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How To Pick The Best Fruits and Vegetables

Filling your kitchen with fresh fruits and vegetables is one way to encourage your family to eat healthier. Watching the kids reach for apples instead of potato chips as a snack would make most mothers happy. Sometimes dealing with produce can be a pain. Fruit goes bad only a few days after you bought it, while other produce takes awhile to ripen. It can be frustrating to waste money on produce that goes straight from your cupboard to the trash can.

If picking out ripe, fresh produce at the grocery store feels like a tall task, worry no more. It takes just a few extra seconds to choose pieces of fruit or bags of vegetables that are perfectly ready to eat. Head to the produce section, and test these techniques.

The Sniff Test
Fresh produce should have a neutral or sweet fragrance. Place the stem end of a cantaloupe or nectarine near your nose. Does it have a refreshing scent? Buy it. If you notice a musty, moldy, or sour scent, leave it be. Sometimes produce can appear fresh and delicious on the outside while rot hides on the inside. The sniff test can quickly rule out spoiled produce.

Take a Closer Look
Examine each piece of produce for blemishes. You’ll save money when you are able to use an entire apple or tomato instead of slicing away wormholes and soft spots. Some light bruising or speckles are natural, but don’t buy produce if you see large discolored areas or unusable areas.

Just Squeeze It
While taking a closer look, give the produce a gentle squeeze. Ripe fruits and vegetables should have a little give. If an avocado or peach feels hard like a stone, then it’s not ripe enough to enjoy immediately. On the other hand, if a banana or bell pepper dents easily, the produce is past its prime. Don’t waste money on produce that’s not ready for your family now. You may find that you need to stop at the grocery store more frequently because fresh produce perishes within a few days. Get into the habit of properly storing and freezing fresh produce that you won’t use soon.

Choose Convenience
Sometimes choosing washed, cleaned, chopped, and packaged fruits and vegetables makes the most sense. These convenience foods may cost a little more up front, but buying them may save you money when compared to throwing away an entire watermelon because the inside wasn’t ripe. Look for vegetables to use on the grill, tropical fruits, fruit salad mixes or ingredients for stir-fry recipes presented in convenience packaging in the produce section.

Once you get comfortable choosing fresh produce, you’ll stop wasting money on hard, underripe fruits and mushy vegetables. Always remember to sniff, examine, and squeeze produce before placing it in your shopping cart.

Visit the Wayfield Foods free shopping list organizer and start planning meals with your health in mind.

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