Seize the Season (with Smoothies)

When plastic bags are cheaper than wasted food...
When plastic bags are cheaper than wasted food…

This post is dedicated to Marla!

It’s mid-August, and produce is at its peak. Sales are everywhere. Friends call you, asking you to come pick grapes and blackberries so they don’t go to waste. And you hate wasting food, but you have no time to can it. Plus, your kids are picky eaters.

No problem.

We started this two years ago, when I finally acknowledged that fruit prices would not get cheaper than right now, that fruit caught in season was much better, even after freezing, than any fruit eaten out of season. The answer was obvious: freeze it, then use it later for smoothies.

So my kids dumped an entire 4-cup freezer bag of fruit into one smoothie.

I then acknowledged that a 200-pack of cheap zip-closed sandwich bags was cheaper than the fruit lost from two of these such occurrences.

 We started making smoothie packs.

It’s pretty simple, really. So simple that you’re going to say, “Aha! Why didn’t I think of it?”

Blackberries and grapes from a friend's vines
Blackberries and grapes from a friend’s vines
  1. Find your fruit. Glean it from a friend’s tree, hit those crazy sales, or buy the overripe discounted produce. Overripe fruit is just fine for smoothies.
  2. Wash, stem, pit, and cut your fruit. Remember, you’re going to dump this directly into your smoothie.
  3. Measure your fruit into individual sandwich bags. I like to use ½ cup of cut fruit, or about 7 average-sized strawberries. You can use the fold-and-close sandwich bags, but you might have leakage. I once tied the ends of blueberry bags, when I had no zip-close bags, then ripped them open when I wanted the fruit.
  4. Place your individual sandwich bags into a quart-sized freezer bag. This double-bagging protects against spillage and freezer burn. I can normally fit 5 smoothie packs into one freezer bag, allowing the bags to lay flat and stack within the freezer.
  5. When you’re ready to make a smoothie, simply remove one smoothie pack and dump it into the bottom of the blender, and zip the freezer bag up again.
banana smoothie packs
10 overripe bananas for $1? Who cares if the kids won’t eat them in time!

 Smoothie Bananas

Again, so simple you’ll slap your forehead. Find your discounted bananas. Remember, slightly overripe bananas are great. Line a cookie tray with waxed paper or plastic. Peel the bananas and set them on the cookie sheet, making sure they don’t touch. When the bananas are completely frozen, fill quart-sized freezer bags. Remove one or two bananas for each smoothie.

Bananas may also be thawed for banana bread. Since the cellular structure breaks down with freezing, you won’t need to mash the bananas. Just thaw, and make the bread.

sahara protein shake
Sahara’s post-workout snack

  Sugar-free Protein Smoothie

  •      One smoothie pack, with desired fruit. Or more fruit, if you want it super fruity.
  •      ½ to 1 cup plain yogurt
  •      One scoop of whey protein powder, of desired flavor.
  •      One cup of milk or water.

Blend. Enjoy. Have a great workout (or work day, or school day).

If you’re dairy-free, you can switch out the ingredients for soy/coconut yogurt, soy/legume protein powder, and any milk alternative such as coconut, almond, rice, etc.

How do you preserve your in-season food? Do you have any tips for all of the busy homesteaders out there? Please comment!



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