This article is written in partnership with Misfits Market—they’re dedicated to making affordable, high-quality food more accessible while helping break the cycle of food waste—we’re honored to work with them. ~ ed.
Editor’s Note: This is a service which I (and my boss and my colleague Kate, below) actually use and talk up to folks. Here’s why: Buying organic produce seems unsustainable for my lifestyle at inflation prices. Buying from Misfits, though, I can get organic ingredients for what feels like pre-pandemic prices. Sure, I could get wonky lookin’ produce (nature’s abstract art) in my box. But the foods I receive are never damaged and always tasty. They’re just items that are overstocked and in need of a home to avoid becoming food waste (like the quick to over-ripen avocados I add to almost every box and make celebratory guac with on delivery day). BOOM! And hello tender baby bok choy that I can’t find anywhere else these days. That’s feel-good food for my belly, and a feel-good action for my planet almost every week. ~ Marisa, ed.
A beef. It’s what’s for dinner.
When it comes to the dreaded “what should we eat for dinner?” conversation with my husband, I dislike decision-making almost as much as I dislike facing all the food that gets lost in the back of our fridge when we can’t choose a chef for the evening.
And I’m not alone.
A new survey has shown that the number one thing couples fight about is…yep, food. And it’s not the fun, ole, playful food fight.
“The fight about food is one that 37 percent of couples said they have the most, with more than half of participants admitting that they despise hearing the question, ‘What do you want for dinner?’”(1)
Frankly? I don’t have the capacity for arguments, and as I grow a tiny human in my body (yes, I am pregnant), I need all the foods.
Enter my new best friend and savior: Misfits Market, an online grocer that works directly with farmers and makers to bring you organic produce and other sustainably sourced grocery items that might otherwise go to waste due to outdated grocery store standards.
Their mission in three words? Sustainability, affordability, and accessibility.
Misfits Market offers their delivery services to nearly everywhere in the contiguous 48 states (versus other online grocery stores that may only stick to big cities, which they serve too!)—regardless of how urban or how rural the area is or what the median income per household happens to be.
(Yet another reason there’s a whole posse of newfound Misfits Market fanatics over here at Elephant Journal. Instead of Monday morning football, we talk about what was in our weekly food boxes.)
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Let’s jump straight into the (artichoke) heart of the Misfits matter, shall we?
Misfits Market helps us save money, time, the planet—even relationships and sanity (in a way).
When we’re at the end of our ropes (and who isn’t there just about every day, honestly, even without all the extra stuff?), it’s not often a thing to look forward to the other basic responsibilities—you know, like grocery shopping.
I mean, really. Who wants to wander around for a good hour, price comparing, checking for greenwashing, and caving in to buy the better-for-us organic produce when…have you noticed how expensive organic produce has gotten?
But, that’s adulthood, y’all. And it has been weighing particularly heavily on me lately (hi, pregnancy hormones).
I’d always coveted the idea of having groceries dropped on my doorstep, but felt so guilty about the waste from the packaging (and the damage to my wallet, of course).
So, when I was told Elephant would be partnering with Misfits Market, and when I looked into their mission and all that they’re about, I felt like a kid in a candy store. And you know what’s in candy stores? Lifesavers. And that’s what Misfits is.
They literally rescue food that would otherwise be exiled and tossed out—as is the case with this linguine…errr…capellini pictured below (welcome to the land of Misfits, you confused pasta, you!):
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When I created my first order on the Misfits app, they had already thrown in some produce and pantry staples they thought I’d like (to get my culinary juices flowin’) and then let me know I could “edit” my cart to customize however I wanted. I added everything from blueberry goat cheese to chocolate-covered pretzels to beef jerky and quinoa crunch dark chocolate bars.
There’s even a section on their site for recipe inspiration, and if you click on that recipe, it’ll add all the necessary ingredients to your cart. (See? Lifesaver.) But I could easily swap things out.
And since their food is delivered in 100% recyclable boxes (and in lieu of plastic produce bags, they use compostable, plant-based bags and package padding), I also feel zero guilt about the environmental impact.
I’ll never forget when that eco-friendly box of goodies arrived: my husband let out an audible and even visible sigh that highlighted the stress leaving his body. Lord knows he wasn’t going shopping that day.
Relationship crisis = averted.
Carbon footprint = low AF.
Lowered stress levels because I got to cross off a “to-do” with zero effort = unlocked.
That’s great and all, but with all we’ve got going on in our lives right now, my husband and I still needed to face the food waste issue that originates in the back of the fridge and too often comes to the forefront of kitchen arguments due to those too-overwhelmed-to-cook evenings (and let’s be honest: there are a lot of those evenings, lately).
And I know that’s not just an “us” problem because food waste in American homes makes up about 42 billion pounds each year (2). That means we’ve all got a pretty decent fridge-to-landfill pipeline going on.
And so, it’s Misfits Market to the rescue again with these…
Food-and-feud saving tips to help us radish-ify our relationships and make the most of our crunch-less carrots.
To start: trim and hydrate. If your fruits and veggies are a little too soft or have gone limp, a little bit of water can go a long way to bring them back to life.
>> Root Vegetables
Got soft beets, carrots, potatoes, radishes, or other root vegetables? Rehydrate your roots to bring them back to life. Simply soak them in water overnight and they should be as firm as new.
Revive wilted lettuce by giving it an ice bath. Let soak for at least an hour before enjoying in your favorite salad.
>> Celery, Broccoli, and Asparagus
Give limp celery and asparagus new life in a glass of water. Trim the bottom of celery, then place in a glass of water for at least 30 minutes. The water will rehydrate the celery, making it crisp once again.
>> Bell Peppers
Not crisp enough? Slice up your peppers and give them an ice bath. They might not bounce back to their deliciously crunchy selves, so cook and purée into a sauce to coat pasta.
Turn too-soft berries into a delicious dessert topper. Instead of an ice bath, soak berries in sugar water. After a few hours, they’ll be syrupy and thick—perfect to top on cakes or ice cream.
Note: If your fruits or vegetables are discolored, have visible mold, or don’t pass the smell (or taste) test, then they might be officially too far gone. Toss or compost.
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And if a good hydrating soak doesn’t bring your produce back to crunchy fresh perfection? Try this:
- Blend herbs with lemon zest and oil for an herby cooking oil
- Or, purée herbs and freeze them with oil for cooking starters
- Quick pickle veggies like peppers, cucumbers, and soft tomatoes
- Juice your fruits or blend them into a smoothie
- Save vegetables (except for cruciferous ones like broccoli and cauliflower) for homemade stock
- Roast root vegetables and blend into a dip
Adulthood might not be the “picnic” we imagined it would be, but we can still come together and share the secrets that make it a little easier on ourselves (and the planet).
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If I’ve learned anything so far, it’s this:
Water can bring almost anything back to life (including people, so stay hydrated).
Misfits—aka the funny lookin’ things—taste just as sweet (true for both people and produce), so don’t be so quick to judge.
And living and eating both ethically and sustainably doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg and a therapy session. It can actually reward us with balance and sanity.
Oh, and one last thing: rest when you can.
Who’d have thought I could gain so much soul nourishment from some misfits at the market?