After getting back from traveling last week, I knew it was time for another round of fridge triage and so I thought I'd share a few of the ways I "save" ingredients.
I tend to have a lot of jam lying around and this winter, we've also had a few jars of lemon curd in the fridge. Jam doesn't spoil very quickly, but lemon curd needs to be used up fairly quickly. Whenever we have a jar lingering in the fridge, I like to make a batch of thumbprint cookies using a simple butter cookie dough. Breakfast bars that call for a layer of jam are a good way to use up a jar of jam when I'm ready to get a new flavor in rotation. You could also use jam in a batch of "surprise" muffins, by making basic muffins and putting a dollop of jam in the center of each before baking or just stir some jam or curd into plain yogurt for a snack or dessert.
we like this one in particular), throw in your sliced veggies and enjoy as a side dish or very tasty layer in a cheese sandwich.
Limp celery? Hairy carrots? I started roasting whole chickens on a somewhat regular basis after receiving Diana Henry's Plenty a few Christmases back. I always save the carcass to make a couple quarts of chicken stock for the freezer to use in soups and risottos and I throw in my worst looking (but still flavorful) celery and carrot, along with some onion and pepper corns when I make the stock. To make, you just throw everything in a pot, cover with water and simmer gently until reduced by half. Strain and freeze.
There are still plenty of ingredients that get the best of me. Half opened salsa jars pose an especial problem and I have a hard time catching broccoli before it's a yellow, fuzzy mess. Happily, one joy of composting is that spoiled produce is never a total loss.
What are you best tricks for using up produce and ingredients before they go bad?