Getting a grab bag of seasonal produce requires more weekly meal planning. After all, you have to figure out what to do with all this interesting (and already paid for) food. .
Here are some tips for planning
- Read the weekly CSA email. Patricia sends this around after the bags are delivered. It explains what’s in the bags, suggests some uses, as well as bringing up other CSA business like renewals and new drop-off locations. The preview emails are fun to read. But you never know what’s going to happen, and I’ve found it best not to plan for real until I have my bag. Who wants to plan twice? The preview emails are a good reminder to check the online store, though. If there’s something you really want to make sure you have or have enough of, you can order it before Sunday night.
- Schedule separate time for planning. Not much time – maybe twenty minutes. It often makes sense to combine this time with prepping. Both should be considered distinct from cooking. Otherwise, you’ll drive yourself mad trying to do it all meal by meal at 6:30 every night.
- Weekends work. If you can’t plan till the weekends, that’s cool. Just make your plan from weekend to weekend. Your new fresh CSA produce will wait patiently in the fridge from Wednesday to Saturday with a few exceptions.
- Google is your friend. My laptop is one my favorite kitchen tools now. Just figure out what you’ve got and search for recipes. I still write out my meal plan longhand on a piece of paper, though, because I like to scratch out and draw arrows and make other notes. Then I make my grocery store list on the side and tear it off to take with me.
- Shop second. Try not to go to the grocery store until after you’ve planned the coming week. Then you have a plan and a list and will shop more efficiently.
- Cookbooks work, too. If you don’t have any useful cookbooks, see what your friends and relatives have. A lot of people end up with cookbooks they never use and might be happy to loan them out. If you want your own, here are a few recommendations.
How to Cook Everything
How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
- Find a style. Sticking to a style of cooking for a couple of weeks or even a season has a bunch of benefits. Find out more here.