Biting into a fresh, crisp salad on a warm day instantly cools you down, and a bowl of warm soup is the ultimate comfort food. Making soup or salad seems simple enough since the majority of the work is chopping and mixing up the ingredients. Yet, you know it isn’t always that easy if you’ve ever been served wilted lettuce or noticed a lack of flavor in your soup. Since the vegetables are the star of the show in these dishes, knowing how to pick and prepare them for the fullest flavor helps your favorite meals taste fresh every time.

Know What’s In Season

Shopping for seasonal produce lets you know that each ingredient is in its prime. Although you can often find most common vegetables in the store year-round, you’ll notice that the flavor is richer when it is in season. When freshness matters, look at which fruits and vegetables are ripening now to get that fresh-off-the-vine crispness and flavor.

Shop Local Farmers Markets

Just spending an hour or two at a farmers market gives you the chance to see produce at the height of its season. Not only can you find more organic produce at these markets, but you also know that it hasn’t spent hours or days being shipped to a grocery store. If you don’t have the time to browse a local market, then our meal prep service New Jersey families use often has a steady supply of locally-grown produce.

Store Your Veggies at the Right Temperature

Once any fruit or vegetable is harvested, the time clock for its freshness starts counting down. Proper storage methods help to retain a vegetable’s flavor, texture and color. Always use a thermal tote and ice pack to transport fresh vegetables. Once you get them home, you can store them in a refrigerator that is set to around 34 degrees Fahrenheit. The vegetables that you get from us when you search for a meal prep service near me are also packed in covered containers that are perfect for stacking in the crisper drawer.

Layer Pre-Made Salads

With a soup, you likely want to have the vegetables get soft. Salads, however, are a completely different story. If you are pre-making a salad, then you can layer the ingredients to keep the lettuce from getting wilted. Start by putting the dressing on the bottom of the bowl. Then, add layers of ingredients according to their hardness. For example, you might put broccoli in next before layering in tomatoes. Finally, put the lettuce on the top, and you can give everything a good toss once you are ready to serve it.

The biggest secret to making fresh soups and salads is to keep a rotating stock of vegetables coming. With pre-chopped veggies just waiting to be added to your favorite recipe, you’ll be more likely to use them up. In fact, just seeing an array of options in your refrigerator can inspire you to whip up a salad the next time hunger strikes.

"Creating Culinary Magic"

- Chef John Deatcher

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