We know there are plenty of #mealprep tips out there. You’ve seen plenty of images on social media of those to-go containers filled with a combination of protein, carbohydrates and vegetables. It’s one of the best ways to ensure you and your family eat healthy. However, part of the battle to making your own food is selecting the best produce. It is not only important to select good quality fruits and vegetables but also to understand how to create a good system going forward. We encourage you to focus on organic local and seasonal produce because of the low pesticide exposure. At Yummy Spoonfuls, we’re all about organic, no chemicals, no additives or preservatives so if you’re making your own food, we want you to have the best!
Here are 5 tips on how to select local and seasonal produce
Befriend Your Grocer
Connect with your local grocery store and ask what days they get their produce. If you’re interested in specific fruits or vegetables, ask them for those. This way you’ll be to snag them as fresh as possible right when they get delivered. Many grocery stores receive daily deliveries of produce but by asking the staff, you’ll find out the most optimal day. You’ll also be able to get the scoop on the produce i.e. ripeness and origin etc.
When you’re selecting produce, become familiar with them. Utilize all your senses (and trust them!) to assess if the fruit or vegetable is ideal for purchase. In fact, asking your local grocer for tips is also helpful. For example, with leafy greens like lettuce and kale, look for firm, crisp, and plump leaves that are consistent in color. Softness in some fruits is generally an indicator of slow rotting or bruising, and root vegetables such as potatoes, garlic, and onions should be firm and tough.
Buy ripe produce
Avocados or peaches, for example, on most occasions take time to ripen. Often times, you can increase the ripening by placing it in a brown bag in a cool area, but it’s best to buy the produce as ripe as possible. I encourage this because when you buy it fresh and ripe, you’ll use it timely. In addition, never attempt to ripen a product while under refrigeration. First ripen, then refrigerate.
Handle produce delicately
Fresh fruits and vegetables tend to perish quickly and therefore require constant upkeep to keep their fresh appearance. The less we handle them the better so it is best to avoid pinching, squeezing or poking them, for bruising leads to damage and damage results in greater spoilage. Here’s a good guide.
Visit Farmers Markets
Farmers markets are an excellent source of fresh local and seasonal produce. While they may not always have what you’re looking for, they’ll certainly have what’s in season and likely with the least pesticide exposure. Farmers also let you touch or taste the fruits or vegetables. Remember, food produced on a small scaler tends to be more nutrient-dense and taste better.
We’ve given you tips on selecting fresh product, but if you are unable to get to the grocery store, ordering online is also an option. We’ve included an image of the seasonality of produce. Do you have a good experience with your grocer or farmers’ market? Share your tips below!