Preparing My Own

Becoming more and more aware of where the food I eat comes from and how it’s been prepared, I’ve started to question the products that I buy from the supermarket. When you often have little time to prepare food for yourself at home, it can be easy to fall into buying fruit and vegetables that have already been sorted for you. All you need to do when you get home is get them out to eat. Sticking them straight onto a plate or into a bowl, or heating them up as directed first, the food is quickly and easily ready to go.

This has kept my life simple. However now, after watching programme after programme on TV and reading various articles online, I’m starting to question whether the food I eat would be a better option if I prepared it myself. Some of the most common products I buy, ready prepared and simple to serve, are fruits and vegetables. From literally needing me to open the packet and pop them straight out to eat, to having to heat them up in the microwave first, serving the fruit and vegetables I usually buy is generally easy. One of the downsides though for me, as well as thinking twice about what’s already happened to the food when it’s been made, is that I don’t always feel that it tastes as good I expect it to or want it to. I have a gut instinct that if I am set to prepare them for myself, I could be enjoying my food even more.

Bearing my self-questioning in mind, I’ve decided to give getting fruit and vegetables ready to cook and serve myself a go. My starting point is to make sure I have some handy tools ready to avoid the risk of it taking me too long. If preparing the meals takes a long time, I know I’ll end up quitting. To reduce the danger of this I’ve done a bit of looking round and chatting to people to work out what’s going to help me. Here’s what I’ve settled for.

Option 1

These fruit and veg chopping machines look amazing. Available as manual or electronic devices there are a huge variety of these products out there. The size of the machines does vary but in general they don’t appear to take up a huge amount of surface space. The amount and size of things that the machine can prepare is influenced by the capacity of the container the food goes into and the size of the chopper and its opening. As well as this, it seems that their preparation options are cover all sorts of choices. From grating the food at various sizes to slicing and dicing and in some cases puréeing them there are loads of things the products can do for you. Quite a few of the machines I’ve seen come with lids that fix to the base food boxes too meaning you can store them inside the fridge nice and easily if you want or need to.

Option 2

Going for a salad I have prepared myself I want to make sure that the ingredients have been washed carefully. I have to say, particularly in the case of the lettuce choice I often make, I was worried about the leaves being too wet and leaving a puddle of water on my plate which would be most likely to put me off. Chatting to my Mum, she reminded me that we’d had a salad spinner at home when I was a kid. If you’ve never heard of them, check out I know remember being obsessed with using it whenever I could simply because I found it fun.

The salad spinners come with a main bowl. Inside this there’s a basket which has holes in it. The basket is what you need to add your salad items to. Some people pre rinse them before putting them into the basket, whereas some put them in then rinse them before placing it inside the main bowl. Once the bowl and basket are together, the lid is simply put on top.

Now what I think I’ll still find fun begins. After making sure the lids on properly (follow the instructions that come with it), you spin the basket inside using the handle on top of the lid. When you think it’s done, stop spinning, take off the lid and get the basket out. How to drain the bowl varies from product to product, but in most cases the bowls themselves can be simply used to serve the salad you’ve created.

Option 3

I already know that in some cases, vegetables and fruits offer you more benefits if you leave their skins on them. As well as this though, I also know that I prefer to eat some products, depending on how they’re being served, without it on. If I’m honest, that’s been one of the reasons why I used to just buy stuff already prepared. My food technology teacher at school taught me how to take the skins off potatoes when I in my early teens, and even now as an adult I’ve still not really got any faster. With the amount of time it takes me, I’ve always avoided bothering and instead getting the pre prepared options from the shops.

What I’d not realised, having been taught like this not only at school but also at home, was that fruit and vegetable peelers are a thing. We didn’t even have them in my own house when I was a kid. My friends find my lack of knowledge quiet amusing. I now know that you can buy all kinds of peelers. Most of them come along with metal blades sticking out from the main, often plastic handle. The handles look like they’re designed to be ergonomic, so unlike risking to cut my fingers when knife peeling, these are likely to protect my hands.

Just to let you know… Having recently been invited to share a meal with my friends, they got me to help prepare the food using a peeler! All I can say is what a winner! Much safer for me than a knife and in some ways, I even found it quiet cathartic.