Friday, November 12

How to Pick a Good One!

A little while back, we talked about how most people don’t get near the servings of vegetables they need in a day.  And most people don’t eat veggies not because they don’t want to, but because they just don’t buy them often.  Many of us are intimidated by the produce section and unsure of how to select good vegetables.
I have some less common veggies below, and good descriptions on how to buy good ones:
Avacados – These big berries (yes, avocados are classified as berries!) were a challenge for me when I moved to the west coast.  You don’t want the rind to look bright green—that means it’s not ripe yet.  Pick an avocado that doesn’t look too dark, and lightly squeeze it.  If it dents just by you picking it up, it’s over ripe.  But if it dents slightly when you squeeze, it’s just perfect.
Asparagus – Most people just grab a bundle of asparagus without realizing fresh asparagus should have a couple very specific qualities.  Good asparagus will be bright green and firm.  If you bend the top, you should be afraid of breaking the stalk (it definitely should not bend without breaking).  Thicker asparagus is better for grilling, but look at the bottom of stalks: thick asparagus can often be purple (and tough).
Winter Squashes – This one is new for me; I’ve actually never cooked a butternut squash.  But I want to this year!  So I hear: the stem needs to be dry and corky.  Rough barnacles and even orange patches on green squashes are fine.  You want your squashes to be squashy, but not squishy—look for bruises or soft patches, and the skin should be firm.
Turnips – I haven’t had turnips since I was a kid, but I’ve decided I want to try cooking them on my own (they’re really good!).  Good turnips come with their leafy greens still attached.  The bulb on the bottom (reminiscent of an overgrown radish) should be white at the bottom and slightly purple on top.  The smaller they are, the sweeter they are.
Are there any veggies that took a while for you to figure out how to buy them well?  Any veggies you want to know about?


Floriana said...

Ohh, I used to love turnips as a kid and recently decided to try them again, but now I can't find them anywhere. Guess they are just not very popular with the farmers around here.
Anyway, nice guide. I just started following and I am looking forward to learning more about you. Congrats on your weight loss! :)

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