PICKING THE BEST PRODUCE
When it comes to fresh vegetables not all that you can pick from is equal. A ripe prime vegetable has more nutritional value than it’s over or under ripened companion sitting next to it on the same supermarket shelf – so its about selecting the ones at there best.
Now don’t be fooled, the best isn’t always the prettiest one you can find. Visual imperfections can often hint at surprising depth of nutritional value.
Supermarkets often sell produce grown not just for taste but also to hold up from shipping and long haul distribution—often these vegetables can be visually attractive, but not flavourful and often lacking on the nutritional value front.
Its time to sharpen our senses on our hunt for the best fresh vegetables to make sure we are getting the best nutritional impact for our dollar.
Here is how to pick some of the most popular fresh produce choices
Find rigid stems with tight floret clusters that are deep green or tinged purple. Pass on any with yellowing heads—they’ll be more bitter.
Once its home: Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to 1 week.
Benefits: Cancer-fighting sulforaphane, and anti-estrogen agents
Find tightly closed, firm caps that aren’t slimy or riddled with dark, soft spots.
Once its home: Spread them on a flat surface, cover with a damp paper towel, and refrigerate for 3 to 5 days.
Benefit: A study suggests that the polysaccharides in white button mushrooms may boost immunity and combat tumors.
Look for vibrant green spears with tight, purple-tinged buds. Thin spears are sweet and tender.
Once its home: Trim the woody ends. Stand the spears in a bit of water in a tall container; cover the tops with a plastic bag. Cook within a few days.
Benefits: Folate, which may protect the heart
These should have lots of heft for their size, and brightly colored, wrinkle-free exteriors. The stems should be a lively green.
Once its home: Refrigerate in the crisper for up to 2 weeks.
Benefits: All bell peppers are loaded with antioxidants, especially vitamin C. Yellow peppers lead the pack.
You want plump, uniform, indigo berries with taut skin
Once its home: Transfer them unwashed to an airtight container and refrigerate for 5 to 7 days.
Benefits: More disease-fighting antioxidants (especially in wild berries) than most common fruits
It should feel heavy and have tight, shiny skin. When pressed, you want springy, not spongy. The stem should be bright green.
Once its home: Keep in a cool location (not the fridge) for up to 3 days. Eggplants are sensitive to the cold and don’t keep well.
Benefit: Chlorogenic acid, which scavenges free radicals
You want deep-green, heavy artichokes, with tightly closed leaves that squeak when pinched together.
Once its home: In the fridge, in a plastic bag, up to 5 days.
Benefits: The highest antioxidant capacity of most common vegetables
Look for crisp leaves free of browning edges and rust spots.
Once its home: Refrigerate for 5 to 7 days in a plastic bag.
Benefits: Vitamin K, which is needed for blood clotting and bone health
Seek out unblemished berries with a bright-red color extending to the stem, and a strong fruity smell. They’re neither hard nor mushy.
Once its home: Place unwashed berries in a single layer on a paper towel in a covered container.
Benefits: The most vitamin C of all commonly eaten berries
Plump and dry berries are best; look for good shape and intense, uniform color.
Once its home: Unwashed, in a single layer on a paper towel. Cover with a damp paper towel and refrigerate 2 to 3 days.
Benefits: More fiber than any other commonly eaten berry
Good beans have vibrant, smooth surfaces. The best are thin, young, and velvety, and snap when gently bent.
Once its home: Refrigerate unwashed in an unsealed bag for up to 1 week.
Benefits: Fiber which is associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality
Find firm ones with no sunken, mushy spots, and a waxy rather than a shiny appearance. Shake it—a rattle means the pit has pulled away from the flesh. Not good.
Once its home: To ripen, place in a paper bag and store at room temp for 2 to 4 days. Add an apple to the bag to speed things up. Ripe ones can go in the fridge for up to a week.
Benefits: Cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated fat.