Looking for deliver can be confounding. You sniff, jab and shake, yet you can in any case wind up with not as much as delectable organic products, limp greens and tasteless vegetables. Here are a few hints on picking the freshest deliver at the market, taking full advantage of your cash and making the best of foods grown from the ground that are past their prime. When you buy produce, you want the most for your money. But fruits and vegetables don’t come with an expiration date. I’ve collected these tips for helping you choose the freshest fruits and vegetables. Please share your tips in the comments. Fruits and vegetables have seasons and you can’t always find the quality you want. Be flexible. Always examine fruits and vegetables for blemishes, especially holes where insectsmay have entered. Many surface blemishes don’t affect the produce. But a soft spot will spread quickly to the rest of the fruit.
The Fruit Files
- Apples The color of apples can range from yellow to green to red. When shopping for them, look for firm fruit that has a rich color. Apples will keep in the refrigerator crisper for up to a month.
- Bananas The best bananas have a solid yellow color speckled with brown. Greenish bananas ripen well at home, so they’re worth buying if you plan on eating them later. Store bananas at room temperature—not in the fridge—since they age more quickly when cold. Mash overripe bananas to use in cookies and pancakes.
- Blueberries Look for firm, brightly colored blueberries. Skip those that look mushy and always examine the container. If it’s stained or leaking, chances are the berries are beginning to spoil. Blueberries freeze very well, but don’t wash them beforehand. Spread them on a cookie sheet, place in the freezer until solid and then transfer to a freezer-safe container.
- Cantaloupes These melons should have a sweet smell; to the touch, the end should have a little bit of give. Store ripe, whole cantaloupes in the fridge, where they’ll last for a week. Cut melons will keep for a few days. Overripe cantaloupes make a fine soup.
- Cherries Buy cherries when you have time to choose them one by one, not by the handful. The best are plump and dark red, with fresh stems. Cherries should be refrigerated and eaten within a few days of purchase.
- Grapefruit Heavy, firm grapefruit are the super juicy ones. Grapefruit can keep in the fridge for two weeks. Tired of eating them raw? Put brown sugar on a grapefruit half and broil it. Or cut fresh fruit into chunks and use to top a chicken dish.
- Oranges The heavier the fruit for its size, the juicier it’s likely to be. Avoid oranges with thick, coarse or spongy skin. Oranges will keep in the fridge for a few weeks. Squeeze the juice from leftover oranges and use to flavor sauces and salad dressings.
- Peaches Tree ripened peaches taste best of all. Fresh peaches have a short season and are fairly perishable, so don’t buy more than you plan to use in a couple of days. Use slightly overripe peaches in sauces.
- Pears There are several varieties of pears. Anjous (oval with white flesh and green skin) are delicious to eat out of hand and to use in cooking. Bartletts (golden and bell shaped) are good raw or cooked. Aromatic Boscs (tapered and russeted) are delicious raw. Comice (round and sweet) is the best dessert pear. Not as sturdy as apples, pears should be used within a week after ripening. Prepare them simply by coring, adding a little sugar and cinnamon, then baking—in a pan with about a half inch of water and wine—until slightly soft. Or poach pears in a bit of red wine until they take on a beautiful red color.
- Pineapples Good ones have a fragrant aroma and should feel heavy for their size. The leaves should be green and crisp. Store underripe pineapples whole at room temperature, but away from sunlight. Keep whole ripe ones in the fridge in a perforated plastic bag for a few days.
- Strawberries Look for firm strawberries with the cap stem still attached. Avoid those with large, uncolored seedy areas. Never wash strawberries vigorously. Just rinse under running water before using. Overripe berries are great in smoothies. You can also freeze them (unwashed) to use later in muffin batter.
- Watermelons This fruit may or may not have seeds, and comes with flesh that runs from pink to orange to gold. Shop for a cut melon with rich-colored flesh, dark seeds and no white streaks. If you buy a whole melon, it should be symmetrical with a smooth surface, pale green color and well-rounded ends. Store ripe watermelon in the refrigerator, but be sure to remove it an hour or so before serving for the sweetest taste.
