Shopping for Fruits and Vegetables

By rbergman Latest Reply 2009-02-23 22:21:15 -0600
Started 2009-02-23 07:54:49 -0600

The healthiest fruits and vegetables are picked fresh. The longer they are stored, the more nutritional value (and taste) they lose. Frozen fruits and vegetables are almost as tasty and nutritious as fresh-picked ones, and they may be even better than fresh produce that was picked unripe and then stored for weeks. Select a variety of fruits and vegetables, concentrating on the most deeply colored ones because they contain substances that have healthful effects. Have a spinach salad instead of iceberg lettuce, for example. Eat sweet potatoes or yams instead of white-fleshed potatoes.

In addition, choose fruits and vegetables that are in season (strawberries in the spring, zucchini in late summer). They are more likely than out-of-season produce to have been grown locally (or at least domestically) and not stored for long periods. It's also worth considering organic produce because it has lower levels of pesticide residues than other produce.

You can tell a lot about the condition of fruits and vegetables by looking at them and feeling them. Greens should not be wilted. Carrots should be crisp, not limp. Peaches, nectarines, and cantaloupes should be slightly soft, but not mushy. Brown spots on fruits and vegetables are signs of spoiling. On the other hand, produce that is too perfect-looking is not always desirable. Shiny, flawless skin on apples, peppers, and cucumbers is a sign that they have been coated in a pesticide wax. Although the wax can be washed off with soap and water, you're better off avoiding it entirely.

7 replies

2009-02-23 11:39:23 -0600 Report

Living in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin, I have to plan my meals according to what's available. In summer and fall, there is everything here at the Farmers Market but in winter and early spring, I need to rely on frozen fruits and vegies a lot. We have a great product department at my store but obviously at this time of year it's not local. I fully support buy local but when you live in a northern state it's difficult to support that all year. :(

I try not to think of it as a diet either, it's just the way I eat. Whole foods, organic if I can get it, and make my own food. I need to learn how to can so I can have the freshness of the produce from summer and fall. That's my next goal for this year!!!


rbergman 2009-02-23 22:21:15 -0600 Report

Canning isn't all that hard, of course I grew up doing it and so did Dean so its like second nature to us, but I'm sure you'll figure it out Judy, we do tomatoes (whole, juice, spaghetti sauce, salsa), we blanch and freeze corn, both on the cob and cut off, green beans, lima's, peppers of all kinds, steamed and frozen, there is so much you can do with fresh veggies to preserve them for the winter months, its just time consuming, but come winter it's all worth it to grab a jar or bag of something you grew yourself (or bought from a farmer's market) instead of hitting the frozen veggie isle at the store.

MeiMei 2009-02-23 08:54:36 -0600 Report

I was just about to say, buy locally and support your local farmer, either at farmers markets or at the locally grown area of your market. Chances are they will be less expensive anyway as well as fresher and more nutritious.

sparkysmom 2009-02-23 09:13:53 -0600 Report

I know if you make friends with the roadside stand owners sometimes they will email and let you know what the freshest stuff is for the upcoming days.

sparkysmom 2009-02-23 08:45:35 -0600 Report

I (in season) buy my fruits and veggies from the farmers market or a couple roadside stands around here.

Debe Pendice
Debe Pendice 2009-02-23 08:16:21 -0600 Report

I think this is a good discussion to bring up. My family has gardened and canned our entire lives. I used to think what a waste, why are we doing this. Well bless my dads soul. Everything he has taught me I am using today. I also live in amish county, so talk about fresh, we got it. I am getting into alot of fresh fruits and vegetables now these days. When I was on dialysis, it was frown on eating fresh stuff, but now off I am doing more. I am also starting to add alot of recipes that include fruits & vegetables. I have started eating healthy. I don't want to think of it as dieting but a new lifestyle of eating. Thanks again for the post…Debe