This brand new section is updated monthly with advice and hacks on getting the most out of your fresh foods! From preparation and storage recs to ideas for sneaking more veg into your favorite dishes, we're sharing what we've learned and our go-to methods. 

We'd love to learn about yours! Share them at the bottom of this page, and if we include them here, we'll send you a gift card!

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Sneaky Veg: Kalo

Blend the buggah

This goes for kalo or poi, but we just got into adding both to our fruit smoothies, and it's been a game-changer. The smoothies are more filling, keep you satiated longer, and kalo and poi go SO well with banana, blueberry, pineapple, or whatever your fave smoothie ingredients are. I've also been enjoying a simple kalo smoothie with coconut meat, goat's milk, and banana. Easy, delicious, and so dang nutritious.

ALSO - The 'Ulu Co-op's pre-cooked, frozen taro chunks make this even easier! (available in the online store)

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Sneaky Veg: Salad

Add more greens + veggies to your favorite dishes!

I promise this one isn't (quite) as dumb or redundant as it sounds. I'm not here to shame any iceberg lettuce fans or anyone who calls a pile of lettuce and sliced tomato a salad. I'm just here to present you with a few more options. One way you can give your basic salad a little texture and nutrition boost while bulking it up is to add some new greens! My favorites lately are won bok (Napa cabbage) and kale. Slice your won bok into lovely little ribbons and fluff it into your regular salad greens. It adds a bit of that mustardy-cabbagey flavor and lots of delicate, crisp texture. Plus, all the texture on the leaves acts like little dressing pockets. For kale, remove the stems and massage the chopped greens with a pinch of salt before adding your other ingredients. Kale also gives a nice mustardy flavor, a little volume, and an excellent hearty texture.

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Fresh Bread

Freeze for Freshness

We recommend slicing your bread as soon as you get it home and storing half of it (or more/less) in an airtight bag in the freezer. When you bring out a few slices to use, it will thaw to the perfectly bouncy, chewy texture of a fresh loaf. Or, if you're impatient (like me), throw the frozen slices right in a pan and toast for a quick fix!

We know, it sounds counterintuitive, but freezing your fresh bread is the best way to keep it, well... fresh! Bread that doesn't contain preservatives can lose its softness and develop mold pretty fast (especially here, in the tropics). And sometimes, you can't eat an entire loaf before the freshness starts to fade.

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Lilikoʻi (Passion Fruit)

No juice left behind

To get the most juice out of every lilikoʻi, remove all the fruit pulp and seeds and freeze it before juicing. Freezing breaks down the cell walls and causes the liquid to release from the pulp, producing a higher yield when juiced.

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No slimy greens here!

No one likes gross, slimy greens! Store greens in the fridge in an air-tight container lined with a bit of cloth or paper towel to wick moisture away. For our greens that come in paper bags, we put the paper bag in a used plastic bag and tie it closed. It works great for veggies, too!

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Sneaky Veg: Lion's Mane

Katsu, anyone?

More like katsu, everyone! Who doesn't love something crispy and deep-fried? Next time you're craving good katsu, try adding some sliced lion's mane mushroom alongside your pork or chicken cutlets. Slice the Lion's Mane so they're a nice thickness (1/4-1/2-inch) and prepare just like your normal katsu. The fabulous pull-apart texture of Lion's Mane is so much like cooked pork and chicken it'll be a fun spin on a old favorite.

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Sneaky Veg: Mac-N-Cheese

Add more greens + veggies to your favorite dishes!

We all love mac and cheese, but sometimes it's nice to know we're getting some nutrition with all that cheesy goodness. Try subbing a portion of the pasta with pan-roasted cauliflower florets (maybe it's roasted with olive oil, maybe it's butter, who's to say?). Add the roasted cauliflower to your pasta and cheese sauce and finish cooking. If you're obsessed with greens, like me, stir in a bunch of steamed spinach or kale when you add the cauliflower. : )

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Crunchy or Smooth?

If you've ever had a jar of honey in your cupboard for a while, you know what "crunchy" honey is. This process that causes to change honey from smooth and liquid to crunchy and solid is called "crystallization". This solidification happens as the sugars in honey begin to crystallize. It is a perfectly normal and natural process that all honey will go through eventually, some at faster rates than others. But, if you don't love this texture in your honey, just place your honey jar in a warm water bath to make it smooth again.