- Asparagus Look for smooth, dull green lances and shut, thick tips. Asparagus is perishable, so use inside a day or two of procurement. Store in the ice chest, with the cut finishes of the lances submerged in a pitcher of water.
- Ringer peppers Red peppers are riper, sweeter forms of the green, and both contain various malady battling chemicals. Search for smooth, substantial peppers, and don’t be hesitant to shake one. On the off chance that you hear seeds rattling, the pepper is past its prime. Once cored and seeded, peppers can be full and heated, broiled or pureed to use as a spread. Those past their prime can be diced, sautéed in oil and added to a dish.
- Broccoli Look for brilliant, conservative heads; maintain a strategic distance from those that look wounded. The bud bunches ought to be dim green or green with a purplish cast. The buds ought not be open, which is an indication of overmaturity. Microwaving broccoli holds a larger number of supplements than bubbling. Remaining broccoli is scrumptious in a plate of mixed greens finished with an Asian dressing of shelled nut oil, rice vinegar or natural product juice, and a dash of dull sesame oil.
- Cabbage Choose cabbage with a thick, substantial head and with red or green clears out. Cabbage will keep for half a month in the refrigerator. On the off chance that you influence coleslaw, to change the fixings by hurling in some cleaved almonds, diced apples, destroyed carrots and pineapple lumps. Other than conventional slaw dressings, cabbage additionally matches pleasantly with a blue cheddar dressing.
- Carrots Look for firm carrots with a rich orange shading; keep away from those with delicate or out of shape roots. Store carrots in the veggie container, where they’ll keep going for half a month. Somewhat limp carrots are fine for soup or stew.
- Cauliflower Look for minimal curds and don’t stress over green verdant bits all through the group. Maintain a strategic distance from heads that are stained or flawed. On the off chance that the cauliflower still has its green outside abandons, you can wager it’s new. Store cauliflower in a punctured plastic sack in the fridge crisper, where it will keep going for up to seven days. Puree extra cauliflower and fill in as you would pureed potatoes.
- Corn Look for corn with green, soggy looking husks; maintain a strategic distance from tanish husks. When you peel back the husks, the pieces ought to be full. In the event that you apply slight weight to a bit with your fingernail, juice should squirt out; this is an indication of freshness. Fresh corn ought to be utilized not long after subsequent to purchasing. Remains can be mixed into goulashes and utilized as a part of Southwestern-style dishes like quesadillas.
- Cucumbers Select hard cucumbers; stay away from those that seem yellowish. Cucumber skin has a characteristic sheen to it. Cucumbers will keep going for seven days in the ice chest and are phenomenal cut into thin strips and hurled with rice vinegar, sugar and toasted sesame seeds.
- Mushrooms Before purchasing mushrooms, take a gander at the underside to ensure the gills (the column of paper-thin tissue situated under the tops) aren’t open, a sign that the mushrooms are past their prime. Picked those whose gills are lighter in shading. Keep in mind, crude mushrooms don’t solidify well, so cook them first.
- Potatoes Store potatoes in a cool, dry place. On the off chance that you utilize a plastic sack, jab gaps in it so air can course. Preparing potatoes are great heated or squashed. Red-cleaned potatoes make incredible hash tans. Utilize extra pureed potatoes to make potato hotcakes. Blend with an egg, drain and cleaved garlic. Sear in olive oil until the point that brilliant dark colored on the two sides.
- Spinach Fresh spinach has sound looking, dim green leaves; stay away from those that are withered and stained. Dispose of sandy buildup by dousing at that point delicately washing in icy water. In case you’re influencing a plate of mixed greens, to wash just the measure of spinach you intend to utilize. Spinach that has shriveled in the veggie crisper is best served sautéed