I love seasonal produce. Any season. It’s the most delicious way I know of being in the moment. And summer produce is the easiest to love. Sweet corn, curvy eggplant, luscious mangoes, creamy avocados, ripe berries. What I don’t love — food waste. And honey, there’s a lot of it. We waste up to 40% of our food and with it, every single resource it takes to produce it — water, labor, farmland, energy. Worse, 1 in 7 of us is dealing with food insecurity. Waste is unsustainable. It makes us look uncaring and ungrateful, too.
Here’s to President Obama and culinary and environmental leaders working together to cut food waste in half. We can all get in the game. As we enter the sticky, sexy days — and nights — of summer, embrace — and eat — imperfection. I’m not saying you have to eat that old pizza (although I do wish there was a way to turn it into fuel or something). Instead of discarding summer produce like slightly bruised peaches or past-their-peak berries, use them in a fruit crumble or berry pudding (nice for a Father’s Day treat) or freeze them for winter, when summer feels like a distant memory.
More easy, luscious summer food ideas here. Click below images to download:
More food saving tips here. Because those luscious summer mangoes and berries and peaches won’t be here forever.
Summer Berry Pudding
- 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 5 cups berries any mix of fresh blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, mulberries or currants
- Half a loaf of soft white or whole wheat bread about 15 slices , crusts removed
- Heat orange juice and sugar in a large pot or saucepan over medium heat. Stir for a minute or two, until sugar dissolves. Pour in all your berries.
- Stir and continue cooking over medium heat, until the berries release all their lovely juice, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Ladle a generous amount of berry juice — not the berries themselves — enough to cover the bottom of a 9 X 5-inch loaf pan or 6-cup mold or pudding basin (to use the delightfully archaic English term). Top berry juice with a layer of bread, cutting slices to fit. Line the sides of the mold with bread sliced snugly to fit, as well.
- Now layer on a good third of your berries, so the bread beneath is completely buried. Top the berries with another layer of bread. Repeat with another layer of berries and juice, then top with another layer of bread. Save the last third of the berries and juice to cover the top, making sure there’s no bread peeking through.
- When the pudding is completely cooled, press a layer or two of plastic wrap on top, then weight it down by setting a heavy plate or something similar on top. Innovate. I’ve used an eggplant that happened to be right there in the fridge and that worked fine. Refrigerate.
- Let the berries and bread smoosh and the pudding chill overnight or up two days. When you’re ready to serve, remove weight, take the pudding from the fridge and unwrap. Run a butter knife around the edge, place a plate with a lip (to save any juice) or a shallow bowl on top. Invert the pudding onto the plate. It should unmold perfectly.
- Stop, admire, then serve, cutting into wedges or slices as desired. Top with whipped coconut cream.