Selecting Holiday Fruits and Veggies
Use Your Senses
Buy vegetables and fruits that are uniform in color. Avoid buying produce with bruises or discolored areas. Thumping or shaking produce will not indicate ripeness. Instead, experts suggest feeling the product. Avoid produce that is mushy, has soft spots, or has abnormal shriveled areas.
Smell it to be sure there is no sign of mildew or mold. Sniff fruits to determine freshness. A strong scent means the fruit is ripening nicely.
The deeper the color, the more nutritious your vegetable or fruit is. For instance, darker, leafy vegetables, such as spinach, have more nutritional value than iceberg lettuce.
Get the Grade
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has established grade standards for most fresh fruits and vegetables. Not all produce is graded, however. "U.S. Fancy" is the top grade, while "U.S. No.1" is the most common designation. "U.S. No.2" and "U.S. No.3" both mean lower quality.
A good tip for finding great-tasting produce is to buy it when it is in season. Although it depends what region you live in, winter produce usually includes:
- collard greens
- citrus fruits
- sweet potatoes
- winter squash
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