National Fruit & Vegetable Month!
June is National Fruit & Vegetable Month! Are you ready for fresh summer produce? Here is a refresher on how to choose and store your fresh fruits and vegetables. Make the most of your fruits and vegetables by keeping them healthy from harvest to table.
Many people cannot wait until the fresh squash, peas, green beans, peaches, cantaloupe, and watermelon to name a few start to be harvested and enjoyed. Whenever possible, select only the quantity of fresh fruits and vegetables that can be consumed in two to three days. This is optimal to ensure the highest quality and preventing waste. When selecting these items, examine them and make your selection based upon good color, smell, shape and texture. Avoid purchasing items that exhibit bruises, mold, or appear damaged. When purchasing pre-cut items, be certain to select items that are cold, packaged in undamaged air tight containers, have a fresh appearance, and always look for a sell by date. Avoid pre-cut fruits and vegetables that are brown or appear slimy. Storing your fresh fruits and vegetables in a dry, well-ventilated area allows for longer shelf life. Throw away any spoiled items immediately. One spoiled item can accelerate the spoilage of your other items that are stored in the same area. If you purchased pre-cut items, refrigerate them in an air tight container as soon as possible preferably in the vegetable crisper.
The cleaning of fruits and vegetables is really important. Even if you do not eat the peel or the rind of the item they need to be washed. Prior to cutting your fresh items, be certain to wash them thoroughly under cool running water and DO NOT use soaps or bleach.
Remember many of these fruits and vegetables can be enjoyed raw and can provide the most robust and natural flavor when eaten in this manner. Therefore, proper care in cleaning, storage, and preparation for serving is a must. If you choose to cook your selection, opt for healthier cooking options such as grilling, baking, or steaming and avoid heavy oils and salt. An alternative to adding salt would be to season with herbs or salt free seasonings. To enhance flavors in a more natural way, try substituting salsa for salad dressing. Another appealing trick is to use steamed spinach as a bed under grilled meats. Another delicious option is a light sprinkle of parmesan cheese on your vegetables.
No matter how you prepare and serve your fruits and vegetables, be certain they are chosen with care, cleaned appropriately and enjoyed in a healthful way. Have a safe harvest and enjoy!