to Pick Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
By Dr. Ben
you want your grocery dollars to consistently bring home the most
nutritious fruits and vegetables that your local market has to offer,
you have to know when different fruits and vegetables are in season
and what to look for in appearance and texture.
this article, the peak in-season range for different fruits and
vegetables is relevant to all of Canada, most of the upper half
of the United States, and pretty much all other countries that lie
within the same latitudinal range, give or take a few degrees.
possible, you want to choose fruits and vegetables that are in season
in your living region. Fruits and vegetables that are in season
and locally grown tend to have more nutrients and flavor than those
that are imported from far away places.
for firm apples that are free of bruises. For red-colored varieties,
look for apples that are mostly red. For yellow-colored apples,
look for apples that are mostly bright yellow. Red and yellow apples
that have several patches of green color are generally not as tasty
as bright red and yellow apples.
apples with care to prevent bruising.
are in season from October to about late April.
for straight, bright-green stalks with stiff tips. For optimal nutritional
value and flavor, steam asparagus instead of boiling it.
is in season from March to about June.
for bananas that do not have bruises or soft spots, especially along
the undersides of the bottom-most row. If left at room temperature,
bananas that are any shade of green should eventually ripen. Extra-ripe
bananas can be peeled and stored in a container in the freezer for
smoothies or banana ice cream (made with a champion
are imported year-round.
beets that are firm and attached to red stems and fresh green tops.
Loose beets without their tops are typically older than those that
are attached to their green tops.
are in season from about mid-June to mid-October.
fresh blueberries, look for firm berries. You really can't go wrong
with frozen wild blueberries, which are available year-round.
blueberries are in season from about mid-June to mid to late August.
for tightly budded heads that are dark green in color.
is in season from July to October.
for firm carrots with relatively smooth skin. Avoid thick carrots,
as they often have tough centers.
you buy fresh bunched carrots with green tops, remove the tops before
storing, as they can suck moisture and nutrients away from the roots.
are available year-round, but are best from July to September.
for firm, unblemished, and dark green cucumbers.
are in season from June to September.
eggplants that are heavy for their size and have smooth skin.
are in season from August to September.
Figs (not dried)
plump figs that seem heavy for their size. Be sure to pick ones
that smell nice; old figs tend to smell a tad sour.
figs are in season from about mid-May to mid-October.
for plump and firm bulbs that are completely surrounded by their
tissue-like covering. Avoid ones that have green sprouts.
is in season from August to October.
grapes that are firm; soft grapes or those that feel like little
water balloons tend to be too ripe. If possible, use a tissue to
wipe down a single grape for a taste test before choosing each cluster.
are in season from August to September. Imported grapes are available
avocados that have roughly-textured skin; those that are relatively
smooth skinned tend to have less flavor. Avocados are ready to eat
when their skins are dark and they give a little to slight pressure.
avocados are in season from February to October.
for melons that are free of bruises and areas of broken skin/rind.
Leave at room temperature until they give ever so slightly to heavy
pressure. Their skins may wrinkle slightly and they may give off
a mild melon fragrance when they are ripe.
melons are in season from August to October.
for leeks that have dark green leaves and white bulbs. Leaves that
have yellow and brown spots are usually overripe.
are in season from August to November.
for mushrooms that are free of bruises and other blemishes. Fresh
mushrooms are not wrinkled or slimy.
are in season from October to November.
looking for dry onions, choose those that are firm and have no soft
looking for green onions, choose those that have bright green leaves
and are not slimy.
onions are in season from September to December.
onions are in season from July to September.
eating out of hand, choose California navel oranges that are heavy
for their size and without obvious blemishes.
navel oranges are in season from about mid-November to late spring.
They are sweetest from about January to early March.
peaches that have smooth skin without bruises, and that give a bit
to pressure. Peaches that do not give to pressure can ripen, but
often do not get as soft and sweet as those that are already somewhat
ripe at the market.
are in season from July to September.
pears that have smooth skin and no bruises.
are in season from August to December.
firm potatoes that are free of bruises and cracks.
are in season from September to January.
raspberries that are bright red. Look carefully to be sure that
there are no signs of mould, the most common one being the presence
of white, cotton-like strands in and around the berries.
are in season from July to September.
red peppers that have thick, smooth skin.
peppers are in season from about May to September.
spinach that is dark green with no signs of yellowing, sliminess,
is in season from June to October.
strawberries that are plump, dark red, and without bruises. Fresh
berries carry a distinct strawberry fragrance.
are in season in June and early July.
tomatoes that are bright red, firm, and free of bruises. Like strawberries,
fresh tomatoes will carry their own distinct fragrance.
preparing tomato slices, slice them from top to bottom to prevent
unnecessary loss of natural juices.
tomatoes are in season from August to September.
for a watermelon that has a firm, dark green rind. A slight hollow
sound upon tapping with your knuckles is often a sign of a full
and juicy melon.
season for watermelons is from mid-May to late August.
for squash that have hard, smooth skin.
and butternut squash are in season from September to December.
yams that do not have any cracks or soft spots. Steaming is the
best cooking method to preserve the nutritional value of yams.
are in season from October to about March.
zucchini that have firm, dark green skin. Old zucchini are soft
are in season from July to September.
you haven't already done so, please read the latest
pesticide analysis of common fruits and vegetables so that you
can combine that information with this article to make the best
choices for you and your loved ones.
can use the print function just below this article to print this
article out for easy reference.
Some of the tips in this article are from a Canadian publication
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