In our last blog post, we talked about a statement we recently came across that suggested the healthier a person’s diet, the more food they throw in the trash.  The reality of eating healthy foods is that they spoil more quickly than processed food products. So, while we don’t take that to suggest we should change our diets, we do take that as a charge to be even more intentional about equipping ourselves with tools and knowledge to use up our fruits and veggies.

There are a million recipes out there to roast, grill, blanch, blend, and preserve your veggies, so exploring those can definitely be inspiring. And in addition to recipes, we wanted to share 4 different kitchen tools that we, Fresh Harvest employees, have adopted to help reduce the food waste in our own kitchens.

This week, we’re featuring the ever popular Instant Pot as used by Cody and Alison, our garden managers. Given that they have access to the freshest food around, I was excited to learn some of their tricks to using tons of veggies. I’ll start by saying that we have no affiliation with Instant Pot, and are not receiving any compensation to talk about this product. Rather, when talking to Alison and Cody we learned that this is a go-to tool for their cooking rhythms.

Cody and Alison were gracious enough to have me to their house to watch Cody cook while I asked a few questions about their experience.

Me: So tell me about your experience with the Instant Pot.

Cody: Well I found out about it in the Mother Earth magazine that was in the bathroom at the farm I worked at. I read that magazine so many times. I guess after seeing it so many times, I decided it would be cool to try, so I added it to our wedding registry. We’ve used it ever since, and it’s hard to imagine cooking without it.

Me: What’s your go-to use for it?

Cody: We use it a lot for rice and beans that we pair with roasted vegetables. It makes cooking those so much quicker, meaning the act of pulling a meal together is less overwhelming. We also use it when we have a lot of veggie leftovers that we don’t have a specific plan for. We do a lot of “stone soups” when there’s a variety of veggies laying in the fridge.

Me: That sounds awesome in theory. How do you know that throwing a bunch of random ingredients together will turn out well?

Alison: Well the first thing is, I do a lot of the prepping and chopping and Cody does the seasoning because he’s naturally pretty good at picking things that work. But, the other day we made a soup that was not the most appealing looking. It still tasted good, so yes, we ate it for days.

Cody: Yeah, there’s definitely the risk that it might not turn out perfectly. I used to follow recipes step-by-step, but after 4 years of using it, I pretty much skim recipes and adapt it based on what we have and what we like. Definitely the more I’ve used it, the more confident I’ve become to improvise. For example, I’ve learned that meals turn out much better when I sauté the veggies first, especially onions. It brings out the flavors more than just dumping them all in there, and probably only adds 5-7 minutes of cook time. Last week, I made a soup that turned out really well. I started with butter, and sautéed garlic, fennel (bulb, stalk, and leaves), onions, garlic chives, and spring onion tops. After about 5 minutes I added carrots and potatoes and sautéed those for about 5 minutes. Then I added bone broth, and cooked it for about 25 minutes. It was great.

Me: That’s awesome. What other uses do you have for it besides rice, beans, and soups?

Cody: We also use it to make bone broth and veggie stock. We save all of our veggie scraps in a bag in the freezer. When the bag gets full, we dump them all in the Instant Pot, fill it with water until it’s full. If we’re making bone broth, we pressure cook it in the Instant Pot for 2 hours. If it’s just veggies, it only takes about 30 to 40 minutes. My favorite thing is that we basically have one tool that does it all. It serves as a slow cooker, rice cooker, pressure cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, and has a “keep warm” function that keeps the meal warm until even after we’re done eating.


As we talk, Cody makes lentils with onions and garlic. I wish I had on video him saying, with his laidback demeanor, “Then you just set it to 12 and walk away”.

“It’s that easy.” – Cody

At which point Alison jokes that she takes shelter in another room with her cats because the noise of the pressure frightens her.

Cody, Alison, & cats waiting for the lentils to cook

From classic soups, stews, and chili, to cod, salmon, and pork sliders, these 30+ Instant pot recipes have ideas for all types of eaters. If you’re thinking about giving it a try, you can buy one pretty much anywhere kitchen gadgets are soldAnd because we want to partner with you to reduce waste, we’ve decided to do a giveaway with each part of our blog series. This week, we’re giving away TWO Instant Pots that will be delivered with the two lucky winners’ baskets next week. The details of how to enter can be found on our Instagram. Stay tuned next week for Part 2 of our Kitchen Tools series!