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Choosing Vegetables

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Choose vegetables in season when they are at their freshest and most readily available; this is when they will taste their best and be at their most nutritious. Always look for crisp, fresh looking vegetables that have brightly colored leaves. Avoid any that have brown patches, wilted leaves, bruised or pulpy flesh.

Carrots should have fresh looking, healthy leafy tops, not discolored or wilting.

Onions should have dry papery skins; red onions should have no brown discoloration.

Potatoes should be firm and well shaped with no "eyes" or green patches.

Tomato skin should be smooth and firm with no cuts or blemishes.

Roots and Tubers
Carrots, potatoes, beetroot, swedes, celeriac and radishes should have firm, heavy flesh and wrinkle-free skin. Avoid soft patches or sprouting.

Choose firm, fresh looking mushrooms that have soft "bloom" and fresh smell. The stalk end should be moist; if dry they may be slightly old.

Choose firm bulbs with even colored skins and no signs of sprouting. Avoid any that look damp or smell musty. Leeks and spring onions should have dark green leaves and fresh looking roots.

Vegetable Fruits
Tomatoes, aubergines, peppers and avocados should have firm, smooth, shiny skins and a deep, even color. Avoid any that are soft, pulpy or wrinkle.

Salad Leaves
Choose lettuces and cresses that smell fresh and look slightly damp on the surface. Check the heart is well formed.

Leafy Greens
Choose endive, Swiss chard and spinach with crisp, fresh looking greens. Leaves should feel springy to the touch; avoid any that appear limp or wilted. There should be no sign of insect damage.

Stalks and Shoots
Celery, global artichokes, fennel, asparagus and chicory should have tightly packed, firm heads with no visible brown patches on the outer layers.

Peas should not have any visible dry or brown patches.

Broccoli of the purple “hearting” variety should have dark colored rightly formed florets, firm stalks, no signs of yellowing.

Leafy Greens should have full, well formed head, crisp leaves with fresh green tips.

Spinach leaves are best when small and, with fine stalks.

Asparagus should have plump stalks with tight buds, even in size and color.

Pods and Seeds Select peas and beans with bright green pods that are firm and plump. Choose sweet corn with tight green husks and plump, even, shiny kernels. The kernels should be tightly packed on the cob.

Brassicas Look for cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbage with undamaged tight compact heads. Outer leaves should be fresh with no signs of wilting or yellowing. The stalk should look moist and freshly cut.

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September 20, 2017

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