Do you know how to choose a good artichoke? What about cucumbers? Browsing the fruit and vegetable section can be confusing. The basic guiding principle is to look for fruits and vegetables that are brightly coloured, unwithered and without any obvious bruises, but there are a few more things you should know to make sure you’re getting the best produce. Here’s a simple guide to get your started on choosing the freshest, tastiest fruit and vegetables…
Apples. Look for firm apples with no bruises or obvious blemishes. For red apples, avoid ones with patches of green colouring, as those parts are usually not as tasty.
Artichokes. A good artichoke will be deep green in colour, feel heavy in your hand and squeak when pinched. Look for artichokes with tightly closed leaves. A brown or purple colouring near the base of the leaves means the artichoke will taste sweeter.
Asparagus. Look for bright green spears that have tight, purple-tinged buds. Avoid stalks with woody pores at the end.
Avocados. Choose firm avocados with a waxy surface (rather than shiny) and no sunken patches. A good test is to shake it- avoid ones that rattle, as it means the pit has pulled away from the flesh.
Bananas. A good banana shouldn’t have any soft spots or bruises. Green bananas will eventually ripen if left at room temperature.
Broccoli. Choose rigid stems and right floret clusters that are deep green or have a slight purple tinge. Skip any with yellowing heads, as they will taste bitter.
Cabbage. The head should be solid, firm and heavy to hold.
Capsicum. A good capscium will be brightly coloured with a vivid green stem. It should be fairly heavy when you hold it. Avoid ones with wrinkles- that’s a sign of age.
Carrots. Choose medium-sized carrots without any shrivelled ends or lots of hair. Avoid thicker carrots, as they tend to have tough centres.
Cucumbers. The best cucumbers are firm, medium-sized and slender. Yellow colouring on the skin is a sign of over-ripeness.
Eggplant. Heavier eggplants will have more seeds. Look for one with shiny skin and a green cap to make sure it’s fresh.
Grapes. Good grapes are plump, wrinkle-free and firmly attached to the stems. If there’s a soft silvery white powder on the surface, it means they will stay fresher for longer.
Green beans. The best beans have smooth, bright surfaces. They should be thin and velvety and snap when bended gently.
Lemons. Choose lemons that are heavy and with a smooth surface.
Mushrooms. Select fresh mushrooms that are free of bruises and blemishes. Wrinkles or a slimy appearance is a sign of age.
Oranges. The heavier it feels, the juicier it will be. Pick oranges with thin, smooth skins.
Peaches. Peaches should have a yellow or warm cream base colour, without any green on them. Skip any that feel mushy- they should respond to a slight pressure, but not feel too soft and lumpy.
Pears. Choose pears with a slight softness at the stem end and a pleasant smell. A little brown colouration doesn’t matter.
Pineapples. Look for one with a sweet smell at the stem end and a bit of softness (but avoid ones that feel spongy). It should also have vibrant green leaves.
Potatoes. You should look for firm potatos with no bruises or cracks.
Spinach. Fresh spinach will be dark green and have no signs of sliminess, wilting or yellowing.
Tomatoes. Pick ones that are bright red and heavy. The best tomatoes are slightly soft, but not mushy. Choose ones with no wrinkles, cracks, bruises or sunken patches.
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