Don’t we all just love to shop? Shopping for vegetables, though an often mundane task, is one of the most important purchases one can make.
Packed with nutritional goodness, veges are key in providing a healthy diet to your family but identifying which vegetable is safe and of good quality can be a bit ‘dicey’ even for the most seasoned shopper!. Quality vegetables are the star ingredients in the kitchen and ensure an equally magical meal once prepared. Every vegetable has its own clues to its goodness so as long as you remember these basic tips, choosing the tastiest and best vegetables will no longer put you in a pickle but will ensure time and money well spent at the market.
Choose firm and smooth carrots with a good orange colour with fresh green leaves attached. Smaller in size means they are more tender and sweet.
Beans (Green, butter and flat beans)
Look for crisp and bright coloured ones that snap easily went bent. Avoid ones with brownish blemishes.
Smaller pumpkins are ideal for cooking as they are sweeter. Fresh ones are shiny and the shell gets dull as it gets older. Avoid ones with blemished skin.
Eggplants should be heavy despite their small size and must be firm to the touch. Ones with dark brown spots should be avoided. When fresh, they are light purple and darken as they ripen.
Choose beets that are hard and firm to the touch. If it’s soft, it is too old. Avoid beets with yellow and wilted leaves. Like carrots, smaller in size, mean they are usually sweeter.
Cabbages (Green & Red)
Choose a firm one that feels compact and heavy with brightly coloured outer leaves and no blemishes. Leeks: Choose leeks with dark green leaves and white necks.Ones with wilted leaves and stems with cracks or bruising should be avoided.
Choose firm, smooth potatoes without cuts, bruises, green patches or sprouts.
Avoid tomatoes with wrinkled and damaged skins. Ideally buy and use ripe ones for immediate use and select slightly under-ripe ones for later.
Select broccoli with dark green heads and crisp green leaves. Avoid ones turning yellow or ones with flowering florets.
Avoid yellowed, spotted, or flowering florets and select heads with creamy white florets. Check the colour and freshness of leaves that are close to the heads.
Opt for cucumbers that are uniformly green and not turning yellow. Avoid ones with blemishes and soft spots.
Harmful bacteria can contaminate vegetables when being produced(through soil and water) or even whilst in storage and transport so use your senses and select produce that smells, looks and feels fresh, without any discolouration or bruising as damaged skin causes faster deterioration.
Also avoid anything that has sprouted when in reality it shouldn’t; such as potato, sweet potato, onion, garlic and ginger etc.
Our wish this Aluth Avurudha is that your baskets are always filled with the best quality vegetables money can buy! Happy shopping and joyful cooking!