How to Shop for Vegetables: Ways to Identify Fresh Produce

When you think of fresh vegetable suppliers, you probably picture rows and rows of fruits and veggies at your local farmer’s market. Farmer’s markets are great because they allow you to connect with local farmers directly and buy your produce straight from the source. But even if you live in a city without nearby farmer’s markets, you can still get fresh, local fruit and vegetables. 

Visit seasonal farmers’ stands in the summer when produce is in season – it will be fresher than what you can find at other times of the year. Or, if there aren’t any local stands available, buy new seasonal quality produce directly from the grocery store when it is on sale. 

There are many ways to identify fresh vegetables. Some are immediately obvious about their freshness, while others may take more inspection. Knowing how to identify fresh vegetables can help you purchase the freshest possible produce and give you confidence that your food is as nutritious as it can be.

Shop Seasonally

When choosing vegetables, there is no substitute for freshness. You can buy the beautiful, bright orange cantaloupes out of the grocery store, but they will not have the same sweetness and aroma as their local farm counterparts only days after being picked. However, if you go to the farmers’ market but choose a wilted, bruised fruit or vegetable that has been pickled in export for months, your effort will be wasted. Luckily for you (and me), there are ways to find fresh produce in shops and markets, online and offline.

Shop Local

Every season is a new opportunity to eat fresh, local produce at its peak. Buying locally grown seasonal foods means getting the freshest and tastiest products. Still, it also ensures that you eat produce harvested when it is ripe, boosting flavour, texture, and nutrient content. Even if you can’t find foods from your local grocery stores, with a bit of research and some planning ahead, you can help reduce the carbon footprint of your grocery shopping and ensure that the foods you eat support a sustainable food supply. A fresh produce app does wonders for this. Shop at your convenience and get only fresh, quality produce. 

Do a Sight, Touch, and Smell inspection

Before you pick your produce, it’s important to note that some vegetables will never be perfectly symmetrical. But in general, the best products will have chunky tops with unbroken leaves and look vibrant. If a vegetable has been on display for several days, you’ll want to keep searching for one that’s still fresh. Also, the newer the vegetable, the firmer it will feel when you squeeze it. Avoid those chewy lettuces and mushy tomatoes because they haven’t had time to ripen yet.

The most direct method for identifying fresh produce is to check for bruises. These can be dark areas caused by internal damage to the fruit or vegetable. If a spot looks like it’s turning black, and if you can see through to the inner tissue from the outer tissue, it’s probably going to be a lousy piece of produce and should not be purchased. Scars happen when a portion of the skin has been removed from the fruit or vegetable. This might allow bacteria and other elements essential to spoilage to get into the product, so if there are scars, they should be avoided as well.

Sniffing produce may help you detect spoiled fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables give off a variety of chemicals, such as esters and sulphur compounds, which are detectable by smell. Some foods, particularly those of the cabbage family, have a pungent odor when fresh. This distinctive cabbage smell gets stronger as the food ages.

Avoid Vegetables with Mould, Mushy or Withered spots

Mushy, withered, and mouldy spots are usually signs that the vegetable is no longer suitable. Next, examine the vegetable for any soft or discoloured patches, soggy spots, or small dark spots. Shake the vegetable if you must — if there’s a rattling sound, it’s bad news and should go in the trash.

Select vegetables that have strong-looking stems and leaves. Make sure they aren’t wilted or have brown spots on them. The source of the vegetable is essential as well. If you get your vegetables from a place with high-quality standards, you should be able to rely on the quality of their products. An online grocery retailer that has been in the business for years guarantees you only get the freshest.

Stretch your Produce Dollars with Frozen Vegetables

Whole foods are excellent. Shopping in the produce aisle is fun, cheap, and you’re supporting local farmers. But if you’re having trouble stretching your food budget, consider frozen vegetables.

Frozen vegetables have gotten a bad rap in some circles, considered second-rate and inferior to fresh. But that’s not true! Frozen vegetables can be high-quality – even better than their new counterparts – if frozen quickly after harvest. That’s why you’ll see an increase in the selection of frozen vegetables at your grocery store. So don’t be afraid to reach for those broccoli, spinach, and tomatoes bags — it’s easier than ever to pick out the best-frozen options.

Ugly Food Market is the New Trend

When it comes to vegetables, appearance is everything. At least, that’s what it used to be. The truth is that looks can often be deceiving for veggies. Some fruits and veggies are perfectly edible and delicious, even if they don’t look perfect. Some vegetables, such as cucumbers, turn yellow with age or have brown spots or blemishes on the surface. This is not necessarily a sign that the vegetable has gone wrong but indicates that it is nearing its end. That’s why it’s important to know what you’re looking for when it comes to fresh produce to get the highest quality products in your supermarket without paying premium prices. Give perfectly nutritious vegetables a second chance when you join a group buy in a fresh produce app.

Download the TreeDots Group Buy App on the App Store and Google Play. You can get $5 off your first three purchases when joining the TreeDots group platform. Just make sure to use voucher code: <TDNEW5> once you check out your cart with a minimum spend of $30 and enjoy additional discounts on your purchases.