Know what to pick
Follow the seasons
- Now that so much is available for most of the year it’s easy to lose track of the seasonality of fresh produce. See Fruit in season.
Choose ripe fruit
- Good colouring with a bright and ‘fresh’ appearance is a good indication of fruit still in good condition.
- Feel for a tender texture -- gentle pressure between your fingers and palm won’t cause bruising.
- Smell the stem end for stone fruits and the blossom end for apples, tomatoes and melons. Only buy fruit that has a full, fruity aroma.
Take a close look at your veg
- Green vegetables should be crisp and really green – not shriveled or yellow.
- With broccoli and lettuce, check there’s no rot at the end of the stem.
- Avoid carrots whose tips are going brown – and while leaves on carrots look lovely, they’re best cut off because they can dry the carrots out.
It’s best to buy fruit and veg in small lots, once a week or more often, and use them quickly. If you don’t like the look of what’s on offer in the fresh produce section you’re probably better off buying frozen or canned.
While there’s no guarantee, you’re more likely to find really fresh fruit and veg at your local farmers’ market. Farmers often get a better return than from selling through the big supermarket chains, but of course there’s a more limited range of produce available, especially during the winter months.
Visit www.farmersmarkets.org.au to find your nearest market.