1235 Apalachee Parkway, Tallahassee FL •  850.942.2557

Fresh Produce Tips!

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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 some tips to help you choose the freshest fruits and vegetables.

·         Fruits and vegetables have seasons and you can’t always find the quality you want. Be flexible.

·         Always examine fruits and vegetables for blemishes. Many surface blemishes don’t affect the produce. But a soft spot will spread quickly to the rest of the fruit

·         Produce, unless it isn’t ripe yet, should give off a fresh smell.

·         Greens: Celery, parsley, dill, kale, leafy lettuce, broccoli, etc. Should always be green and crisp looking. If it’s starting to look wilted, pale, or brown, it’s past its prime. Only buy it if it’s a bargain and you can use it right away. Sometimes the outside of a head of lettuce is wilted but the inside is still okay.

·         Root vegetables including turnips, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, etc. Root vegetables should feel heavy. The skin should be smooth, not wrinkled. They should smell fresh and have an attractive color. Smaller ones are usually tastier.

·         Potatoes: The skin should be unwrinkled. Green skin is a sign of poisonous solanine. Cutting off the green won’t remove all of the solanine. Dirt on potatoes can be a sign of freshness, because they are usually washed before storage. The eyes of old potatoes start to sprout.

·         Onions: Should be heavy and hard, with dark skins and no sprouting.

·         Garlic: Old garlic will also sprout.

·         Grapes: Lift up the package and look from underneath. As grapes ripen, they fall off the bunch so a lot of loose grapes means they are very ripe.

·         Strawberries: Firm and without too strong a smell. Always sort strawberries as soon as you get home.

·         Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, grapefruits, tangerines: Fresh smell and no soft spots. Brown surface scratches don’t affect the fruit. Green spots is also usually fine.

·         Apples: Firm, smooth skin with no blemishes.

·         Cucumbers, zucchini, eggplants and peppers: Heavy, unwrinkled.

·         Melons: Press the top of the melon, where the stem was/is. If it’s soft, it’s ripe. Ripe melon also gives off a sweet smell. The stronger the smell, the riper the melon.

·         Watermelons: Tap it. If you hear a hollow sound, it’s ripe. Also, lift it up and look underneath: the peel there should be yellow or ripe.

·         Tomatoes: The redder the tomato, the riper it is.

·         Avocados: Choose them hard, or, if you can use them right away, soft with few blemishes.

·         Pitted fruits like peaches, apricots, plums, cherries and nectarines: Ripe ones are softer and more colorful. An imperfection or two usually means that they are just past their prime- buy only if you can use that day but they will be delicious.

Hopefully these tips help you select the best fruit and vegetables every time you shop!

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