Veggie buying and storage tips:
In general, you want to get veggies that look healthy and vibrant, rather than wilted or soft.
Potatoes – make sure they are firm, rather than soft, and without a lot of ‘eyes’ or sprouts coming off them. Store in a dark, cool place, with good air circulation around them.
Onions – again, look for firm rather than soft or squishy. Store on countertop or in a dark, cool place like potatoes.
Garlic – look for a uniform white garlic bulb, rather than browning. Avoid green sprouts coming out the top. Can also be bought pre-minced or cut, just make sure it’s not packed in oil.
Zucchini, squash, cucumbers – again, look for firm rather than soft, with no spots or softening. Will last longer in cool storage.
Greens – look for vibrant greens, not wilted leaves. If your greens do wilt before you get them home, you can refresh them by soaking them in cold water or rolling them in a wet towel and placing them in the refrigerator. Store in frig.
Broccoli and cauliflower – firm crowns, without any browning or spots. Store in frig.
Mushrooms – firm and dry, not wet or slimy. Storing in a paper bag in a frig drawer helps them last longer than in a plastic bag.
Carrots – firm, not bendable (if they’re soft, they may firm up by placing in cold water in the refrigerator). After you buy them, remove the greens and then place in the frig. (You can use those carrot green tops to make pesto!). Leaving the greens on causes the carrots to wilt in the frig faster.
Tomatoes – firm to soft, depending on when you plan on using them and what you’re using them for. Avoid spots or bruised/soft tomatoes. Keep on counter, or to slow ripening, in the frig.
Peppers – bright and firm, not wrinkling or with spots on them. Store in frig.
Cabbage – choose firm, tightly packed heads. Did you know you can use an outer cabbage leaf like saran wrap? Place it around a half cut pepper or cucumber in the frig.
Green beans, sugar snap peas – choose firm not soft with no spots. Store in frig.
Beets – like carrots, cut the green tops off before storing in the frig. (Use the green tops like you would chard or kale).
Lettuces – check for evidence of pests (chewed holes, leaves eaten through). Store in frig drawer. If wilted, soak in cold water before using to refresh them.
Cilantro, parsley – choose bright green, with no brown or wilted or slimy leaves. Place in a glass like a bouquet of flowers in the refrigerator for longer ‘shelf’ life.
Avocados – they are ready or close to ready if you press in the top where the stem would come out and it is soft or ‘gives’ with light pressure. Discolored or very soft will usually yield an overly ripe avocado, sometimes with browning on the inside. To speed up ripening, place in a paper bag with a piece of ripe fruit.