Saturday, June 25, 2011

Let's go grocery shopping.

Despite my good habit of always having a prepared list of my grocery needs, it doesn't seem to cut the amount of time I spend in the store.

This is not because I am lured into the impulsive goods down aisle four, but because I invest so much time going through the produce section trying to pick out the best fruits and vegetables available. The tiny bruises on bananas, mold on strawberries and the indecisiveness on a pineapple keeps me from grabbin' and goin'! Therefore, I decided to compile a list of "how to choose" your fruits and veggies so you know exactly what to look for and grab n' go! (Considering, of course, that we live in such a fast-paced society.)

Coming soon--How to store these fruits and veggies!


*A basic rule--Look for plumpness, tenderness, & bright color. Fruits should be heavy for their size & free from mold, mildew, bruises, and cuts.

-Apples. Firm & free from bruises & spots.
-Apricots. Plump, fairly firm with deep yellow or yellowish-orange skin.
-Avocado. Avoid bruises and broken skin. Soft avocados are best, esp. for guacamole.
-Bananas. Based on your preferences. Green & yellow are good.
-Berries. Free of mold. Bright in color. A little firmness is good. If you pick your own, select berries that separate easily from the stem.
-Cantaloupe. Find your perfect cantaloupe by smelling for a sweet, aromatic scent...a strong smell usually indicates over-ripeness. It should feel heavy for its size.
-Cherries. Firm & bright color.
-Cranberries. Avoid soft and shriveled cranberries.
-Grapefruit. Well-rounded & fully colored. Juicier grapefruits are heavy for their size.
-Grapes. Plumpness. No mold.
-Honeydew. Smooth skin & heavy for its size. Has a sweet, aromatic scent.
-Kiwi. Yields to gentle pressure. Avoid bruises.
-Lemons. Firm, well-shaped with smooth, even yellow skin. Avoid wrinkles in the skin.
-Limes. Bright in color & firm.
-Mango. Smell for fruitiness and feel for a little firmness. Avoid soft ones.
-Oranges. Firm & heavy for their size. Brown specking or a slight greenish tinge on the surface of an orange will not affect the eating quality.
-Peaches. Golden-yellow skin and no hint of green. Ripe fruit should yield slightly to gentle pressure.
-Pears. Don't worry about skin color. Feel for firmness & avoid bruises or cuts.
-Pineapple. Plumpness. Smell for sweetness at the stem end. Should be slightly soft & have deep green leaves.
-Plums. Firm & plump. Each should give slightly when gently pressed.
-Pomegranate. Firm, shiny, bright red skin. No wrinkles. Larger is best.
-Watermelon. Hard, smooth surface and heavy for its size.

*A basic rule--Look for plumpness, crispness, & brightness in color. Veggies are heavy for their size (this indicates moisture).

-Asparagus. Firm, straight stalks with compact, closed tips. Avoid very thin or very thick asparagus.
-Broccoli. Firm stalks with deep green or purplish-green heads that are tightly packed. Light green or yellow heads are bad.
-Brussels Sprouts. Smaller and bright green are the sweetest. Large ones are more bitter.
-Cabbage. Head should feel heavy for its size and its leaves unwithered, brightly colored and free of brown spots.
-Carrots. Straight & rigid. Bright orange.
-Cauliflower. Solid heavy heads with bright green leaves. Avoid brown or yellow leaves.
-Celery. Crisp, firm and unblemished.
-Cucumbers. Firm and free of soft spots.
-Eggplant. Plump & glossy. Free of bruises and the cap should be fresh-looking & free of mold.
-Green beans. Bright in color & crisp. Avoid brown spots. Leathery-looking & bulgy ones are old.
-Leeks. Clean white ends and fresh, green-colored tops.
-Mushrooms. Firm, plump & free of bruises. Avoid slimy mushrooms.
-Onions. Dry bulbs that are free from blemishes & not sprouting.
-Peas & pea pods. Bright in color. No brown spots.
-Peppers. Bright in color. Good shape.
-Potatoes. Clean, smooth, and firm.
-Zucchini. Because of its tender skin, it is almost impossible to find one blemish-free, but look for ones that are small, free of cuts & soft spots.

Any I didn't mention? Let me know! I would be happy to look it up for you, but google is also a great source!

Most of this information came from my cookbook, "Better Homes and Gardens."

1 comment:

  1. Wish my grocery store produce looked like that! Missing a good true farmers market these days.