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.