Fruits and vegetables are arguably one of the most important food groups in the average diet. But the quality of different produce can vary a lot!
Making sure you’re choosing fresh, flavourful fruits and vegetables just makes sense. The taste will be better, and that means the whole family will eat more.
But how can you be sure that you’re getting the best fruits and vegetables? Try using these five easy tips to help you pick out the best produce for your family!
Check the Scent
Depending on the produce you’re buying, scent can be one of the best ways to determine if your fruits and vegetables are at their best.
Fruit with a sweet fragrance is generally at the peak of ripeness. Vegetables, on the other hand, should have an earthier smell.
If you’re shopping for produce to eat fresh, avoid fruits that smell cloyingly sweet, as they’re likely past their prime and will spoil more quickly.
But don’t forget, overly ripe fruit can still sometimes be great in baking, and is often sold at a lower price!
As for vegetables, any kind of unpleasant odour means that the vegetables should likely be avoided.
It may seem natural to choose fruits and vegetables based on looks alone. But often, looks can be deceiving!
You should definitely make sure that there’s no bruising or damage on the fruits and vegetables you’re buying. It’s a quick indicator that the produce isn’t going to be at its best.
Odd discolourations on your produce can also be indicators of mold starting to develop, which means produce may spoil before you can use it.
But oddly-shaped fruits and vegetables can be just as delicious and nutritious as their attractive counterparts.
In fact, some places even offer ugly food box delivery that lets you buy less-than-perfect produce at a lower price. Just be sure to check the produce carefully when you receive it to make sure everything is still good!
Test the Firmness
When it comes to choosing ripe and ready produce, touch is easily one of the most important senses at your disposal.
When choosing fruit, a bit of softness is generally what you want. A ripe peach or pear will give a bit when pressed with a finger, letting you know it’s ready to eat.
In the case of vegetables, however, firm and crisp is generally better. Soft potatoes, broccoli, celery and lettuce generally means vegetables have lost too much water and are no longer at their best.
Determining when certain fruits and vegetables are ready to eat is something that can take a bit of trial and error at first. So, don’t get discouraged if it takes a few tries to get a feel for choosing the best fruits and vegetables!
Buy In Season
To really get the best out of your fruits and vegetables, buying when they’re in season is always a good idea.
When produce is in season, it generally doesn’t have to be shipped as far, which means that it’s fresher when it gets to your table.
The flavour also tends to be better, since off-season fruit may have been grown in a greenhouse and lost some of its natural sweetness as a result.
Of course, it’s important to remember that many fruits and vegetables keep for weeks, or even months. So if you’re buying apples, potatoes, carrots, or other long-lasting produce, buying in season isn’t as much of an issue.
Consider the Storage
In our modern age, knowing if produce has been properly stored is no easy task. Often, fruits and vegetables may have been shipped long distances in a truck to reach the grocery store.
But once it’s on the shelf, it can be easier to tell if its being stored appropriately. Leafy greens, herbs and certain other vegetables should be in a place that keeps them cool. Ideally, they’ll be misted with water occasionally as well.
Fruit, on the other hand, is usually best stored at room temperature. If produce is stored appropriately in the store, chances are better that it will last longer and taste better once you get it home.
There really is nothing quite as delicious as fresh fruits and vegetables. But ensuring they’re just right when you buy them does take a bit of practice.
Still, the end result is worth it! So trust your senses, buy in season when you can, and enjoy the flavour and health benefits of fresh, high-quality produce. Your family is sure to appreciate your skills with every bite!