Tips from The Kitchn

6 Tips to Make the Most of Your CSA This Summer

Image Credit: Cambria Bold

It's that wonderful time of year when CSAs are just beginning. It's been months since you signed up, and now the fresh fruits and veggies are finally starting to roll in. As delightful as these regular boxes are, it's best to have a plan for managing your produce haul, and staying flexible for when you receive new-to-you items or 10 pounds of zucchini.

Here are six tips to help you make the most of your CSA this summer.

1. Brace your kitchen & have cookbooks at the ready.

Make sure you're prepared for the influx of produce that's coming your way. Clear out ample space in the fridge, give yourself a refresher on the best ways to store fruits and veggies, and have some veggie-centric cookbooks on hand for recipes and inspiration.

2. Deal with the items in your pickup right away.

A good way to manage your CSA — to make sure you get the most out of your fruits and veggies, and prevent anything from going to waste — is to deal with everything as soon as you get home. Clean and store the produce immediately, have a plan in place for how to use everything, and prep what you can right away.

3. When it doubt, roast it, stir-fry it, or make soup.

Whether you have more radishes than you know what to do with, you're bogged down with greens, or you've got a new-to-you veggie that leaves you stumped, you can always fall back on these three cooking methods. Just about any vegetable can be roasted, stir-fried, or tossed into a soup.

4. Wait to plan meals until after your pickup.

Typically we plan meals and then go shopping, but when you have a CSA, it's best to work in the opposite direction. First see what's in your box, then plan meals around what you have.

5. Wilt down greens asap.

As great as they are, leafy greens take up a lot of space in the fridge. Since it's easier to store a few cups of chard than a few bunches, consider wilting them down as you get them and adding them to dishes as needed.

6. Pickle, can, or preserve your haul for later.

If you're finding it too difficult to use everything in your delivery immediately, then don't. Instead of getting stressed about finding recipes to cook everything now, consider pickling or canning for use later.