- Buy local
While picking fruit straight from the tree or harvesting veggies from the garden is the best way to guarantee a quality bite, we don’t always have the luxury of owning our own orchards or flourishing veggie patch. That’s where our local producers, farmers markets and fresh food grocers come in. Local producers grow, harvest and pick the best fruit and veg, which you can buy direct from their farmgate or farmstall. Not near a farm? Opt for the next best thing: a trip to a farmers market and/or a grocer near you. We love visiting our local farmers market, where we get to meet the producers who literally harvested that carrot, apple or eggplant earlier that day.
- Buy in-season
Wondering why that bunch of asparagus you just bought from the supermarket already looks a bit limp and worse for wear? If it’s the middle of winter, we’re guessing you’ve just bought something that might have been in storage or an import. And if it’s the latter, no doubt it’s had a bit of a journey – from harvesting and packing, to travelling and finally ending up on the supermarket shelf. Rather than buying something that’s bound to do your tastebuds a disservice, clue up on what’s in-season and enjoy cooking and eating fresh produce instead. Eating in-season also means you get exposed to a whole variety of seasonal fruit and veg across the year, which is not only delicious but great for your body too!
- Use your eyes (and your nose)
Looks brown, squashed or a tad mushy? The best way to pick the best fruit and veg may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget these simple visual cues. When picking green veg, check the stems are firm and the leaves are vibrant and fresh (opposed to wilted or yellow). Tomatoes shouldn’t look like Nanna’s wrinkly skin, bananas are close to being ripe when they have a few black marks on their skin, and the heavier the fruit the more juicy it is likely to be. P.S. we’re big advocates for ugly produce. Believe it or not, carrots don’t grow the same shape and size out in the wild! Just because a fruit or vegetable looks wonky or has a funny shape, doesn’t mean it isn’t normal or less tasty than the others. In fact, it probably tastes a whole lot better. You be the judge.
- Give it a taste
Still can’t pick the best fruit and veg? If all else fails, give it a taste test! Some fruits really are best judged by their flavour over their appearance (think grapes, berries and dates). That’s where a trip to your local farmers market really comes in handy. As you know, most of the produce at the markets can be tried and tested, so you know exactly what you’re putting into your basket and your mouth.
- Keep it fresh
Produce only remains fresh for so long, so it’s important that you eat it as soon as you can. You can prolong the shelf life of some of your fruit and veg by popping them in the fridge, but do remember they tend to lose their flavour when refrigerated. Plastic-wrapped fresh vegetables will last longer as they are exposed to less air, but if, like us, you want to reduce your use of plastic, try storing your vegetables in air-tight containers in the fridge instead. Ended up with an abundance of produce that’s nearing its end date? Try pickling them (that’s how Vinofood started, don’t you know?) or chopping them up and making a soup or veggie stock (which you can freeze and save to enjoy later).
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