost. Just let her lead. And give her time to cry.

      Hugs to you both.

  3. Oh, Susanna. Me, too. Us, too. Just let her cry. Tears and time, honey. And gentle faith. But it's such a hard loss to bear.

    Jan, we have co-ops here where you buy "shares" of the farm's harvest and each week you get a big bag of fresh produce.

    And next time you get kale, try Missy's kale chips. I would not have thought I could like anything so much, but oh my stars, they're amazing.

    Ginny, I shred zucchini and freeze if for zucchini bread in the winter. All you have to do (and you probably KNOW THIS!!!) is thaw it and drain off the water... And use it in your zucchini bread recipe.

    LOVE IT!

    Hey, my friend got a great recipe for a yellow squash casserole from It's here:

    Everyone loves it and we've passed this baby around to lots of folks. De-stinkin'-licious!

    Rooster's crowing... The white one, not the copper and black one yet. Which means I need to rig separate pens for them because it's too late in the year to incubate eggs and raise babies. But next spring??? Maybe????

    1. You know, I was just going to look up whether you can freeze zucchini!

      Ah, Ruthy, my own little Google! I'm definitely doing that today.

      And the yellow freezes, too?? Good thing. :D

  4. did you know cantaloupe is called rock melon in Australia.
    mangos I don't like. Here mango and orange fruit juice is quite popular as is mango with other juices. I can taste it in juices etc. really cant stand the taste.
    its also a popular fruit to eat here.

  5. Jenny, I love mangoes! I had my first one when my son was in college in Philadelphia... Oh mylanta, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven, the fruit vendor outside the quadrangle of housing had these amazing fruit plates for $7...

    SEVEN DOLLARS for a huge plate of fresh scrumptiousness. And I had no clue what the orange fruit was, but fell in love. Then I found out it was a mango.

    But boy, they're not easy to 'tell' when they're at perfect peak of ripeness. They can be hard like rocks or squishy, squirmy...

    That perfect in between is the best.

    1. When my son had his First Communion, he asked for mango platters. Ummmm.... They thought of peeling mangoes for 40 people jus gave me nightmares. I saw in our local store you could buy packages of them already cut. They looked a little too firm, but I bought one, taking a chance.

      PERFECT!!! We still eat them in the original, when they're on sale, but I'll never try to slice them for a platter again!

  6. Jan, I sure wish we had a group closer to us. Would hate to have to drive over 30 minutes to get a basket. But look at that gorgeous produce!

    I'm with Jenny. I don't really like mangoes. But I do like mango salsa! You should try that sometime. :)

    The most unusual I've had lately was dinosaur kale--which apparently is the same as the Tuscan kale you have. It's the firs time I'd found it at the grocery. Our store usually just has curly kale.

    I chopped it up and sauteed it in olive oil with other veggies (tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms) to put on pasta. It was good!

    1. Mmmm, that sounds scrumptious! Maybe I'll try that for lunch today...

      This particular bunch of kale was kind of small compared to the bunches of curly kale I usually get, but I think there's enough for both pasta and soup.

  7. Virginia, I'll take some of that squash off your hands! Back in the old days (when I had a garden), I had so much of the yellow summer squash, I shredded and froze it like the zucchini Ruthy described. Believe me, zucchini bread made with yellow squash is just as good, and has a pretty yellow/orange color.

    (By the way, do you know what to call a person who has to buy zucchini in the summer? Friendless.)

    Susanna, I've never had jicama or cactus! You're a braver woman than I am.

    And praying for your friend. I wish this whole hadn't happened, either. I agree with Ruthy - let her talk and cry. Sometimes she'll want to talk like old times, and other times she'll just need to let the grief out. You're a good friend to be there for her.

    Jenny, you eat the rock melon and I'll eat the mangoes. We'll both be happy. I've never learned to like melon, which makes it hard to enjoy fruit salads :(

    Ruthy! TWO roosters? Isn't that like having two heroes in a romance novel?

  8. By the way, in the interest of honesty, my son (the deputy county treasurer - impressive title, huh?) insisted I make the following disclaimer:

    I wrote this blog post on Saturday morning. By Saturday evening our homemade pizza had turned into a trip to Little Caesar's. So I lied. No mushrooms on pizza for Saturday night supper.

    End of disclaimer.

    1. LOL! I love how our kids keep us honest. :)

    2. Jan! My kids do that, too! They say,'not everybody ate that...' Well, yes, but nobody eats everything here anyway. Too many picky eaters.

  9. Jan, you've really piqued my interest here. I went to the link and found out BB has a pick up point not far from my house. Will need to do some more investigating, but this sounds wonderful. So what types of produce do they have in the winter?

    1. The produce is all seasonal - I found this posting on their blog that tells what kinds of things you can expect in which seasons and where they come from:

      One thing I like about the program is that once you start participating, you aren't locked in. When we're busy or out of town, we just don't order a basket that week.