How to make the most of a veg box
Make the most of seasonal produce with our inspiring veg box ideas. See how to use up a glut of foods, store fruit and veg for a longer life, as well as which foods to freeze and more
Veg boxes are a great way to celebrate the fresh produce of the season. They’re an opportunity to try new foods while cutting down on time spent at the supermarket. However, you may find that your veg box contains too much of one item or an ingredient you’re simply unfamiliar with. What then?
Whether you’re looking for information on cooking new foods or seeking recipe inspiration to freshen up your meals, we have plenty of ideas to help you make the most of your veg box.
Also, see our helpful tips on how to make fresh fruit and veg last longer and preserve seasonal flavours. Find the best way to store your produce as well as which foods you can pop in the freezer.
Are you considering a veg box subscription? See our review of the best veg boxes to try including organic and wonky veg.
How to store vegetables
First things first, unpack your veg box and decide how to store all your produce. Some fruit and veg can be frozen for later, but if you prefer to eat them soon, see how best to store them.
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- Store root vegetables, such as potatoes or beetroot, in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place. Potatoes can last for weeks, while new potatoes should stay fresh for a good few days.
- Wash carrots, cut the green tops off and keep them in the fridge. For extra crispness, immerse them in a sealed container of cold water, making sure you change the water every few days.
- Store brassicas, such as broccoli and cauliflower, in the fridge. Leaving them whole will help them last longer.
- Leafy greens, including lettuce, kale and spinach, can be stored in a perforated bag in the fridge. Eat within 1-2 days for maximum crispness.
- Try wrapping fresh herbs, such as sage and basil, in damp kitchen paper and store them in the fridge.
For more information on specific types of vegetables, see our glossary.
Choosing vegetables for the freezer
If you don’t wish to eat everything in your veg box within the week, save some in the freezer for later. Some vegetables will require preparation – see our guidance for the best advice.
- Rhubarb can be frozen from raw, simply trim off any stringy bits and cut into short lengths.
- Chop or slice onion and freeze raw on trays.
- Cut cauliflower or broccoli into florets, blanch for 2 mins in boiling water, pat dry and freeze on a tray.
- For carrots and potatoes, chop into pieces, cook until al dente and freeze in batches.
- For everyday fruit, such as strawberries, apples and bananas, wash or peel and freeze in slices.
Vegetables with a high water content, including lettuce, cucumber, bean sprouts and radishes, go limp and mushy when frozen, so freezing is not recommended. Soft herbs, such as parsley, basil and chives, are fine if frozen to be incorporated into dishes but are not recommended for garnishes.
Learn more with our complete freezing guide.
How to meal plan
The easiest way to make sure nothing goes to waste is to plan your meals for the week. Decide which veggies you’d like to use straight away then pick out your favourite recipes to use them up.
To get ahead for the week, see our healthy meal prep ideas, including lunches, dinners and snacks.
How to use up a glut
Too much of one particular ingredient in the box? See our easy ideas for using up a glut of veggies, plus ways to preserve the flavours of the season.
- Shredding: sweeter veggies, such as carrots, courgettes and parsnips, can be grated and used in bakes like our classic carrot cake.
- Blending: to make a warming soup, simply blitz vegetables cooked in stock, such as potatoes, cauliflower or butternut squash, with a hand blender. Try our delicious cauliflower soup.
- Roasting: you can’t go wrong with a roasted vegetable traybake or rustic ratatouille.
- Preserving: try new cooking methods to use up big batches of fruit and vegetables, such as making jam, fermenting or pickling.
For more ideas, see the top 10 ways to use up a garden glut.
What to do with seasonal produce
Veg boxes can include specialty or highly seasonal produce. Not sure what to do with a vegetable you’re less familiar with? Search for recipe inspiration and try something new. Here are a few ideas for making the most of seasonal fruit and veggies:
- Use up sweet berries, lychees, gooseberries, blackcurrants or damsons in cocktails; you can infuse them in gin and vodka. They also add sweetness to bakes and desserts.
- Make the most of legumes, including broad beans and runner beans, by tossing them into a pasta or curry.
- Hearty veggies, such as marrow and Jerusalem artichoke, are perfect for roasting in a traybake or blending into a soup.
- Slow cook dark, leafy veg, such as cavolo nero and Swiss chard, in stews to lessen their strong, bitter flavour.
- Turn freshly foraged wild garlic into a pesto or infuse in butter to add to recipes.
- Fragrant elderflower can be preserved and used in a cordial or a springtime bake.
Discover which ingredients are in season and what to expect in your veg box with our seasonal calendar.