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Shopping for vegetables can be confusing at times and you may feel discouraged to go vegetable shopping because of that batch of nasty green potatoes you had to spit out or because you ended up throwing away half your leafy greens. Follow this guide and make your grocery shopping a little easier.
When shopping for vegetables, firmness and color are the first things to observe. Fresh vegetables are marked by being as firm, crisp and consistent in coloring as possible. The basic rule is, the firmer they are, the fresher. Fun fact; unlike fruits, smell is not a major factor in determining a vegetable’s freshness but if they do smell overly sweet or sour, put them back and avoid at all cost! The next time you browse your fresh produce aisle, use the following as a guideline:
Guide for picking fresh vegetables
Fresh Bell peppers are firm to the touch with no soft or discoloured spots. Feel the entire surface of the peppers lightly with your fingers to ensure firmness as well as to avoid bruising them yourself. Look out for and avoid any split or broken stems as well. This is applicable to peppers of all colors.
Cauliflower and Broccoli
Color is the main indicator of freshness for these vegetables. Fresh Broccoli should have pale green stalks and dark green florets, and cauliflower should be an off-white all around. Avoid any that are yellowing or browning. They should also feel heavy and compact in your hand.
When buying corn, ensure that the corn husk is pale green in color and damp (fresh) looking. It should not have any browning or drying. Whether purchasing corn with or without the husk, the kernels should be plump and firm to the touch. Avoid those with kernels that look shriveled or dry.
Fresh carrots, beets, potatoes, and onions feel hard to the touch even when you press them slightly. Their skin should have no cracking or soft spots. If you are purchasing them with roots still attached, they should be sturdy and crisp. Avoid them if their roots look wilted and discoloured.
Assess freshness of leafy greens by feelings as many layers of the greens as possible. Both the leaves and stalks of all leafy greens should feel crisp to the touch. They should be browning or look wilted. When inspecting the leaves, look out and avoid those with tears, yellowing, browning or rotten leaves. While it is sometimes unavoidable, avoid any that take up the majority of the bunch or those beginning to look rotten (browning or darker color than the rest of the vegetable).