There you are, standing in the produce section of your local grocery store, staring at the wide array of fruits and vegetables. But how do you know which items are ripe?
Colin Lyons, a produce buyer for Lunds & Byerlys, suggests, “There is one rule when it comes to selection that I like to tell people to look for: always buy the heaviest weight by volume. Let me explain. Let’s say you have two oranges, one in each hand. As far as you can tell, these oranges have the exact same size and shape; the best orange is typically the heavier one. Dehydration is one of the biggest enemies of produce and will almost always leave you disappointed. When you select fruits and vegetables that feel heavy, it is a testament to their freshness and juiciness.”
Once you’ve gotten your produce home, how should you store it? For the most part, green produce that you find on the fresh, cold rack at the store needs a similar environment in your home. These items should be placed in the fridge as soon as possible. It is also very important to remember that once something is cut, it should always be stored in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it. Other items may not have such obvious storage solutions, so here is a quick guide for keeping your produce fresh.
Mango and Papaya
Peppers, Cucumbers and Zucchini
It is ideal to have produce that is ready to eat immediately after purchase. However, ripeness is often a matter of personal preference. Texture and flavors, for example, can range drastically in different stages of ripeness. Also, a good rule of thumb is to wait to wash until you are ready to eat! While washing produce is always recommended, if you wait to wash it just prior to eating, the life of the produce in your fridge or on your counter will be much longer. Completely drying your produce once it has been washed is a difficult task. The remaining dampness can cause premature breakdown of the skin and from there, yucky decay and mold. This is especially true with soft fruits like berries, cherries, and peaches.
List provided in part by Lunds & Byerlys.
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