Wed. May 29th, 2024
Fruits and vegetables are sources of healthy vitamins and minerals, and therefore these products must be in the basket of every buyer.

Fruits and vegetables are sources of healthy vitamins and minerals, and therefore these products must be in the basket of every buyer. But how to choose them correctly? Is it necessary to buy seasonal products or does the time of year not matter? What kind of fruit is better – soft or hard? How do you know when a vegetable is ripe? The answers to these and other questions can be found in this article.

How to choose vegetables

  • Be sure to pay attention to the appearance, smell, color and density.
  • The flawless appearance of the fruit should be alarming. For example, glossy skin indicates that the vegetable is likely to have been treated with wax for safe transportation and increased shelf life.
  • Ripe vegetables must have a pleasant, characteristic smell of a particular species. If there is no such odor, the vegetable is not yet ripe.
  • Do not buy spoiled vegetables, even if the seller offers a great discount. Slightly rotten or moldy fruit carries a lot more harm than good.
  • It is better to give preference to seasonal vegetables. Of course, long gone are the days when it was impossible to buy vegetables in winter. Now cucumbers, tomatoes, and radishes are on the shelves almost all year round, and people willingly buy them. But the “winter” crop is not just unpalatable, it can also be not very healthy. For example, early greenhouse radishes and greens usually contain a lot of nitrates.

A side note

Many people have heard that nitrates are bad for health. Strictly speaking, the danger is nitrites, which are converted into nitrates after they enter the body. They negatively affect the gastrointestinal tract, and according to some reports, even increase the risk of cancer.

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Numerous studies confirm the benefits of seasonal products. Such vegetables mature without the use of special fertilizers, often in the open field, they retain their natural and rich aroma and taste. In addition, seasonal vegetables come to the shelves from nearby regions, and there is no need to increase their shelf life by treating them with special synthetic wax. Unfortunately, at the end of the season the quality of vegetable products drops, but some products (bananas, garlic, onions) have year-round seasonality, which allows you to enjoy their taste and quality in any season. And large chains can offer customers seasonal fruits and vegetables from other countries through their own import channels.

Here are some simple tips on what to look for when choosing the most popular vegetables.

Carrots

It should be medium sized, firm and smooth, orange in color with no sprouts, green or dark spots. A white or gray scurf on carrots is an alarming sign.

Cucumbers

If you buy cucumbers out of season, be prepared that the vegetables have almost certainly been treated with paraffin. Therefore, pay attention to the skin: it must be removed before using. It is better not to buy soft cucumbers: they are already stale, they have no taste or smell. Fresh cucumber has a thin skin and small thorns, which can be easily removed.

Tomatoes

Quality tomatoes have thin elastic skin and tender flesh. “Plastic” looking fruits do not have the best taste qualities, they were grown in a greenhouse. If the tomato is too soft, it is probably overripe. The quality of a tomato can be determined by the stalk: a fresh fruit has a green and elastic stalk, but its presence alone does not mean that the tomatoes are good.

Cabbage

The cabbage should be dense (if it is not an early cabbage), with thin leaves and even color. Dark spots on the cabbage indicate fungus, which usually affects cabbage grown on pesticides. Wilted and rotten leaves, as well as spots on the cabbage, indicate that the cabbage has been stored for a long time. When selecting cabbage, it is worth removing the top two or three leaves; if the inside of the cabbage is of even bright color, it can be taken.

Special Note

World Health Organization nutrition experts recommend eating up to 400 grams of fruits and vegetables daily

Potatoes

Very good at absorbing all harmful substances. When choosing, you should pay attention to the color of the tuber: it should not be greenish. Such color potatoes get when stored in the light – then they produce the organic poison solanine. New sanitary rules prohibit the sale of potatoes with a greenish color, but you should still be careful.

Artichoke

The inflorescence of this exotic vegetable should be firm and dense, without cracks, and the leaves should not be open. When you press the artichoke with your fingers, the inflorescence should make a sound – a characteristic creaking sound. Fresh fruit has only green color, but spots and dry leaves on the surface indicate overripe.

Celery

A very popular vegetable among supporters of a healthy lifestyle. But only fresh celery is useful, with dense and firm stems, firm bright green leaves, and no brown or yellow spots. Attempts to separate one stalk from another should be accompanied by a characteristic crunch.

How to Choose Fruit

In general, the basic rules for choosing high-quality vegetables also apply to fruit. For example, if we talk about seasonality, it is obvious that raspberries that are ripe in time are many times tastier and more fragrant than berries bought in early spring. And everyone has long known that it is better to buy watermelons or peaches not earlier than August, and strawberries or cherries – in June. In September comes the season of grapes, plums and apples, and in December the best citrus fruits, pomegranates and persimmons traditionally appear – this is the time when they are ripe in their homeland.

And yet which fruits are better to buy?

Apples

You can buy them at any time of the year, but you have to be very careful when choosing. Apples are often treated with diphenyl to increase their shelf life and to give them a marketable appearance. You can tell a treated apple by its peel: it becomes slippery and sticky. In this case you should wash the fruit thoroughly with soap and water, or you can cut the skins off.

Pears

It is better to choose fruits without dark spots and damage on the skin. Ripe pears are usually soft and very fragrant.

Grapes

Ripe grapes come off the branches very easily. Make sure you look closely at the bunch. There should be no white stains or damage to the grapes.

Peaches

Good peaches – soft when pressed, but without damage and “crumpled” sides, have a rich smell. Early fruits can be very pretty looking, but they are always hard and have almost no flavor.

Bananas

Ideally have a bright uniform yellow color and a distinct but not too strong smell, otherwise it indicates that the banana is already overripe. Dark spots on the rind are also a sign of overripe fruit. A greenish color usually indicates bananas are not yet ripe, but sometimes it is worth buying them, for example, if you plan to store the fruit for a couple of days. Bananas with stalks that have been torn off should be avoided, as they rot quickly.

Mango

A ripe mango has a characteristic aroma, a smooth shiny skin, and the ripeness is indicated by dark speckles on the skin. The color of the rind depends on the variety of mango, but in any case it should be bright and saturated. Pressing on the skin of a ripe mango leaves a slight dent. If the fruit is too soft or the rind tears when pressed, it indicates the mango is overripe. A flabby rind is also a sign of overripe fruit. But a fruit that is too hard or odorless is probably unripe and not worth buying.

Fruits and vegetables must be part of everyone’s diet. But to buy really healthy, tasty and fresh products, you need to go to the “right” place.

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