How to pick vegetables and fruits? How must we store them? We’ll tell you all of this and more in this article.
Everywhere we look, the onus is on eating healthy. Eat your veggies, eat fruits when you feel like snacking and such. But there are a few things you ought to keep in mind with respect to fruits and vegetables.
It is important to have basic knowledge about their shelf-life, how to choose them and how to prepare them, especially while eating them raw by way of salads.
Remember that a variety of pesticides and chemicals are used while growing fruits and vegetables. It is important to minimise the entry of these harmful chemicals, while gaining maximum health benefits from them.
Tips for choosing fruits and vegetables
- What looks best is best – choose food that looks good and has no bruises or depressed areas. Avoid overripe fruits, as they won’t last too long.
- Know which fruits ripen after they are picked – bananas, apricots, plantains, peaches, pears, plums and tomatoes continue to ripen after they are picked. Fruits that should be bought ripe include apples, oranges, strawberries, watermelons, pineapple, grapes and cherries.
- Go organic – if your neighbourhood has a store which sells organic food, buy from there. It may cost a tad more than the regular supermarket, but it is well worth the price. Also, check to see if they are authentically organic. There are a few government, and industry approved names…
- When buying pre-cut food like a piece of pumpkin ensure that it is in the refrigerated section or surrounded by ice.
- Keep meat, poultry and seafood in separate bags from fruits and vegetables while taking them home.
- Always check the `USE BY’ or `BEST BEFORE’ date on packaged foods before buying. It is a health risk to consume foods past their expiry date.
- Avoid buying sprouts from the market, as they grow in moist conditions which may promote the growth of bacteria like Eschericia coli, Listeria and salmonella.
Tips for storing fruits and vegetables
- Store fruits and vegetables in separate compartments. Fruits give off ethylene gas, which tends to shorten the life of vegetables. Bananas are temperature sensitive and should not be stored in the fridge.
- If radishes have the leafy tops attached, remove them before storing in the fridge.
- Store fruits and vegetables in perforated storage bags. This helps retain moisture as well as allows airflow. If un-perforated bags are used they encourage the growth of fungus and bacteria.
- Uncooked meat, poultry and seafood should be kept away from fruits and vegetables.
- Keep all perishable foods like mushrooms at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Use a refrigerator thermometer to get the temperature right.
Photograph via sxc.hu
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