Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Be Smart to Choose Fresh Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. Unfortunately our local markets carry variety of both fresh as well as contaminated fruits and vegetables. At times fruits and veggies get affected by harmful bacteria that are present in the soil or water where produce grows, while sometime these become contaminated during preparation or storage. In any condition eating contaminated produce (or fruit and vegetable juices made from contaminated produce) can lead to food borne illness like food poisoning.

Therefore in order to bring home the most nutritious fruits and vegetables we must stay aware about the time when different fruits and vegetables are in season and what to look for in appearance and texture to select the best ones. Read below few tips that guide you to make the best selection while purchasing fruits and vegetables.

Become fruit wise:

Apples: Look for firm apples that are free of bruises. For red-colored varieties, look for apples that are mostly red. For yellow-colored apples, look for apples that are mostly bright yellow. Red and yellow apples that have several patches of green color are generally not as tasty as bright red and yellow apples. Also, handle apples with care to prevent bruising. Apples are in season from October to about late April.
Bananas: Look for bananas that do not have bruises or soft spots, especially along the undersides of the bottom-most row. If left at room temperature, bananas that are any shade of green should eventually ripen. Extra-ripe bananas can be peeled and stored in a container in the freezer for smoothies or banana ice cream. Bananas are imported year-round.
Grapes: Choose grapes that are firm; soft grapes or those that feel like little water balloons tend to be too ripe. If possible, use a tissue to wipe down a single grape for a taste test before choosing each cluster.
Grapes are in season from August to September. Imported grapes are available year-round.
Oranges: For eating out of hand, choose California navel oranges that are heavy for their size and without obvious blemishes. They are sweetest from about January to early March.
Pears: Choose pears that have smooth skin and no bruises. Pears are in season from August to December.
Watermelon: Look for a watermelon that has a firm, dark green rind. A slight hollow sound upon tapping with your knuckles is often a sign of a full and juicy melon. Peak season for watermelons is from mid-May to late August.

What to look to select the fresh veggies:

Broccoli: Look for tightly budded heads that are dark green in color. Broccoli is in season from July to October.
Carrots: Look for firm carrots with relatively smooth skin. Avoid thick carrots, as they often have tough centers. If you buy fresh bunched carrots with green tops, remove the tops before storing, as they can suck moisture and nutrients away from the roots. Carrots are available year-round, but are best from July to September.
Cucumbers: Look for firm, unblemished, and dark green cucumbers. Cucumbers are in season from June to September.
Garlic: Look for plump and firm bulbs that are completely surrounded by their tissue-like covering. Avoid ones that have green sprouts. Garlic is in season from August to October.
Mushrooms: Look for mushrooms that are free of bruises and other blemishes. Fresh mushrooms are not wrinkled or slimy. Mushrooms are in season from October to November.
Onions: When looking for dry onions, choose those that are firm and have no soft spots. When looking for green onions, choose those that have bright green leaves and are not slimy. Dry onions are in season from September to December. Green onions are in season from July to September.
Potatoes: Choose firm potatoes that are free of bruises and cracks. Potatoes are in season from September to January.
Spinach: Choose spinach that is dark green with no signs of yellowing, sliminess, or wilting.

Keep in mind the above guidelines and we assure you that even in hurry you will never ever worry to choose the wrong veggies and fruits.

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