Not sure if you’d use a rescued produce box subscription? Here are nine ways we ensure that our rescued produce box from Misfits Market doesn’t go to waste.
After we started purchasing produce through Misfits Market, I received many questions about how we ensure we use up everything when we don’t know what is coming and may not even like it. These are great questions. After all, what’s the point of buying rescued produce if you’re just going to waste it at home instead?!
There are several habits we follow and ways we use food to ensure that just about everything goes to good use. Every once in a while, something is lost to the compost bin. Last week, one of the champagne mangoes turned brown because I forgot to cut it up before it went bad (and we LOVE those things… what a bummer). Aside from that, we haven’t put anything directly in the compost bin yet.
9 Ways We Use Up Our Rescued Produce Box
Here are a few habits we use and ways we use up all the produce to ensure that the rescued produce from our Misfits Market box doesn’t end up in the compost bin.
Skip Weeks When It Makes Sense
If we are going to be out of town or simply have been accumulating too much produce, Misfits lets you easily access your account online to skip any week you’d like. You need to mark a week at least a few days in advance to skip it, but it’s really simple and there is no maximum number of skips to which you’re limited.
If, for example, you just wanted to try a mystery box once a month for fun, you could sign up and skip three or four weeks each month. You can mark weeks to skip up to eight weeks in advance, so you only need to visit your account once every two months to set your ideal schedule.
Meal Plan Around Produce In The Box
I make our meal plan over the weekend, and we receive our produce box each Tuesday. While I make our meal plan, I’m intentional about using up what we haven’t yet used from the previous week and leaving some space for produce in the coming week.
I don’t know exactly what is coming, but I might include roasted veggies or a salad as part of the menu for one night, knowing that we will receive produce that can fit into one of those side dishes.
As I mentioned in my initial unpaid review of the Misfits Market box, I really like that the rescued produce box gives me some direction when deciding what to make for dinner. It also increases variety because we receive things we like but that I wouldn’t always think to buy on my own at the grocery store.
Honestly, the rescued box has reduced the frustration about “what the heck to make for dinner” because it offers some guardrails to get me started on ideas. I think it’s harder to create a menu on a completely blank slate than to start with some sense of direction based on what we’ve received in the produce box.
Use The Power of Pinterest
When I’m not sure how to use a certain food, I head to Pinterest to get some ideas. We’ve found some really great recipes on Pinterest for which I never would have thought to search without the rescued produce box.
For example, I searched for “jicama recipes” and found the Old Bay jicama fries we had for dinner last week. They were delicious and included only ingredients I already had on hand!
Starting with a need to use up the jicama, I settled on making the fries. Then I knew that burgers and a salad would go well with those. The jicama gave me just the bit of direction to use Pinterest to set me on course to plan the entire meal.
Staple Snacks and Sides To Use Up Rescued Produce
Not everything in the rescued produce box becomes a featured item in a meal. Sometimes, we receive things that I’m just not sure how to use up right away. For these types of items, I have a handful of versatile snacks and sides that can incorporate all sorts of produce.
For example, last week we received eight little apricots that weren’t quite ripe. I let them sit on the counter for a couple of days to ripen up. Once they were ready, we had a few for snacks and cut up the rest and froze them to put in smoothies, which are a great medium for gobbling up the last bits of many fruits and veggies before they go bad.
Other snacks and sides that help us use up produce odds and ends include roasted vegetables, salads, pasta sauce, popsicles, and pickled veggies. Last week, I shared a bunch more details about all these versatile snacks and sides to use up any extra items from our rescued produce box.
Leftover Charcuterie Boards
We’ve started a family tradition that every Friday we have this leftover charcuterie board dinner. It is my boys’ absolute favorite dinner. Charcuterie is a generously fancy term for the meal, but it’s fun to get creative about turning leftover food into something beautiful. I gather up all the odds and ends in the fridge that need to be used up and organize them nicely on a wooden cutting board.
I think it’s funny that they love it so much because it’s such a simple combination of food from our fridge and cabinet that don’t otherwise have a home. But it’s great proof that presentation really matters. I think they also love that they get to choose whatever they want from the board and make their own decisions about dinner.
If you haven’t tried this, I definitely recommend making leftover charcuterie dinner boards part of your regular meal routine. They are the best!
Freeze Things For Later
Almost all produce can be frozen and saved for later. If I just can’t get something into the meal plan or a snack, I chop it up and put it in the freezer. Over the first three weeks of receiving Misfits, we received five onions. I don’t use onions frequently but do include them in sauces and stocks when I make larger batches of these things.
I chopped up the onions, froze them on a cookie sheet (so they don’t stick together in the frozen container), and then put them in a bag in the freezer to use later. I can do the same with all sorts of fruits and veggies that could later be added to smoothies, soups and stews, sauces, pie filling, and more.
Giveaway Excess Items
I don’t want to give away too much of the produce because that defeats the purpose of buying it. However, we have gotten one or two things that I just didn’t love but a friend or family loves.
For example, we received a grapefruit one week and I gave that to my mother-in-law. If we really can’t use something, we will give it away to a friend or neighbor who can put it to good use.
Compost The Food Scraps
We don’t eat all parts of every item that comes in the box. You can get really creative with things like carrot top greens in smoothies, on salads, or as garnishes. You can use certain food scraps for natural dyes. There are lots of options.
We haven’t quite gotten there yet. We save a few remnants to make chicken or vegetable stock and add most of the scraps, skins, and remnants to our compost bin. We need this for our growing garden, so it’s great for us to have the extra food scraps that we can turn into “black gold” (or finished compost).
Recycle or Reuse The Packaging
While we compost the box, the inside packaging material that protects the food from bruising and damage is not compostable. However, it is recyclable in our curbside recycling pickup, so it’s easy to ensure it doesn’t end up in the trash.
Furthermore, it’s quite clean, so we could also keep it and reuse it for packaging when we send things to friends or wrap holiday gifts that need a little extra protection.
As long as we are thoughtful about all the contents of the Misfits Market rescued produce box, it’s not too hard to ensure that nothing from the box ends up in the trash. When we save 20% on our grocery bill, add nutritious variety to our diet, and reduce stress around creating meal plans, Misfits is well worth it for us.
Surely Misfits won’t work for every family, but I encourage you to check it out if you think it might be good for you. Misfits Market and other rescued produce companies create more diversity in our food supply chain, give farmers another channel for distribution, and help reduce food waste and food costs.
If you’d like 25% off your first box, use my referral code COOKWME-YW9VRA when you make your purchase. You can cancel anytime with no fees, set various delivery intervals for periods, or skip weeks as needed. It’s worth a shot, don’t you think?