DISCLAIMER: This handout is for informational purposes only. If you have concerns about your own health, please notify your physician or other healthcare provider.
Are your Veggies Fresh?
January 14, 2013
Signs of Freshness
Snap beans are available all year. Choose firm, crisp beans. Avoid any beans that have soft spots or blemishes.
Available year-round. Choose smooth, deeply colored beets. Avoid buying tough, wilted beets.
For best flavor, choose a dark, even purplish, color with stems that are not too tough. If the buds are open and yellow, the broccoli is overripe.
Available year round. Look for firm, richly colored, and smooth carrots.
Choose celery with a light-medium color, small tender branches, and a glossy appearance.
Most available from May - September. Choose moist kernels and green husks. Avoid those with worm damage or with dried kernels.
Most available during summer. Choose firm and deep green in color. Avoid those with cuts, soft spots and dried ends.
Most common are spinach, kale, romaine, collard, tunip, chard, mustard, chicory, endive, sorrel, broccoli leaves, and mixed greens. Choose those with tender leaves, no insect damage, strong green color, and smooth stems. (Chard is red).
Year round availability. For butter lettuce, look for soft, light green leaves. For iceberg, look for a round, solid head with crisp, medium green leaves.
Yellow, red, and white onions should be blemish free, firm, and dry. Avoid onions that have fresh sprouts.
Green, red, yellow, orange peppers should be glossy and firm with a rich color. If they are soft to touch, wilting, or flimsy, do not buy.
Baking potatoes (Russet) should be firm, smooth, and without sprouts. New potatoes (red potatoes) should be firm, no sprouts, and no bruising/discoloration.
Summer squash (zucchini, yellow, etc.) is best when it has glossy skin and is not too tough or large. Fall and winter squash (butternut, acorn, delicious) should have a hard exterior and be weighty for size.
Both dry sweet potatoes and yams should be firm, smooth, and show no signs of dry or wet decay. Keep both types refrigerated for freshness.
Choose richly colored tomatoes that are not too firm, and are not too soft. The richer the smell, the tastier the tomato is likely to be.