With all this talk of GMO’s and infected produce, it sometimes is a little unsatisfying to go grab some produce at the grocery store. Well hopefully I’m here to help. Definitely recommend (especially in summer months) to purchase any kind of produce from Farmers Markets. They have some amazing foods and even fun finds at these markets, but best of all you are a lot more at ease mentally that you are purchasing something safe in your body. I know when I first started drinking green smoothies years ago, many people would ask me if I was afraid of getting E-Coli from raw spinach. I actually hadn’t really thought of it at that point because I was mainly doing a lot of research on how good for you these smoothies were. Well of course my hypochondriac mind set in and i’ll have to admit it did freak me out a little bit, but after talking to a few health experts and doing more research, thankfully the healthier you eat the better your body can fight off illnesses such as E-Coli.
Now you don’t always have to purchase organic fruits and vegetables but you do want to know which ones are pretty much a must to purchase organically. Here is 2014 EWG’s Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen. Highly recommend writing this one down before going grocery shopping!
Now that we got the serious information out of the way, let’s get into the good stuff! Summer is one of my favorite seasons specifically for Produce. I love all the juicy fruits and delicious vegetables we can grill up or toss in refreshing salads. This is a main time of year where you are cooking up a lot of food for events, outside BBQ’s or just for yourself. So what is in season you may ask? Here is a great list to help your creative mind set in and start whipping up some delicious recipes!
Why choose seasonal?
Seasonal produce is usually local and fresh! Since it doesn’t travel as far, it’s also less expensive and great if you’re on a budget!
|Summer Fruits||Summer Vegetables|
It is always fun to Experiment with new produce because it is one of the best ways to get the most out of your healthy lifestyle! You never know what new veggie or fruit you’ll fall in love with… until you try it! I remember I used to despise mushrooms (raw or cooked) until I found out the amazing health benefits and really gave them a chance. Now I will purchase them every chance I can because they are one of my top favorites. Delicious, Nutritious, Juicy Fruit and Vegetables are definitely a must in our household so here are a few of our favorites!
But in order to fall in love, you need to be sure you pick the best! This is a huge factor in taste and satisfaction.
Use these tips below as a guide next time you’re at the grocery store or farmers market…
Choosing a Watermelon
Watermelon should feel heavy. A light, hollow feeling melon has not ripened enough and it won’t be as sweet or juicy. The secret sweet factor? Look for a big yellow spot on the underside, known as a ‘sun spot’ for the tastiest watermelon every time! Don’t be ashamed to knock on it gently in the grocery store just to double check.
Pick the Perfect Pineapple
Look for pineapples with healthy, green leaves. And like watermelon, a heavier fruit will be juicier and sweeter. Try plucking a leaf from the top of the pineapple and if it comes out easily, it’s ready! I also still smell the bottom of the pineapple to make sure if has that delicious aroma.
Avoid pineapples with wrinkled skin or ones that have cracks, leaks, mold or brown leaves.
Choose avocados based on ripeness. Plan ahead and pick accordingly.
A rock hard avocado needs a few days to ripen, but if it gives to slight pressure, it’s perfect! Hard avocados should be stored at room temperature and take 3-6 days to ripen. If you need your avocado to ripen faster, place them in a paper bag and store on the counter and check every day until it has softened to your desire.
The BEST bell peppers
Look for peppers with firm, smooth skin and a bright, vibrant color. Avoid ones that are soft, have bruises or spots.
Choose dark green, full kale bunches! Avoid kale with yellow, wilting leaves. Store kale in a plastic zip top bag lined with a dry paper towel in the fridge. It should last up to a week!
A Few General Guidelines
- Do Not Store Fruits and Vegetables Together. Fruits that give off high levels of ethylene (the ripening agent) can prematurely ripen and spoil surrounding vegetables. (Think of the “one bad apple” adage.)
- For Vegetables: Before storing, remove ties and rubber bands and trim any leafy ends. Leave an inch to keep the vegetable from drying out. Make sure the bag you store the veggies in has some holes punctured to allow for good air flow. Pack vegetables loosely in the refrigerator. The closer they are, the quicker they will rot. Leafy greens can be washed before storing by soaking them in a sink full of water, while soft herbs and mushrooms should not be washed until right before they are used.
- For Fruits: Non-cherry stone fruits, avocados, tomatoes, mangoes, melons, apples, and pears will continue to ripen if left sitting out on a countertop, while items like bell peppers, grapes, all citrus, and berries will only deteriorate and should be refrigerated. Bananas in particular ripen very quickly, and will also speed the ripening of any nearby fruits.
Have fun exploring with food! Look up recipes and alter them if you need to, but always keep experimenting! Happy Shopping 🙂