Maximize the nutritional benefits of your fruits and veggies with this guide to choosing the best produce in the market.
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You know an avocado is ripened and ready to eat when its deep green skin turns black. The rough exterior should also be soft, though not badly bruised or sunken, to reveal creamy, buttery flesh when sliced open.
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Study the base of a pineapple when making your decision; a golden-yellow color indicates how sweet it will be. The higher the color rises up from the base, the sweeter the pineapple will taste. A smell test is also useful when selecting these tasty tropical fruits; if the pineapple has no scent, it's not yet ripe.
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Scour the produce section for fully ripened grapes—the plumper the better—but avoid leaky, wrinkled clusters. Bunches that are firmly attached to the stem are best. For sweet grapes, it's important to pay attention to color. Green varieties should have a slight yellow tint, while red grapes should take on a rich, red shade.
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To source the sweetest, juiciest apples, make sure you choose ones with an unblemished surface and bright, even color. Lightly press the apple to make sure it's firm and crunchy.
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Peppers that sport vivid, rich shades and green stems are your best bet. Don't worry about irregularly-shaped bell peppers, as long as they're healthy with a thick, glossy exterior.
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Berries of all varieties, including strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, are susceptible to moisture and therefore, mold. It's best to buy small quantities of berries just a few days prior to eating them. Watch out for cartons that show telltale signs of fuzzy white mold and choose firm, juicy berries with a healthy sheen.
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Take a deep whiff when you're choosing tomatoes. Firm, smooth-skinned ones with a subtly sweet scent yield the best results. Its shape counts as well: Tomatoes should be round with no wrinkles or soft surface depressions.
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Pick all-star citrus based on smooth skin, firm texture, and weight (heavier fruits offer more vitamin C-loaded juice). Avoid oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, and other citrus fruits that are soft or sunken in spots.
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Steer clear of broccoli florets that exhibit small yellow blossoms—the flowers are a sign that the veggies are overly mature. Do, however, choose floret clusters with a uniform color and firm stalks and stems.
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Opt for fully matured pears that are firm to the touch without feeling too hard. Ignore the fruits that sport bruises, mold, and punctures.
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When shopping for asparagus stalks, seek ones with closed tips versus open tips. Rounded, firm stems give off the tasty flavor and crunchy texture you desire in these nutrient-loaded veggies.
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Maximize the nutritional benefits of these crunchy vegetables by selecting ones with a vibrant orange hue. A richer, deeper color indicates a greater amount of beta-carotene. Discard rough, limp carrots with cracks.
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Gauge the flavor of a kiwi by lightly pressing its surface. A slight yield to pressure means the kiwi's green pulp is deliciously sweet. Leave shriveled up, bruised kiwis behind.
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For delicious and crisp green beans, keep an eye out for firm, straight beans with long pods and a colorful hue. The beans should easily snap in half when they're broken.