Come on! It’s time to have fun in the sun… the last thing you want to worry about is how to pick and choose your fruits and vegetables.. I know! This article will make it a whole lot easier for you. Find out how to buy, store, and surprising facts about some of the fruits and vegetables that are in season this time of year.
When Buying: The skin should be smooth ,shiny, deep purple and it should have a green stem with leaves attached to the top. Note: The bigger they are (more than 1 1/2 pounds) the more bitter they get. This is a case for “Good things come in small packages”. Look Out For: dull skin is a sign of age meaning over-ripe and bitter.
Storing: Place in a plastic bag in the vegetable drawer for up to 5 days.
Did You Know? Eggplants aren’t vegetables! They are actually berries and are a distant cousin to the tomato! Eggplants are rich in folic acid, potassium and nicotine. NICOTINE? Yes, eggplants have the highest amount of nicotine in the fruit kingdom, however it takes 20 ( 9 kilos) of eggplant to make up the amount of 1 cigarette.
When Buying: Long, bright green, and firm leaves. Note: The larger the leaf the more “spicy” or “peppery” tasting they will be. Look Out For: Yellow edges, tears, crackling, holes. These are signs that they are old.
Storing: Place in the vegetable drawer. If they are in a packaged container you may leave it there, if loose place in plastic bags, if they have roots take a moist paper towel wrap the roots and place in a plastic bag for 2 to 3 days.
Did You Know? In Roman times arugula was used as an aphrodisiac. O ya, who knew that the peppery leaf also made you feel exactly that, peppery.
Nothing says summer like corn!
When Buying: If you decide to go the real gourmet way and buy want to buy them with the husks make sure that they have grassy green husks, the silk (thread like fibers it has) is glossy, pale yellow, and the stem is moist. If you can try to pull at he husks so that you can see the kernels (the yummy yellow part). If you can’t or the corn doesn’t have a husk, squeeze to feel for firm, evenly spaced kernels.
Storing: Place in refrigerator for up to 3 days with the husks on, and up to 2 days without. Honestly, try to eat as soon as you get the chance.
Did You Know? A guy once said to me “Wow, your momma must of gave you a lot of corn bread”… I then later found out that he was referring to latino curves… who knew people associated that with corn. Lol! Ok, ok but did you know that an average ear of corn has 16 rows, approximately 800 kernels, and for each kernel a matching strand of silk.
SUMMER SQUASH ( Yellow Squash and Zucchini)
When Buying: They should have bright colored and smooth skins, firm to the touch especially where they meet the stem. Note: Make sure to buy smaller than 8 inches. This is another case where Good things come in small packages. The larger they are the more bitter they get.
Storing: Place in vegetable drawer, unwashed, in a plastic bag for 3 to 5 days.
Did You Know? Summer squash have thinner skins and are softer to the bite than those found in the winter. Make sure not to strip away the skin because they hold all the vitamins (vitamin A, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and vitamin C).
When Buying: Shiny, bright, unblemished, tight skins and firm to the touch.
Look Out For: Wrinkled and dull skins indicate that they are old.
Storing: Place in vegetable drawer. Yellow and Red can be stored for 5 days and Green for up to a week.
Did You Know? A red pepper contains 3 times more vitamin C than an orange!
When Buying: Whole, green leaves, and aromatic smelling (meaning you can easily smell that it’s basil without putting it up your nose).Look Out For: Black spots, wilted leaves, moldy stems, and or dullness to the color. These are signs that it is old.
Storing: It’s Alive! Trim the stems just a tiny bit unless it has roots ( if so, don’t do anything to it). Grab a vase, empty jam jar, or empty condiment glass, and fill with water and place the stalks inside (just as you would if you they were flowers). You will be amazing how long they can last.
Did You Know? Basil is a potent antioxidant, antiviral, anti-microbial. According to Botanical.com ,“Though generally employed in cooking as a flavouring, Basil has been occasionally used for mild nervous disorders and for the alleviation of wandering rheumatic pains- the dried leaves, in the form of snuff, are said to be a cure for nervous headaches. An infusion of the green herb in boiling water is good for all obstructions of the internal organs, arrests vomiting and allays nausea.”
When Buying: Dark, bright green skins, firm to the touch, and heavy for it’s size. Look Out For: Wrinkled skins, spongy spots.
Storing: Place in refrigerator, preferably towards the front on the shelf, in a plastic bag for up to a week.
Did You Know? Try to buy cucumbers that are not waxy because the skins have loads of vitamins. Although they are 95% water they are really rich in Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc. Eating a few slices before you go to be after a night of drinking can prevent a horrible hangover! How so? They have enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients and rehydrate the body.
When Buying: Deep and bright in color and firm to the touch. If you get the chance smell them to make sure that they actually have a scent to them. The ones that don’t smell really will lack in flavor. Look Out For: Any smooshyness, wrinkles, and or spots.
Storing: Place in a plate outside of the refrigerator. They taste best at room temperature. Only place in refrigerator if you think you won’t be using them soon. They should last up to a week.
Did You Know? Tomatoes are loaded with Lycopene (an essential antioxidant that helps in the fight against cancerous cell formation). Lycopene also helps regulate your metabolism. Interesting enough most foods lose their nutrients as they are heated, whereas, in the tomato, the lycopene actually increases with heat!
PEACHES, PLUMS, NECTARINES
When Buying: Rich colored plums. Firm yet yield to pressure when ripe, fuzzy peaches. Firm smooth nectarines. Look Out For: Brown spots, wrinkles, or green coloring.
Storing: To ripen leave in room temperature. To store, place in refrigerator, unwashed in a plastic bag.
Did You Know? The peach and the nectarine are so similar that only 1 gene makes them different (the nectarine has a recessive gene… the one that makes peaches fuzzy). Fully ripened plums have the highest amount of antioxidants.
BLACKBERRIES, BLUEBERRIES, RASPBERRIES
When Buying: Shiny, not bruised blackberries. Dusty blue, firm, uniform size blueberries. Deep color, dry, plump, and firm raspberries. Look Out For: Leaky, moldy, blackberries and raspberries and wrinkles on blueberries. These are signs that they are old.
Storing: Refrigerate blackberries and blueberries, unwashed in a single row for up 3 days. Blueberries hold on their own better and can stay in their container in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can also freeze them for up to a year.
Did You Know? Now a days everyone is obsessed with blackberries, although sadly not the fruit. Blackberry, the fruit, is a huge antioxidant which prevents or aids aging! These berries are low in calories yet rich in vitamins.
This is a Summertime no brainer!
When Buying: Choose ones that are symmetrical in size, yellowish undersides, heavy for size. Trick that I go by: Knock on it, like you would a door. The deeper sounding the riper it is. I just pick up a few and choose the one that sounds the deepest.
Storing: Place outside of the refrigerator. Once you cut it place in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Did You Know? Watermelons are high in fiber and vitamins A & C and is a good source of potassium. They are anti-inflammatory and help alleviate people with asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and arthritis. By the way… watermelons are actually vegetables, not fruit!