We’ve all been there before – plowing through piles of various fruits and vegetables, tapping melons and squash, wondering which one is better than the rest. More often than not, the group of produce you’re digging through is all within the same pick date, but sometimes the older produce does get mixed in with the new stuff.
To make sure you get the pick of the litter when it comes to healthy eating, try out some of these tricks and tips of the trade:
Although each item has its own specific ways to tell how fresh it is, it’s always a good idea to take advantage of your senses. Smell and touch the item. The way it looks can be helpful too. If you’re still not sure, check out our handy guide for choosing farmers best produce.
Begin by grabbing a piece of fruit and examine each side. It should feel firm, but not hard, with little to no surface markings. The weight plays a factor too. If the item feels heavy, that’s an indication of how juicy the inside is. This tip works well with oranges, lemons, grapefruit, watermelon, and cantaloupe.
If the piece of fruit has a slight aroma to it, it’s good to go. If the aroma is strong, it’s likely overripe. Melon is a little trickier. If the outside has soft spots, it may not be perfect for consumption. Don’t be deterred by scarring on one side though. That just means it had a chance to ripen on the vine and should be quite delicious.
Some of the same fruit-choosing tips can be applied to vegetables. A firm product is something to look for. Same with items that have little to no dents, pockmarks, visible bruising, or discolouration. If a vegetable has some give when you gently squeeze it that may indicate it’s passed its prime.
With leafy greens, like kale and lettuce, look for:
Root veggies should be hard. There should be no give in them when squeezed. If you sniff these items, they should almost be odour free. If they’re off, you’ll be able to smell it.
When selecting fresh herbs, pick a stem that can stand tall and hold its own weight. Wilted or droopy herbs are likely no longer fresh. Fresh herbs should be continuous in colour and very fragrant. If you notice brown spots on the herb of your choice, you should avoid that one and pick a different one instead.
For the freshest selection of fruits and vegetables, consider shopping at your local grocery store or food market. For all the good reasons why these stores are more appealing than the rest, check out our previous post: 6 Reasons to Shop at Your Local Grocery Stores.
If you’re looking for high quality produce that’s been grown right here in the Okanagan, come and visit Mike’s Produce. We meticulously sort through our produce to ensure we only offer the best items year round.