How to shop for Christmas produce

Author: Hugh Wennerbom

How do you manage the trade-off between freshness and convenience when you're shopping for Christmas lunch?

Christmas is huge for fruit and vegetable retailers and most of the produce - barring a few soft, leafy lines - passes through the wholesale markets in the two weeks prior. The leading retailers covet and hoard the best produce, so you'll be rewarded and less stressed if you follow suit and get organised early. Given Christmas falls on a Wednesday this year, the Friday or Saturday before isn't too soon to start shopping. Before you even write your shopping list, clean your fridge. And by clean your fridge, I mean really clean it: empty it, wipe it out with hot soapy water, dry it thoroughly and restock it with only those items you know you're going to use.

Once you've bought your produce, spend some time breaking it down and packing it away restaurant-style. Put on your favourite podcast as you cut the broccoli into florets; pick and wash the spinach and rainbow silverbeet; remove the outer leaves of cos and radicchio; pare the spring onions; peel and chop the pumpkin; quarter and seed the capsicum. Then pack it all into snap-lock bags, squeezing the air out before sealing. You've now got veg that takes up minimum space, will keep fresh for a week and is ready to cook.

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