HOW TO SELECT TOP QUALITY, FRESH PRODUCE
Most of us know the feeling of buying fruits or vegetables only to find out that they're either already spoiled on the inside or so under-ripe that they need to be left out for days (or weeks! Yikes) before eating. Thankfully it's easy to pick fresh produce, as long as you remember a few useful basic tips.
We've discussed how to sterilize jars for home canning in our recent post, and now it's time to select the best fruits and vegetables for our fruit jams. At Cosy Cookhouse, we do everything we can to ensure the produce we buy for our fruit spreads production is always fresh and of the best quality. That is why we invested a big deal of our time to source for only trusted and reliable wholesale produce sellers. Top quality fruits and vegetables, equals top quality fruit spreads.
Every fruit and vegetable has its own clues to its freshness, but you don't need to remember a complex long list of specifics in order to walk away with something ripe and tasty. If you're standing in the produce section trying to decide if something is safe to buy, the most important basic rule of thumb is to remember when inspecting produce is to use your senses. Ask yourself how the item smells, how it feels, and whether it looks appealing, or at least like the other items in the store. Read on to learn more.
Tips For Buying Fresh Fruits
As you browse the produce department for fresh fruit, there are a few key things to look for that remain consistent from fruit to fruit: firmness to the touch, vibrant colors, and a slightly sweet (though not overpowering) scent. While these are all standard indicators of ripeness, there are a few other factors to consider:
Apples, Pears, and Stone Fruit—Inspect the surface and avoid those that show bruising or dents, as these types of damage lead to quicker rotting.
Bananas—Ripe bananas are yellow with brown speckles—too much brown indicates the fruit being overripe. Green bananas are fine to purchase, as long as you don’t plan on eating them right away.
Berries—When shopping for blueberries, strawberries, or blackberries, open the carton and check for any signs of leaking or mold. Strawberries should still have the leafy cap attached and be free of any seedless spots.
Melons—Whole watermelons, cantaloupes, and honeydew should feel slightly heavier than they appear, indicating juiciness. Don’t be afraid if a small area of the skin has scarring—this simply means that was the resting place of the fruit when on the vine.
Citrus Fruits—Like melons, citrus fruits such as grapefruit, lemons, and oranges should feel heavier than they appear. The skin should be even in color and void of any excess streaking of yellow or white.
Pineapple—Whole pineapples should feel heavy for their size and have crisp leaves. Pineapples have one of the strongest aromas of all fruit—turn them over and give the bottom a whiff. It should smell fragrantly sweet.
Cherries—Cherries should be plump with a rich vibrant color, void of bruising or dents. Avoid buying any that are missing stems, unless you’ll be eating them right away.
What About Vegetables?
When shopping for vegetables, key factors are firmness and color. Choose those that are as firm or crisp as possible and consistent in coloring.
Unlike fruit, smell doesn’t play a big factor in a vegetable’s freshness, although anything that smells overly sweet or sour is likely passed its prime. As you browse your produce aisle, consider the following:
Bell Peppers—Bell peppers should be firm and void of any soft spots. No matter which color pepper you are purchasing, look for consistency along the entire surface and avoid any with split or broken stems.
Cauliflower and Broccoli—Color is a key indicator of the freshness of these vegetables. Broccoli should be a pale green and cauliflower should be an off-white, void of any yellowing or browning. The heads should be heavy and compact.
Corn—The husk of corn should be pale green and moist looking, free of any browning or drying. Whether purchased with or without the husk, the kernels should be plump and firm to the touch.
Root Vegetables—Carrots, beets, potatoes, and onions should be hard to the touch and free of any cracking or soft spots. If roots are still attached, they should be sturdy and crisp, void of any wilting.
Leafy Greens—Use your fingers to assess as many layers of the greens as possible. Both the leaves and stalk of kale, lettuce, and cabbage should be crisp, void of wilting or browning. Check for any tears in the leaves. While a few are expected to occur during delivery, avoid any with tears that are beginning to brown.
Transportation Home After Buying Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
While some light bruising during delivery or on your drive home is unavoidable, especially when you buy in large quantities, we at Cosy Cookhouse always put great care into ensuring the produce are carefully packed for safe transportation, with minimal damages, and as a friendly advice - we advice you to do the same. Take the time to ensure you get your produce home with delicate care. Not only will you enjoy the end result of your jam even more, you'll also minimize your cost of having to possibly throw away damaged fruits and vegetables that are no longer optimal for cooking and canning!
With these handy tips in hand on how to select fresh fruits and vegetables, we encourage you to use these tips during your next visit. We bet you’ll have no trouble choosing ripe fruits and fresh vegetables!
Now we'd love to hear from you. Which fruit or vegetable gives you the most challenging time to identify it's freshness? What are your favourite fruits and vegetables that you like to buy to use for jam making? Do share with us in the comments below.
Hope this helps, and we're so glad you're here. Thank you so much for reading 💚Do let us know how your produce selection process goes 😉
Enjoy your day!
Trish & Björn
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