Reilly's Top Tips for Customizing Your Box!
Does anyone else kind of lose their mind with excitement when their customization window officially opens? It's one of the most exciting parts of the week but there’s definitely an art to creating the perfect box for the week ahead. We asked our content manager (and resident opinionated food nerd), Reilly, to share what he’s learned about customizing like a pro. Here they are:
Double check the quantity! To avoid awkwardly large or small piles of your favorite veggies, be sure to check if an item comes by the count or by the pound. This seems insignificant until you receive 10 pounds of marble potatoes.
Make a meal plan, Stan. Customization is a great time to plan out your meals for the week! While ordering 8 heads of Romaine is great if you love Caesar salad enough to consider changing your name to Caesar, it’s not great if you can’t eat all that lettuce or find a warren of hungry rabbits before it wilts. Set yourself up for success by having a game plan (or 2) for every fruit and veggie that you’re incorporating into your box.
Storage Matters (No longer just a show on A&E). How we store our produce has a huge effect on how long it lasts. Having a plan (and space) to store your Imperfect produce will empower you to get the most out of every turnip that turns up at your door. To help with this, we send along a produce storage guide with your first box. Display yours somewhere prominent, like on your fridge next to the wedding invitations and your children's artwork so your friends will know that proper produce storage is a priority for you.
Plan around the fragility of your produce. When I customize, I go heavy on hearty root vegetables like onions and potatoes because they are versatile and last a long time, giving me more flexibility with how and when I use them. While I'm liberal with the roots, I'm always cautious with tender things like leafy greens and only get exactly what I need. This is because I recently learned that fruits and vegetables will actively use up their internal stores of antioxidants to try to stay alive in your fridge, so waiting too long to eat your Imperfect produce will actually mean it's less healthy as well as less fresh and delicious by the time you eat it them.
Have a few “rescue" recipes ready. No matter how well you customize, there are going to be weeks where you are left with produce odds and ends hurtling towards their wilted demise in your fridge. When was the last time you finished an entire head of celery, anyway? For this reason, I have a few kitchen moves up my sleeve to use up the tail end of each box. For aromatics like celery cores, fennel tops, leek greens, orphaned onions, and stray carrots, I roast them in the oven and then simmer in water to make fresh vegetable stock. If I have half an avocado or a few leaves of kale lying around, I’ll throw them in my next post-workout smoothie. I’m also a big fan of making quick pickles, and it’s saved me from ordering too many chiles, cucumbers, and carrots on dozens of occasions.