By using the word fresh I mean really fresh. If you want your meal or dish to be truly orgasmic, then it starts with using the very best ingredients. I had a woman complain to me a few weeks ago that her tarts didn’t look like mine because her strawberries fell flat and looked “mushy”. She went on to say that she’d been looking for several days for a recipe to use up her strawberries and chose mine because of the photos. Okay, that says what’s wrong right there. Strawberries just don’t last long once they’ve been picked. Their juicy goodness turns into bad spots and moldy bits in a short time. No wonder her strawberry tarts looked crap – she started out with stale ingredients.
I know it’s tough for those who don’t live close to shops to get fresh food every day to cook with and for them, they’ll have to do the best they can with what they’ve got on hand. For those of us who go out every day and pass by any number of green grocers, butcher shops and supermarkets, there is really no excuse not to put the best food on our family’s table.
The other day I was visiting a part of town I don’t normally travel through and I stopped just to see what this store had to offer. My God! I was in veggie envy from the moment I walked through the door. Honestly, it reminded me of the produce in Paris, all beautifully laid out.
Everything looked so fresh and inviting and was begging for me to pop it in my basket. This is how we should be shopping. I asked where their food came from and was told they source most of it locally, truck in a small amount and rarely if ever stock imported fresh food. I asked about waste and they had an answer for that too. They cook it in their kitchen bakery in the back and sell it at lunch time. They had meat and veggie pies, veggie quiches of all description (I tried the asparagus one and it was wonderful), vegetable pasties, veggie lasagna, salads and lots of other selections using food that might go to waste.
Next time you’re cooking, use really fresh ingredients to make your dish come alive and inviting. Buying from small local shops or better yet from the farmer’s markets really does pay off in the end. The food you’re buying is fresher therefore will last longer. A piece of fruit from Peru is probably not going to last as long as a piece of fruit grown closer to you; it just makes sense.
If you’ve got fresh vegetables that are on their downward swing toward death, use them in soup or stock rather than tossing them away but don’t use them in a dish where you’re going to feature them as a hero on your plate. You’ll be disappointed every time. Stick with fresh, healthy and local and cook it while it’s fresh even if you have to put it in the freezer for later. You’ll be happy your did and you can thank me. 🙂