With the arrival of summer, hopefully your garden is bursting with ripe, gorgeous vegetables in their prime! Each vegetable has its own freshness criteria, but you don’t need to remember a list of specifics to take away the freshest vegetables from your home garden.
If you haven’t had time or room to grow a garden this season, there are tons of markets that offer high quality greens that will make your meals fresh and full of flavor.
Safely visiting a farmer’s market is another great way to get fresh produce while also supporting local farmers. You will have the opportunity of going straight to the source with any questions, as the term “freshly picked” takes on a whole new meaning!
Use this guide for selecting the freshest and tastiest produce for your Lean & Green meals this summer:
|▪||Asparagus. Look for smooth, firm, brightly colored stalks. Choosing stalks of similar thickness will ensure even cooking times.|
|▪||Bok Choy. Baby bok choy should be light green in color. Mature bok choy should have dark green leaves with bright white stalks.|
|▪||Broccoli. Choose firm stalks with tight florets and crisp green leaves. Avoid sprouting florets or florets that have begun to yellow.|
|▪||Celery. Choose firm, green stalks with green leaves.|
|▪||Cucumber. Choose a cucumber that is firm and completely green.|
|▪||Green Beans. Choose beans that snap rather than bend.|
|▪||Iceberg Lettuce. A quality iceberg head is firm with thick, light green leaves. A good test is to actually scratch and smell the stalk; a sweet or bitter smell indicates a sweet or bitter flavor.|
|▪||Kale. Choose crisp, dark green leaves and avoid yellow leaves. Smaller leaves are usually more tender.|
|▪||Romaine Lettuce. Look for a stalk that has a long head and thick medium to dark green leaves.|
|▪||Spinach. Look for tender, dark green leaves with unblemished stems. Spinach should have a fresh scent that’s not too strong.|
If you’re still unsure of what to select, the most important thing to remember is to rely on your senses. If something doesn’t look or smell right, it’s probably not your freshest option.