Tips on Choosing Fresh Produce 

Fresh produce is not only delicious when used in complex dishes, but also has a host of great health benefits. Some of these include having greater antioxidant content, more nutrients, and providing more vitamins in each serving. That’s why it’s important to purchase fresh produce each time you go to the supermarket. Not only does this save money but also provide healthy food each time. However, most people aren’t sure how to check the freshness of produce when scouring through heaps of fruits and vegetables at the supermarket, even though each type of produce has its own clues to whether or not they are fresh.

Needless to say, when inspecting produce, you have to utilize all your senses to determine whether a fruit or vegetable is worth purchasing. The following are a few key signs to look for before handing over your money.

Checking Fruits Though it may be tempting to start squeezing each fruit you see to determine their freshness, there is a much more efficient and quick way to determine if the fruit is fresh or damaged. This can normally be done by simply looking at and feeling the surface of the fruit; fresh fruit will often have a smooth and even looking skin. Tom Bukovac from Wichita Tree (whom we interviewed for this article) had this to say, “On the other hand, fruit that has been damaged or is rotting will often appear bumpy or uneven.”

Though it may be tempting to start squeezing each fruit you see to determine their freshness, there is a much more efficient and quick way to determine if the fruit is fresh or damaged. This can normally be done by simply looking at and feeling the surface of the fruit; fresh fruit will often have a smooth and even looking skin. On the other hand, fruit that has been damaged or is rotting will often appear bumpy or uneven.

Smelling the aroma from a fruit also gives a huge indication as to whether or not the fruit is ripe. Rotten fruit or fruit that is not yet ripe will often have an overbearing or very strong scent.

Fruits with excessive discoloration or pigmented spots are also often indicative of a fruit that has lost its freshness.

Checking Vegetables

Like fruits, many of the scents and surface-level appearances will give you a huge clue as to the freshness of your vegetables. Vegetables that are fresh will have an even, smooth surface that has a firm texture. Rotten or not fresh vegetables will have a softer texture or uneven coloration on the surface; do note, however, that vegetables may appear firm in certain areas while having spots that are softer to the touch. These softer areas often indicate places where the vegetable is slowly rotting so it’s important to feel the entirety of the vegetable.

For vegetables that are leafier, a minimal number of leaves should have a brown coloration. If you notice that an overwhelming majority of the leaves are brown, then it is best to stay away from it.  Also, leafy vegetables should have a firm snap when bent; if there is no snap present, then the vegetable is most likely not fresh.

Anything Else?

Fruits and vegetables can be quite expensive at times, so ensuring that you are purchasing fresh, delicious produce each time is essential. When looking for freshness, it is important to trust your senses, especially noticing the scent, color, and texture of your produce.

 

Why A Raspberry a Day Is Good For you 

We’ve all heard of the saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But we don’t all have a sweet tooth for apples, and quite frankly, there are numerous other fruits that can provide the same health benefits in a smaller package. Raspberries are a perfect example of a super fruit that is both delicious and highly adaptable for almost any dish; as well as offering great health benefits. If you’re not sure how great these fruits truly are, the following is a brief run down of what exactly raspberries have to offer.

Can Help Battle Obesity 

Though the research is in its initial stages, researchers have been finding evidence that certain chemicals and nutrients in raspberries can actually help decrease the amount of fatty buildup within the body. Raspberries are able to do this by helping to promote beneficial enzyme activity and helping to maximize the amount of oxygen used in the body. Through these effects, people are also less likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

On top of this, raspberries can help promote lower blood sugar levels, therefore also decreasing the risk of diabetes and hypertension. Though more research is required, the results so far seem rather promising!

Can Reduce the Risk of Cancer

Raspberries are chock full of antioxidants and nutrients that have been found to combat tumor cells. These antioxidant properties were found to be much more prominent in organic raspberries, however, so it is essential to buy organic fruits if you want to lower your risk of cancer as much as possible. By helping to promote the expression of “good genes” in our DNA, tumor cells are less likely to form or are killed if they do form. Raspberries also help reduce inflammation that could normally promote cancer progression.

However, do note that when purchasing raspberries, to get the most out of their antioxidant properties it is essential to eat them at the peak of their ripeness.

 

Helps Prevent Sickness

The high abundance of antioxidants not only promote a cancer free life, but also help boost your immune system and prepares it for any viral and bacterial infections.

 

Improves Memory 

Eating raspberries have been shown to prevent brain damage and even promote nerve regeneration in small amounts. As such, older individual who eats raspberries daily have seen greater cognitive abilities and fewer chances of getting mental disorders that are linked with aging.

Anything Else?

More research is obviously needed to determine the effects of raspberries on the body, but from the initial stages of research, it seems as though raspberries are a perfect, holistic type of fruit. On top of keeping your heart strong and preventing cancer formation, raspberries have also been found to promote reproductive health and preserve vision for a longer time. In short, taking a few raspberries every day will definitely help you live a longer and healthier life.

More research is obviously needed to determine the effects of raspberries on the body, but from the initial stages of research, it seems as though raspberries are a perfect, holistic type of fruit. On top of keeping your heart strong and preventing cancer formation, raspberries have also been found to promote reproductive health and preserve vision for a longer time. In short, taking a few raspberries every day will definitely help you live a longer and healthier life.

More research is obviously needed to determine the effects of raspberries on the body, but from the initial stages of research, it seems as though raspberries are a perfect, holistic type of fruit. On top of keeping your heart strong and preventing cancer formation, raspberries have also been found to promote reproductive health and preserve vision for a longer time. In short, taking a few raspberries every day will definitely help you live a longer and healthier life.

Tips on Purchasing Seasonal Produce

It’s no surprise that fruits and vegetables that are in season in you area are packed with nutrients and are overall much more delicious than their non-seasonal counterparts. But what are you to do if you absolutely love including mangoes in all of your culinary creations, but they simply aren’t in season at the time? Or maybe you’re a fan of celery root, but your local farmer’s markets aren’t selling them at the time. The following are therefore a few tips for people trying to stick to season produce.

Shop at Farmers Markets or at Co-ops

No matter where you live, it is most likely that there is a farmer’s market going on every other week. These markets sell fresh, in-season produce that has been grown and harvested by local farmers. Other than just being fresh and in season, you can be more confident regarding how the food has been treated and where it is coming from.

Co-ops are also a great way to get discounted produce by paying a yearly subscription fee. There are also other subscription based agricultural programs that deliver fresh, always in-season produce right to your doorstep for that bit of added convenience.

Try a Bit of Variation 

Each type of produce has its own specific season or the times when they are being grown. However, your favorite produce may not be in season at the time and therefore you won’t be able to find them at a local farmers’ market no matter how hard you try. In these situations, its best to explore different options and tastes. Purchasing in season produce that you’ve never tried before could help you expand your culinary borders and make you more familiar with a varied amount of flavors and tastes.

Having variation as the season’s pass is also great in terms of keeping your body strong and healthy; eating the same thing constantly is never good for you, and therefore going out of your way to try new produce could give you some of the vitamins and minerals you may be lacking.

Buy Seasonal Produce from Somewhere Else

If you absolutely require a fruit or vegetable that isn’t in the season, then there’s always the option of purchasing these foods from a non-local place. Many supermarkets provide non-locally grown produce, although these foods may be a bit more on the expensive side because of the shipping and maintenance required to bring them.

Anything Else

Buying seasonal foods is probably the best way to not only improve your diet but also help you be more creative in your culinary art. However, if you absolutely need that one fruit or vegetable that simply isn’t in the season, there are multiple ways to purchase them.