I can't tell you how many times I have been approached while buying produce from people who are clueless on how to buy it. Guess it looks like I know what I am doing. Ha! Lucky for them, I kind of do. For those of you new to clean eating, it can be rather daunting wondering when things are ripe, or whether to buy or organic or not. Listed below are my top hacks for buying produce.

  • Is it ripe? This needs to be broken down into sections.
    • Melons - Smell the ends. It should smell like you just want to bite right into it. But, be sure it doesn't have any soft spots around the outside, that's an indication it may be overripe.
    • Berries - Smell them. Again, you should want to devour them right there. If there is no odor, they are out of season and won't taste good. They should have good color to them as well.
    • Avocado - I don't buy Florida avocados so I can't speak for those, but all others should be turning brown or be brown. They should have 'give' to them - soft but not mushy. You can even flick the stem off and if it's green underneath, it's good to go. Feel free to buy the hard, green ones. Let them sit on your counter and they will be good to eat in 3-5 days. I like to buy a mix of ripe and unripe ones so that I have them throughout the week.
    • Tomatoes - They should have slight 'give'. Most stores carry signs not to squeeze the tomatoes, but how else are you supposed to know??! (Just don't SQUEEZE them, a light touch will do.)
    • Stone fruit (fruit with large pits - peach, nectarines, apricots, plums) These fruits should 'give' when you squeeze them. If they don't, they aren't ripe yet, but you can still take them home to ripen on your counter. If they feel mushy, they are overripe.
  • Should I buy organic? I prefer to buy organic and that's what it comes down to is preference. If I can't get organic, I buy local, if I can't get local, I buy what I can and wash the crap out of it. There is a significant taste difference between organic/local and the other stuff. If your kids don't like their fruits and veggies, try organic. You may be surprised. If it is out of your budget to buy everything organic, bring this list with you to the market. The "dirty" veggies are the ones loaded with pesticides and when given the opportunity, always buy these organic. Be sure to update your list each year.
  • How do I pick out squash and cabbage? All types of squash and cabbage should be relatively heavy. You will get a feel for them the more often you shop. There should be no rotten (brown and soft) spots on them.
  • How do I pick out corn? First of all, corn is a hotbed for GMOs, so buy organic when possible. Or, go to a local farmer and ask about their pesticide use. Buy corn that is completely covered and the top is closed up tight. The silk threads should be sticking out the top. Feel it for heaviness then throw it in your cart. (yes, even if it has those worm like things at the top) Whatever you do, don't shuck it in the store. Yes, you may end up with a bad stalk or two (always buy one or two more than you need), but you are guaranteed better freshness. Corn should not be shucked until right before use.

The rest of your produce should be self explanatory. Don't buy anything bruised (unless it's apples and you will be baking with them anyway). It should all be firm and look fresh (not wilted or withered). Feel free to buy items like carrots, beets, and radishes with the greens still attached. These are great to include in stock or smoothies. Buying in season in your area ensures the best freshness which equals best taste! Go here to find out what is in season in your area.

Are there any other questions I haven't addressed? Feel free to comment below and I will be happy to answer all your questions. Keep in mind that there is no perfect way to do anything, including picking out produce. Find what works for you and know that you are doing amazing things for your health.

Wishing you best health.

Melinda

Original post at www.eatwhatyouknow.wordpress.com

Published by Melinda Schmitt