Below is some information on selecting, storing and serving vegetables.
- Choose in-Season fruits. The closer you are to the growing season, the fresher your produce and the better it tastes. To view a chart on when fruits and vegetables are in season in Alabama, please click here.
- Look for brightly colored vegetables. The best items have blemish-free surfaces and regular, characteristic shapes and sizes.
- Sort through and discard any damaged items. Bruises and nicks can attract mold, which can lead to spoilage of an entire bag of vegetables. Leaver or greens should be crisp not wilted.
- Buy only the fresh vegetables you plan to eat within a few days. Long storage time reduces nutrient levels, appeal and taste.
- Store fresh vegetables according to their type. Place root vegetables, such as potatoes and yams, in a cool, dark place. Store other vegetables in the refrigerator crisper drawer. You can keep vegetables in the crisper drawer from a few days to a few weeks depending on the type of vegetable. Asparagus, beans, beets, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower should all be stored in the fridge.
- Don’t wash vegetables before storing. Make sure all produce is dry before storing.
- Throw away produce you’ve kept too long. Discard vegetables that are moldy or slimy, smell bad or are past the “Best if used by” date.
- Can or pickle your vegetables. Some vegetables keep for a long time and preserve their quality and taste when you can them. Beans, carrots and tomatoes are good vegetables for canning. You may want to pickle beans, cabbage, cucumbers and cauliflower.
- Dehydrate. Chilies and peppers dry easily. You can also dry celery and garlic and crush them into powder.
- Wash vegetables thoroughly to remove dirt and pesticide residue before cooking. If possible, us a small scrub brush to help clean potatoes, cucumbers and other vegetables that have skin you eat.
- Leave edible peels on vegetables whenever possible. The peels of many vegetables – especially potatoes – contain considerable amounts of nutrients and fiber.