Heading to the market this week? If you find yourself confused or at a loss for what to buy, try out this handy fruit and vegetable buying guide!
It’s during that time of the month when food runs really low and you need to head out to get some more. Fruits and vegetables remain a crucial part of my shopping list.
Selecting the best fruits and vegetables at the peak of freshness is important for you to get the greatest flavor and nutritional value.
Both provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber to keep our bodies healthy and in tip-top shape. It’s important to know when you’re buying foods that are of good quality, fresh and safe to consume.
There are times when fruits and vegetables can be susceptible to harmful bacteria and diseases which are known as pathogens.
Some examples of pathogens include Salmonella, Shigella, Listeria monocytogenes, gastrointestinal viruses, Entamoeba Histolytica, and Ascaris spp.
Eating food contaminated with these could make you ill and these are usually recognized with forms of fever, nausea, vomiting, headache, and diarrhea. After eating contaminated food these symptoms often emerge within 12 to 72 hours.
This fresh fruit and vegetable buying guide will direct you by conveying all the information you need to know about purchasing many common fruits and veggies.
Purchasing fruits and vegetables:
When roaming through the isles at a grocery store or market there are key signs to look for before adding some edibles to your basket. Examine the shape, color, texture, and smell of the items.
It can be tempting to stock up on your favorite fruits and vegetables, but only purchase quantities that will be consumed in a few days. Storing them for too long will result in waste due to spoilage.
Do not purchase produce that has bruises or signs that insects have damaged it. Some cuts may be really small, but that creates an entrance for pathogens. In that case, the crop will rot quickly.
Give the product a light squeeze and if it is ripe, then it should give a little under the pressure of your thumb. Apples are the only fruits that should remain as hard as a rock when you feel them.
Others such as pears, bananas, and avocados become softer as they ripen. Your sense of smell can also indicate that fruit is ready to be eaten.
Melons have a sweet smell while oranges and bananas develop a particular fragrance when they are almost overripe. Apples have a wide range of aromas though it leans toward a slight lemon yet earthy smell.
Fruit and vegetable buying guide:
Some vegetables and fruits are pre-packaged. Do not just grab a package and toss it into your basket or shopping cart. Make sure they are cool from the refrigerator or stacked on ice in the grocery store.
Also, check the dates on the pre-cut fruits to identify the freshness and eat them by dates. Sure, it would take more time to examine them but it’s worth it if you want the best.
Here are some tips on buying fruits and vegetables that will help you with savvy shopping, save money and steer clear of products contaminated with bacteria.
Fruits can be so tricky to buy. Making sure they are ripe and taste great can be so difficult.
Apples typically grow in abundance during the months of September to May. They contain antioxidants, dietary fiber, and vitamins. The fiber helps to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
When shopping ensure that the color is intact, and firm when touched. Avoid those with cuts and mere scrapes.
The peak season for apricots is in the months of June and July. They may seem small but they are big in nutrition and flavor.
Look for those that have a golden yellow color and are plump and firm. Avoid the ones that are a pale yellow or green, too soft or extra hard. There are others that may appear shriveled and wilted. Those should not be bought.
Avocados are used with everything from breakfast to lunch and dinner. This is perhaps because they’re grown all year long and can be used with so many ingredients.
Whenever you are shopping hold the avocado and squeeze gently as it should yield to the pressure. They are grown in several sizes and shapes.
The colors are usually black or green with a few brown markings on the skin, but that does not lower the quality.
Bananas are an elongated edible fruit that remains one of the most popular in the world. Do not purchase bananas that are not firm as that signals they’re either overripe. The softer the riper.
They should be yellow with a touch of green usually at the stem, and bruise-free. If it isn’t completely ripe then it will do so at room temperature.
Strawberries and blueberries are available from the months of June to August; cranberries from September to December.
They should be full-colored, plump and with a fresh appearance. Strawberries are the only type that should have a hull attached when they’re mature.
June through December are the best months for fresh grapes. They should be fairly soft and plump with green stems. Green grapes have a slight amber blush and darker grapes are free of a green tinge.
Just like avocados, kiwi should be soft when touched. They’re often called the Chinese gooseberry and can be found from June to August.
Many households use lemons quite often during the week. The yellow skin should be glossy and fairly firm.
It’s filled with vitamin C, fiber and helps with weight loss, reduces cancer risks and improves the digestive system.
Mangoes grow in a wide variety. They can be big or small, soft or hard with skin that is yellow, green or red.
If the skin is smooth and speckled with black dots it’s okay. You may tend to find the most mangoes from April to August.
November to June of the following year is the peak season for oranges. They should feel a bit heavy to match their size, firm and the skin must not be too rough.
Pineapple has a lovely aroma and the ones that are cut have a golden yellow color. It is ripe if the leaves can easily be removed
Watermelons can be found in abundance from May to August. It’s important that the watermelon have an asymmetric shape and a dull surface with creamy yellow field spots along the belly.
Vegetables can be easier to buy, but there are so many options. Plus, which ones are in season and therefore taste the best?
The peak season for artichoke is March to May. Look for the ones that look and feel heavy and compact, with plum globes. There should be large fleshy leave scales and tightly closed.
While shopping what you should look for are tightly closed buds. The stalks should be straight, tender and with a rich green color.
If the tips are open and V-shaped like pointy spears those are signs that it is over mature. The special months for asparagus are from March to June.
The season for broccoli is October to May. The top should resemble closed dark green florets. Pressing the stalks, they must be firm and tender. If the broccoli head has a yellowish look, it is too mature to be bought.
Bright orange carrots that are clean and firm are the best. They should be well-formed with no defects. Avoid purchasing those that are too green at the top, rough and cracked. They are grown by farmers and gardeners all year round.
The best months for cauliflower are from September to November. The leaves should be bright green and the head should be closely packed. They come in the colors, orange, white, green and purple.
Cucumbers are an all-time favorite but they are mainly produced from May to August. The fresh ones have bright and shiny green skin and are in great shape.
Eggplant also called aubergine should be bought when firm, slightly heavy and smooth. The best ones have a dark purple color and are completely cut and bruise-free. Their peak season is around August to September.
Lettuce is used to make plenty of salads all year so examine them to ensure the leaves are fresh and not wilted. The average size and weight should be medium.
Onions that are truly fit feel hard and have small necks. The outer layer has brown paper skin and it is completely free of roots and green spots.
Peppers and potatoes
These two are grown all year round. They should be fairly shaped and firm. The exterior of the peppers must have a bright glossy look. Potatoes need to be blemish-free with no sprouting or green-tinged.
These squash grow in the summer months from June to August. Look for those that have a bright color and smooth glossy skin. Weigh in with your hands to see if they’re a bit heavy for their size and firm.
Tomatoes grow all year but during May, June, July, and August they are plentiful and delicious. Purchase the tomatoes that have no blemish. Fresh tomatoes are a bit firm with light softness and completely red.
I hope this guide will be useful for your next grocery run. As we know, fresh fruits and vegetables make the best meals!
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- Best Foods For Heart Health
- Best Foods For Stress Relief
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