I get my veggies in an organic vegetable box and they come at their optimum best. However, occasionally, I will buy some to replenish my stock. I will then choose the vegetables according to this vague guideline: They must look fresh.
Now, I am more careful with my selection, as there are signs to watch out for, according to the type of vegetable. Here are some of them.
1. Broccoli: They must have tight and firm stalks with dark green florets that are tightly closed. If there is a strong smell or if the leaves are slightly yellow, they are probably old.
2. Brussels sprouts: This winter vegetable is now in season. During this time, look for those with a fresh, bright green colour, tightly fitted leaves and no blemishes.
3. Cabbage: Choose only heads that are compact and firm. They should have fresh, crisp leaves without any marks or browning, which may be an indication of worm damage. There should be only a few loose outer leaves.
4. Cauliflower: Look for a clean, creamy white head with tightly packed florets. Heads that are surrounded by thick green leaves are better protected and will be fresher.
5. Eggplant: Small, immature eggplants are the best. Big puffy ones may have hard seeds and can be bitter. Choose a firm, smooth- skinned eggplant that is heavy. Squeeze it gently and if the flesh gives slightly and bounces back, it is ripe. If not, it is overly ripe and the insides will be mushy.
6. Garlic: These should be plump and firm, with their silky skins intact. Choose large ones as those are easier to peel.
7. Onions: Choose those that are heavy with dry, papery skins. Avoid onions that are sprouting.
This article was first published on Jan 1, 2015.
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