• When Buying: The shells should be shiny, smooth, free of blemishes or holes and heavy for their size. Tip: Shake them, if you feel something moving inside then they are dry and not fresh.
• Store: The best method of keeping chestnuts fresh is by grabbing a plastic bag, poking holes in it and placing whole (with their shell unpeeled) for up to 3 weeks.
• Did You Know: Although chestnuts are a type of nut, they actually are more similar to sweet potatoes and have twice as much starch than a regular potato. They are also rich in fiber and minerals.
• When Buying: Look for plump, shiny, uncracked or dry looking skins. Fresh dates should not have any crystalized sugar on the surface and dried dates should not be hard. They may be found year around but are at their peak from August-December.
• Store: Place in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 months and in the refrigerator for up to a year.
• Did You Know: Dates grown on a type of palm tree that has been proven to have been cultivated for the last 8,000 years.
Oranges, Clementine, Grapefruits, lemons
• When Buying: Firm, shiny, and heavy for their size. Make sure when you squeeze them they give in a little, to firm can indicate that they are a bit dry inside.
• Store: Place in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
• Did You Know: The color of the peel (skin) of these citrus fruits only develop in cold climates; in tropical climates the peel stays green until the fruit is ripe.
• When Buying: Pick kiwis that give in slightly when you apply pressure. To speed up the ripening process, place kiwis in a bag with an apple at room temperature.
• Store: Once ripe, place them in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.
• Did You Know: Kiwi has twice as much Vitamin C than an orange and the same amount of potassium of a banana.
• When Buying: Choose the ones that have larger bulbs with a pearly white gloss and fluffy leaves. Note: Avoid fennel with split, shriveled, dry, or spotted bulbs, or those with the stalks cut off.
• Store: Place in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in a plastic bag, unwashed for up to 4 to 5 days.
• Did You Know: Powdered fennel is a natural fly repellent and is used in stables to keep them away.
• When Buying: Choose those that are small to medium size. They should be creamy white in color, smooth skins without any soft spots or shriveled ends.
• Store: Place unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
• Did You Know: Although you can find parsnips year around, they are best in the winter because they need very cold frosty climate which acts as a catalyst for it to turn it’s starch into sugar.
• When Buying: Choose one that is heavy for it’s size indicating its moist, firm with no soft spots, uniform in shape, and a bit of orange dabbling showing that it is ripe. Note: If it has lot’s of orange that it is a sign that it is overripe.
• Store: Keep the acorn squash whole in a dry cool area or peeled and cut in a container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
• Did You Know: They are an excellent source of dietary fiber and contains vitamin C, vitamin B6, magnesium and manganese plus a substantial amount of potassium.
• When Buying: Available year around but best in fall and winter. Look for: Brightly green colored leaves, white ends, firm, and smooth. Note: Make sure to look at the leaves. Yellowish or slimy leaves are an indication that they are not fresh.
• Store: Wrap in plastic wrap unwashed in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, depending on how fresh you bought them.
• Did You Know: The leek is celebrated in Wales on March 1st because it is said that they won the war against the Saxons by attaching leeks to their helmets to be able to identify each other.
• When Buying: Look for deep rich green color, fresh, plump, crisp leaves. Note: Avoid kale with yellow, flabby, brown or slimy leaves.
• Store: Place in a plastic bag unwashed in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 days.
• Did You Know: Kale once called the “poor man’s food” is now becoming a culinary delight. It is extremely nutritious; possesses, in one cup, twice the amount of vitamin A and C than is recommended by RDA Recommended Dietary Allowance, and is one of the few vegetables that actually increases its nutritional value when cooked.