How To Buy Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
How to buy fresh fruits and vegetables is often seen as an art form – the intricacies and secrets of which are only known to career homemakers. While most of us might not have the time to learn about buying fresh fruits and vegetables through trial and error, it’s certainly not reason enough to compromise on healthy, home cooked food. So here’s looking at how you can stop using this lack of knowledge as an excuse, bust out some cash and a big environmentally friendly carry bag, and head straight to the nearest grocery market for a healthy supply of fresh fruits and vegetables…Read on to unlock the mysteries behind how to buy fresh fruits and vegetables…
Apples: Should be ﬁrm to touch. If they’re soft and pudgy, they’re over-ripe or potentially spoilt. Avocados: Press down with your fingers. They should yield to gentle pressure. Size is never a concern, and they can be green to black, even brown marks on the avocado’s skin doesn’t mean that anything’s wrong.
Bananas: Technically, bananas can be eaten even when they’re mushy, but pick firm, bruise-free, yellow and green bananas for a better texture. Even slightly raw bananas can ripen at room temperature, over a day or two.
Figs: Should be soft to touch. These spoil very quickly. So avoid buying more than a coupld of day’s worth at one go.
Grapefruit: These must be firm, round, heavy, and smooth skinned. Avoid rough-skinned grapefruit.
Lemons: Not too soft, almost firm, smooth, slightly glossy-skinned and weighted.
Limes: Weighted like lemons. Green limes are usually more acidic than the yellow ones.
Mangoes: Shouldn’t be too soft to touch. Sizes vary, so does colour – yellow to red. Green mangoes indicate rawness – unless it’s a type that doesn’t turn yellow and speckled on the outside.
Watermelons: Symmetrical shaped.
Oranges: Heavy for size, ﬁ rm, smooth-ish skin.
Papayas: Greenish yellow to full yellow in color. When pressed give way slightly.
Pears: Slightly soft toward the stem. Can buy slightly raw and ripen at room temperature over a couple of days.
Asparagus: Closed buds. Bright green, slightly soft stalks.
Beans: Crisp, long, straight, blemish-free pods.
Broccoli: Firm, closed ﬂ orets. Dark in colour. Avoid yellowing heads.
Cabbage: Well-rounded, heavy, no flaking outer areas, solid and enclosed. Avoid cuts and openings.
Carrots: Bright, hard, smooth. Avoid green-tinged roots.
Cauliﬂower: Tightly enclosed head, surrounded by bright green leaves. White ﬂorets. Avoid bruised or open ﬂ orets.
Cucumber: Well-shaped, firm, bright, sometimes light green, but with a slight sheen.
Eggplant: Firm to touch, but heavy and smooth, dark in colour with no cuts or brusises.
Lettuce: Light green and fresh, crisp leaves with no shrivelled up or wilted areas.
Mushrooms: Dry, avoid the mush stoft ones, brown spots are ok.
Okra: Pick the slightly soft, bright green, tender, bruise-free pods, not too long and not too short. Avoid the tough, fibrous ones.
Onions: Well-shaped, hard, dry, papery skins. Avoid spots, bruises or darkening and mouldy skin.
Peppers: Firm, well-shaped, bright and glossy. Avoid bruised.
Tomatoes: Must be well-formed, firm without being too hard, blemish-free and plump. Colour stays a rich red and the texture slightly soft.
Spinach: Pick large, bright, blemish-free green leaves. Avoid coarse stems.
Potatoes: Should be smooth, well-rounded, firm and free of marks or blemishes. Avoid sprouted ones, or any that are green-tinged. Thick skin denotes older potatoes, and thin, flaking skin denotes young potatoes. Old potatoes are ideal for stuffings as they leave very little water and maintain a mush-free texture.