Choosing Fresh Produce For Your Recipes
When it comes to buying produce at the grocery store, you could end up going crazy trying to determine if you’re picking a fresh piece of food. Not every piece of produce has the same tell-tale signs to alert you as to whether or not it’s ripe. You need to know how what to look for to determine if your produce is ready. Use the following tips to help and be sure to check labeling if you are concerned about choosing organic or non GMO fruits and vegetables.
Dark green asparagus that has a consistent color all around is the best type of asparagus to purchase because it will have the best flavor. It’s also a good idea to purchase thinner asparagus, as the thin stems cook quicker and become more tender. Asparagus can be kept in a container or resealable bag, and it is best used within three days of purchasing.
You want to choose broccoli that feels heavy and has firm stalks. Tight, green florets are also a sign that the broccoli is fresh. If you notice any brown or yellow on the broccoli, it’s a good idea to avoid it.
Though you may not see it often, cauliflower actually comes in more than one color. No matter which color of cauliflower you eat, you will receive the same nutritional value—and all of them taste exactly the same. Choose a cauliflower that feels heavy and whose leaves are fresh and green. If you notice any discoloration, move on.
When you buy corn on the cob, you need to look at each ear individually. Make sure that the ear feels full in your hand. You also want to look at the silk of the corn. If it is golden, and if there are a lot of them, this will let you know that you’re getting a good ear of corn. The husks of the corn should also be green, not brown.
Whether you’re purchasing green, red, chile, poblano or any other type of pepper, you need to make sure that they have a bright color. Make sure that the peppers have a smooth texture and that there are no soft spots. If you buy peppers that match these characteristics, you can save them in the vegetable compartment of your fridge for up to one week. Great for stir-fry or any vegetarian dish, peppers are a nice addition to any recipe.
When it comes to choosing potatoes, you want to stay away from those that have started to sprout. These potatoes are older, and sprouted potatoes lose their taste. If you have a potato at home that recently started to sprout, you can still eat it that day, as they don’t tend to lose flavor until the sprouts have grown significantly.
Small and oddly shaped tomatoes are perfectly fine to purchase. When choosing tomatoes, you want to steer clear of those that are too soft or even mushy to the touch. Roma tomatoes tend to last longer than any other type of tomato, so these can be purchased well in advance of you needing them. Tomatoes that have a strange shape or color to them could be heirloom tomatoes. This means that this family of tomato has been growing for at least 50 years, and they tend to be juicier and tastier than any other tomato.
Use these tips in the produce section of your grocery store to ensure that you’re bringing home the freshest produce possible.
Amanda Parker is a writer and grocer. She likes to write about recipes and produce. Amanda also enjoys sharing her quick meal ideas.