Eating healthy is not easy. It would always be much simpler to go through the drive-thru at your local fast food joint than to prepare a nutritious meal. But one of the other bog struggles of eating right is knowing how to find the right produce. Fruits and vegetables, while delicious can be tricky to choose. They have a much shorter shelf-life than a lot of other foods, and knowing which are the best option is not always so apparent. However, as with most things, a little education will set you down the right path. So to help prepare you for your next trip to the grocery store, here are a few tips for picking out the very best produce.
Apples can be identified by two characteristics; their firmness and their colour. They should be quite firm to the squeeze, with almost no give at all, and their colour, whether it’s red, green or yellow, should be vibrant.
Asparagus should be firm with the stalks standing straight up and not drooping over at all. The bright colour is also an indication of its ripeness. You should also look for stalks that are similar thickness so that the cooking times ae similar.
Avocados are quite tricky. While with most produce, firmer usually better, but that’s not the case, but with avocados, they should be a little soft to the squeeze. Hard avocados are quite unpleasant.
Bananas have a very quick ripening rate so you have to know what you are looking for. Avoid the bananas with green still on them, they are too fresh. What you are looking for are those bright yellow bananas where some brown is already starting to form on the peel.
Blueberries should have very bright colours, but as you buy them in bunches, it can be difficult to determine the condition of the whole batch. Look in the container for any that appear mushy, or if there is a lot of juice forming at the bottom. This indicates they are beginning to turn.
Broccoli should have health, firm stems and the florets at the top should be bunched together. When they begin to separate and droop, they are beginning to turn. If the leaves are still attached, look for brightly colours leaves.
Brussel sprouts, similar to broccoli, should have tight leaves bunched together.
Cabbages should also be judged based on how compact their leaves are. Going by their weight is also a fine indicator, with the heavier cabbages being healthier, especially if they appear to be quite heavy for their size.
Cantaloupes give off a sweet smell which is usually a good indicator of their health. Other than that, the firmness is something to go by, though a little tricky. While the middle should be firm, the ends of the melon should give a little.
Carrots should be quite smooth and firm to the touch.
Cauliflower should have tight, compact florets and their colour should be vibrant white. When the colour begins to fade, they are based their prime. Also, the leaves should be healthy.
Celery with firm, green stalks are the way to go.
Cherries should be bought individually if possible as they can vary significantly from berry to berry. What to look for is a nice, robust berry with a very bright red colour and a healthy stem.
Corn with plump kernels are your best bet. Based off the husks, they should be green and avoid any with a slimy feel to them.
Cucumbers should be very, very green and nothing else. Except no substitutions.
Garlic with green sprouts are passed their prime and you should pass them by. Look for plump, firm bubs.
Grapefruit is best when it is heavy, which indicates a good amount of juice.
Green beans should always snap before they bend.
Lettuce leaves should be crisp and green. Avoid any slim, as if you needed to be told that. Same rules apply for spinach and other leafy greens.
Onions must always be dry. And like cabbage, the heavier they feel, the healthier they are. Avoid any softness.
Oranges are mostly used for their juices, which means that the heaviness of is your best indicator. The skin should also be healthy and firm, with a good colour to it.
Peppers, whatever the colour, should be vibrant with a healthy shine to them. Feel for good firmness as well.
Pineapples that are healthy should have a fruity aroma to them that you can even smell through the skin. Apart from that, look for healthy, green leaves.
Potatoes sometimes have sprouts. Avoid those ones and go for the smooth and very firm potatoes.
Strawberries lose their stems when they are beginning to turn so look for those with the stem still attached. They should also be firm (avoid the mushy ones) and have that vibrant red colour.
Sweet potatoes should also be firm and without the wrinkles that can appear on some older potatoes.
Tomatoes should be nicely red with that heavy feel to them. Look out for wrinkled skin. Also, smell the stem and if there is no discernible smell, it’s probably passed prime.
Watermelons should be smooth with dark green colour to them which indicates the juiciest, delicious melon.