Fresh food sold in supermarkets – such as fruit, vegetables and meat – isn’t always as fresh as you might think. Technological advances mean the lamb chops that look so succulent could have been butchered four months ago, and those shiny red apples might have been in storage for more than a year.
4 Tips Choice Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
You may find better quality and fresher produce at specialist butchers and fruit and vegetable shops than at your local supermarket. Farmers’ markets can also be a source of good-quality fresh produce. Organic meat, fruit and veggies are more likely to be locally produced and organic farmers often choose tastier cultivars, especially for fruit.
Now that so much produce is available for most of the year, it’s easy to lose track of its seasonality. Fruit and vegetables that are in season are likely to be fresher, tastier and more nutritious. What’s in season at any one time obviously varies across the country. See the Seasonal Food Guide for where to get current information for your area. There are also services that will deliver boxes of in-season local fruit and veg straight to your door.
The fruit should look evenly coloured, with a bright appearance. Feel for a tender texture, and smell the stem end for stone fruit and the blossom end for apples, tomatoes and melons. Only buy fruit with a full, fruity aroma.
Green vegetables should be crisp and not shrivelled or yellow. With broccoli and lettuce, check there’s no rot at the end of the stem. If you don’t like the look of what’s on offer, you’re probably better off buying frozen or canned vegetables. While they may not be as crisp and crunchy, frozen vegetables retain most of their nutrients and can be more nutritious than “fresh” vegetables that have been transported over long distances. Canned vegetables (and fruit) also retain most of their original nutrients. They have less vitamin C, but the levels of dietary fibre, carotene and folate aren’t much affected by the canning process.