Some folks prefer the solid nature of crystallized honey because it's not as messy or drippy as liquid honey. But they're both delicious!

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Better with age

Pumpkins and winter squash continue to develop their sugars after being harvested. They are sweetest after about a month if left in a cool, dark place.

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Keep ʻem crispy

If you keep your carrots in a bowl of water in the fridge, they will last much longer. - Matt & Andrea, Ancient Valley Growers

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Mammea Americana (M. Apple)

But how do I eat it?

I love Mammea because it's one of the least messy fruits to eat. You want your fruit to have just a slight softness to the skin when you squeeze it, but it'll still be pretty firm. The easiest way to eat it is like an orange. Quarter the fruit (watch out for the giant seeds), and then peel back the skin with it's white membrane so all that's left is the beautiful yellow-orange flesh and chow down. The texture is firm and crunchy, not juicy, with an excellent citrus flavor. They're really good with something rich and creamy, like yogurt.

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Sneaky Veg: Red Sauces & Chili

Add more greens + veggies to your favorite dishes!

Veggies add bulk, texture and flavor to thick, hearty sauces and chilis. These are great dishes to pack with those veggie scraps you need to use up. If you're making a marinara-type sauce, roast up some zucchini, carrots, eggplant or peppers with your tomatoes and garlic. If you're making a meat-based sauce, sub minced vegetables like zucchini and eggplant for half of the ground meat. Sauté these with your onions, garlic and meat and continue your recipe as usual. Done and delicious!

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Try the Dry Fry

For the best texture, place your shredded or cut mushrooms in an unoiled hot pan. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. The heat will help remove some of the water that can make mushrooms seem mushy, creating a firmer, chewier texture. (You can also sprinkle some salt as they "dry fry" to help pull out even more moisture and really concentrate the flavor and texture.)

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Eternal eggs?

If refrigerated, your carton of fresh eggs can last about a month, if not more. To make sure you're still working with good quality, crack each egg, one at a time, into a small bowl before adding it to your pan or recipe. A good egg will still have a firm yolk and no strong, bad smell. Eggs can be naturally gamey-smelling, but a rotten egg is pretty unmistakable.

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Black Sapote

The uglier the better

Black sapote is brown/black/greyish in color and very soft when it's ripe and ready to eat.  (Honestly, they look kinda terrible when they're fully ripe, but they're yummy!) 

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Pineapple Skins

Before you toss 'em

Wait! Don't throw out those juicy, flavorful pineapple skins!

Before you cut up you pineapple, scrub the outside really well wish soap and water, especially the top and bottom. Trim all the skin off as you normally would and put it in a small sauce pan (or larger depending on how much pineapple skin you have) and just barely cover it with water. Bring it to a simmer for 15-20 mins, then strain all the water off and compost the skins. Tah dah! Pineapple tea! There's still so much juice and flavor left in the skins, it's a shame to waste them and this quick, easy step gets you little more bang for your buck.

If you like yours a little sweeter, throw in a bit a brown sugar after straining, while the tea is still warm.

Mix with lemonade, add some fresh mint or basil and enjoy!

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Sneaky Veg: Pasta

Add more greens + veggies to your favorite dishes!

If you're doing a quick, simple pasta dish, here's our go-to method for "greening" it up:
Once your pasta water is boiling, add a generous pinch of salt. Start your pasta cooking. Rinse a bag of spinach. When pasta is almost done (3 mins to go), stir in the spinach with the pasta and cover. When the pasta is done cooking, strain it all in a colander
Tah dah! You've got steamed spinach mixed in with your pasta and are ready to go!

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Lemons & Limes

What to do with them all?

Lemon and lime season can feel like a feast or famine; loads one day and gone the next. You can juice several pounds at a time and freeze the juice in ice cube trays. Once frozen, pop all the citrus cubes in a freezer-safe container and save it for the off-season. Each cube is about serving size, making quick lemonade and delicious cocktails!

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For fresh fungus

Like storing greens, the key is to keep excess moisture off while giving room to breathe but not dry out. Store them in the fridge, in a lidded container lined with a bit of cloth, paper towel, or a paper bag to wick moisture away. The lidded container will help prevent drying out too much.

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Zuccs & Cucs

Room temperature is fine

Cucumbers and Zucchini store great outside the fridge and won't dry out as quickly.

Share your own tips & tricks!


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