Buying fruit and vegetables to get the best produce and value for money is not just a matter of reaching for the nearest on the shelf. There’s a whole science to it. Next time you go shopping you better make some notes because there follows some great tips.
1. Pick by Weight
Instead of sifting through the fruits and picking out the most perfect looking ones, concentrate instead on the weight of them. The heavier the fruit is, the juicier it is going to be. The heavier the vegetable, the denser the pulp.
2. Smaller is Better
Always opt for the smaller fruits and vegetables on the shelves as they tend to be both sweeter and more savory respectively. Size doesn’t always mean better in the world of fresh food!
Don’t be afraid to smell fruit before putting in your basket. Ripe and ready fruits will always emit a strong smell. For best results, always smell from the bottom of the fruit.
4. Color Doesn’t Always Matter
The best fruits and vegetables aren’t always the ones that match the perfect examples we see in magazines and cookery books. For example, mangoes that are red aren’t any riper than green ones; they are just a different variety.
5. Pineapple Exception
The one key exception to the color rule is the pineapple. While greened-based pineapples are perfectly fine to eat, picking one with a yellow base will lead to a slightly better taste.
6. Root Tops
It is always better to get root vegetables that still have the tops attached to them, as it is an indicator that they are going to taste but fresher and sweeter than those whose tops have already been removed.
7. Stalks and Leaves
When comparing leafy and stalky vegetables, you want shiny, turgid looking leaves and a nice full and firm stalk as this indicates the health of the vegetable.
8. Potato Skin
A good way to tell that you are buying the freshest potatoes possible it that you will be able to start removing the skin just by applying some moderate pressure with a fingernail.
9. Sprouted Potatoes
Buying potatoes that have little sprouted parts is fine. It just means you are getting less for your money because you have to cut a section of the potato away before you cook it!
10. Coconut Shake
Pretend you are on a Carmen Miranda music video by dancing around the store shaking a coconut; the bigger sloshing sound you hear, the better the coconut is going to taste!
11. Firm Onions
Always choose onions that are firm to the touch and have little to no scent; these will be the crunchiest and longest lasting of the bunch.
12. White Spots on Pea Pods
When buying snap peas or snow peas, don’t take any notice of the white spots that you sometimes see on the pods. They are no indication that the vegetables are off or past their best.
13. Dark Broccoli
When buying broccoli, you want to go for the bunches that have the darkest heads and are the most tightly compacted.
The same goes with broccolini. The darker the better, but watch out for the bunches that have already flowered as that means they need to be eaten sooner rather than later.
15. Squeeze Tests
Fruits like oranges should feel heavy in your hand and have a little give when you apply pressure with your fingers. If they are hard and light, they won’t be very juicy.
16. Same for Avocados
Avocados are another fruit that do well with the squeeze test. Just like an orange, you should be looking for a gentle squishiness when applying pressure.
When it comes to picking the best artichokes, the ones you want to be buying will actually produce a pleasing squeaky sound when you give them a squeeze!
18. Watermelon Spot
You want to be looking for a watermelon that has a yellow color spot rather than a white one, as this means that is it perfectly ripe and ready to be enjoyed.
19. Golden Cantaloupe
In order to find the very best cantaloupe, you want to be looking for a golden tint hidden underneath the cool netting pattern that covers the fruit’s surface.
20. Buy in Season
Seasonal fruit and vegetable quite simply are better in their best season. They are also cheaper and there are less food miles involved.