Thursday, October 27, 2011

Produce

Produce is fresh fruits and vegetables, which are seasonal. Only in the tropics are fruits and vegetables available year round. Plants protect themselves with antioxidants and chemical defenses. Fruit and vegetables keep fresh as long as their supply of antioxidants and chemicals. We are able to eat many of these plants despite their chemicals. The variety of chemical defenses we taste as flavors. Flowering plants trade their fruits to animals in exchange for seed mobility. Fruits are sweet to attract animals and us. But they are only sweet when their seeds are ready. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplant are all actually fruits.


Leafy vegetables generally keep only a few days. Soft fruit also spoils quickly. Hard fruit (apples) and citrus fruit can keep for weeks. Some fruits can be dried, and kept and used like spices. Raisins and shredded coconut dry and keep well.

Vegetables are often the feature ingredients for stews and broths. Their seasonal freshness provides color and taste variety to the root bases and staple foods. Fresh vegetables are often prepared as raw salads, since most can be simply eaten without soaking or cooking. Fresh fruit often sweetens dishes, especially salads, and also makes simple snacks.

Daily (2x week)
fresh



red pepper
1 week
1 lb
optional
tomatoes
1 week
2 lbs
essential
eggplant
1 week
1 lb
optional




cooking fruit



lemons
2 weeks
1 lb
essential
limes
2 weeks
1 lb
optional
plantains
2 weeks
1 lb
optional
dry fruit



raisins
6 months
1 lb
essential
shredded coconut
6 months
0.5 lb
essential
snack fruit



oranges
2 weeks
1 lb
optional
bananas
1 week
1 lb
essential
mango
1 week
1 lb
essential
Produce is fresh fruits and vegetables and generally keeps one week. So I shop twice a week for 3-4 days supply. Shopping for one person, I bring home 8 lbs fresh fruits and vegetables twice a week. That’s one paper bag (10#) or two plastic bags (5#).

Of the total 4 lbs per person per day, I plan for 50% fresh fruit and vegetables daily. I plan for 2 lbs fresh fruit and vegetables daily, of which 1 lb will be uncooked (salads, snacks) and 1 lb cooked. (The other 2 lbs is staple grains and roots.) Fresh herbs, found with produce at the grocer, are included with spices.

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