How to Pick the Best Summer Produce
Love summer fruits and veggies but not sure how to select the best of the crop? Fear not! We’ve got you covered. Check out AppforHealth.com’s guide to choosing and storing the best produce of the summer season.
For me, summer equal watermelon! Rich in vitamins A, C, and the disease-fighting phytochemical lycopene, it’s got loads of nutrition in few calories. Plus, when you buy them whole you get a mini-workout lugging them home! (I bought a 20-pounder yesterday and after a 5 block walk I felt I’d done some strength training for the day!
Want to pick the best? Choose oblong or well-rounded melons that sound hollow when tapped. The rind should be dull and just barely give to firm pressure. Avoid any with flat or soft spots or punctures in the rind. Keep whole melons at a cool room temperature away from sunlight for up to a week. Once cut, wrap slices tightly or store chunks in an airtight container and refrigerate.
It’s not a cookout without grilled corn on the cob! To make sure you’re getting the cream of the crop, choose corn husks that are green in color with light brown silk attached. Grab a piece of the husk and pull it from the top so you can see the corn kernels inside. They should be plump, firm and full of color.
Corn on the cob should be cooked right after it’s picked or bought. If you need to store it, leave it in the husks and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
Looking for an amazing recipe for your corn? Try this Grilled Corn on the Cob with Roasted Jalapeno Butter from CookingLight.com.
Ah, figs! One of my all-time favorite fruits. Not only do they taste fantastic, they are nutritional all-stars. One quarter-cup serving of dried figs provides 5 grams of fiber. They also have iron, calcium and potassium.
Look for figs that have a rich, deep color and are plump and tender, but not mushy. They should have firm stems and be free of bruises. Smelling figs can also give you clues into their freshness and taste. Select ones that have a mild, sweet fragrance. Ripe figs should be kept in the refrigerator where they will stay fresh for about two days.
Want to make the perfect party appetizer that will make you the talk of the town? Try this incredible Mission Fig with Brie and Fresh Thyme recipe.
Studies from around the world continue to show the positive effects that strawberries have on disease prevention, including cancer and heart disease, anti-aging, brain function and overall good health. And, oh yeah, they taste incredible!
Strawberries are fully ripe at the time they are picked and do not continue to ripen after harvesting. Choose berries that have a bright red color, a natural shine and fresh looking green caps. Strawberries should always be refrigerated and kept dry until just before use.
Fresh strawberries can also be washed and frozen for several months. For more info and some fantastic strawberry recipes, please check out the California Strawberries website.
Nutritious, delicious, and great for everything from salsas to salads to sauces, tomatoes are summertime superstars! Select tomatoes that are firm, glossy, smooth, and plump. Avoid those that are soft, bruised, cracked, or otherwise damaged. Purchase tomatoes at various stages of ripeness, and then use the ripest tomatoes first. Examine the color. Those tomatoes that are the deepest in color are the ripest.
Once tomatoes are fully ripe, they should be stored in a cool area, dry area.
Check out one of my favorite salsa recipes here!
There’s nothing like fresh summer blueberries. To choose the best, look for blueberries that are firm, dry, plump, smooth-skinned, and with a silvery surface “bloom”. Size is not an indicator of maturity but color is—berries should be deep purple-blue to blue-black; reddish berries aren’t ripe, but may be used in cooking. Avoid soft or shriveled fruit and any signs of mold. Containers with juice stains indicate that the fruit may be bruised.
Refrigerate blueberries as soon as you get them home, in their original plastic pack or in a covered bowl or storage container. Wash the berries just before use. Use within ten days of purchase.
Looking for some great ways to use blueberries in your summer dishes? Check out these recipes!