How to Choose the Best Fresh Vegetables

Fresh vegetables are key ingredients to make the best salad or side dish for a meal at your house. But, do you know how to choose them? What do celery, corn, and red beets look like when they are at their peak flavor?

In order to choose the best fresh vegetables, you’ll need to know what to look for, as well as what to feel for.

1. Celery
Celery is a versatile fresh vegetable that tastes great cooked or raw. I use raw celery in egg salad, and I cook it in my Swiss Steak recipe, just to name a couple examples. It’s also a best favorite of the kids, as long as it’s topped with peanut butter and raisins.

In order to choose the best fresh vegetables when it comes to celery, look for stalks that are light green. The stalks that are at their peak flavor should also be firm, and have no bruises or marks on them.

2. Potatoes
When you choose the best fresh vegetables, you can check the freshness of potatoes by smelling the bag. If they smell like rich soil, then they are at their peak flavor and are unspoiled. Avoid buying potatoes that are packaged in a plastic bag if you see moisture in the bag.

To choose potatoes that are loose, look for firm ones that are relatively smooth. The skins should be tan or reddish in color, but never green.

3. Red Beets
Fresh Red Beets win over canned beets at my house, hands down. I choose the best fresh vegetables by selecting firm Red Beets that are deep red in color. Check the tops. Avoid buying Red Beets that have scaly, hardened tops. If the greens are still attached, they shouldn’t be wilted much if they are at their peak flavor.

4. Tomatoes
There are several types of tomatoes, but the best fresh tomatoes are “vine ripened”, and are not grown in a hothouse. All tomatoes, whether they’re Big Boys, Italian, or Cherry Tomatoes, should be firm and bright red. In order to choose the best fresh vegetables, pick tomatoes that aren’t bruised. Smell the stem end; it should smell “earthy” when they are at their peak flavor.

5. Broccoli
Even though most people shun it,Broccoli is a great tasting vegetable when eaten raw or cooked. I love it in a Garden Salad, and I enjoy cooked Broccoli with cheese on a baked potato.

To choose the best fresh vegetables, look for stalks of Broccoli that are firm.
The floret tops should be a dark green color, and so should the leaves. The individual buds in the Broccoli florets should be closed.

6. Carrots
Carrots are another favorite at my house, whether they are cooked in a stew or munched on raw with vegetable dip. Choose the best fresh vegetables by picking carrots that are firm, and have round bodies. Their skins should be rather smooth and bright orange.

7. Sweet Corn
It’s easier to choose the best fresh sweet corn when it’s still in its husks. Husks that are dark green and pliable, not tan and dry, usually contain the best flavored sweet corn. The silk on each ear should be brown. The kernels of each ear should be fully developed and bright yellow and/or white in color. The kernels should also be plump and not dried out.

8. Cabbage
If you know how to choose the best fresh vegetables, then you’ll only buy heads of cabbage that are firm and compact. Avoid heads that have loose, wilted, or brown leaves. Look for leaves that are green in color. And for the best flavor, check the stem- it should be white, not cracked and dry.

9. Mushrooms
The best fresh mushrooms that are at their peak flavor are firm. To choose the best fresh vegetables, look for mushrooms that don’t have dark gills underneath the caps. The caps should be dry, and not slimy. And, the caps shouldn’t have dents in them too.

10. Asparagus
How to choose the best fresh vegetables when it comes to asparagus? Look for bright green, round spears that have compact tips on their ends. Avoid buying asparagus that is soft or discolored.

Asparagus stalks taste great with a thick, rich Hollandaise Sauce.

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