Learning to Love Ugly Produce

Have you been to the grocery store and been disappointed with how the produce looks? Lumpy potatoes, tiny apples, knobby carrots- none of it looks very appetizing! This is what is commonly referred to as “ugly produce.” This ugly produce is perfectly good to eat, it just doesn’t look as good as other produce. 

Why does this matter? Farmers and grocery stores have a hard time selling ugly produce because people don’t want to eat it. This leads to food waste because this ugly produce then gets thrown away, even though it is as safe and tasty. Food thrown in the garbage goes in a landfill to decompose, which can contribute to global warming.

Next time you are grocery shopping, don’t worry so much about the size or shape of the produce you are picking. Some grocery stores even do sales on their ugly produce, which can be a great way to get produce for a lower cost! 

Here are ways to tell if produce is ugly or just rotten:

If produce looks rotten, bruised, or is overly soft, this is NOT ugly produce, but rather produce that is going bad and should be avoided. But again, that carrot that is all twisted up, for example, is still a good carrot. 

Here are some tasty recipes to make using ugly vegetables 

  • For cold weather, make this healthy, hearty soup using misshapen potatoes:  Cauliflower Potato Soup.
  • Those knobby carrots we talked about are perfect for this delicious recipe for Sunshine Carrots.
  • If you have a few small, bumpy apples, use them to make this fresh spring salad: Apple Cranberry Salad.
  • Try two types of ugly produce these veggie tacos! Toss in oddly shaped peppers and mushrooms to make Vegetable Tacos.
  • Another great use for ugly potatoes, but this time for breakfast! Try these Sweet Potato Pancakes, which are high in fiber, Vitamin C, and a bunch of healthy minerals like iron and calcium.

Next time you are shopping, keep an eye out for ugly produce. By purchasing ugly produce, you will be helping to reduce food waste, reduce the effects of global warming, and you might even save some money.


Written by Emily Johnson