Learn the tips and tricks to picking out the best fresh produce at the farmers market, as well as storage and handling tips from our friends at www.picktnproducts.org.
- Buy sweet corn early in the morning. Sugar converts to starch as freshly picked corn sits unrefrigerated. The sweetest corn should be purchased early and promptly refrigerated.
- Store tomatoes stem end up, as it grows on the vine. Tomatoes continue to ripen after picking, so don’t worry about green at the top, and never store tomatoes in the refrigerator, as they will quickly lose flavor.
- Your nose knows the best cantaloupe. Sniff the stem end – it should have a distinctive melon aroma.
- Check the bottom of the container when buying blackberries or raspberries. It shouldn’t be stained or moist. Berries don’t ripen after picking, so look for ones that are full and plump and don’t wash berries until you’re ready to use them.
- Cucumbers should be completely green on the outer skin. They begin to turn yellow as they age.
- Eggplant should be shiny and heavy for the size. Pass on wrinkled ones.
- Peaches, apricots and nectarines will continue to ripen after picking. Buy them at various stages of ripeness so you don’t have to quickly use all of them at once.
- Strawberries do not continue to ripen after harvest, so choose ones that are completely red all the way to the cap.
- Okra should be no longer than 5 inches to taste best. Long, large okra will be tough, so go small. Never wash the veggie until you’re ready to use it, or it will become shiny.
- Winter squash varieties keep well if stored in a cool, dry place. Look for ones with no cuts in the skin or soft spots.