How to Shop and Store Your Produce
Shopping for produce is easy when you know what to look for. If you’re new to whole foods this easy guide will help you find the best fresh produce, what “fresh” produce should looks like, and how to keep your fruits & veggies fresher and longer, once you get them home.
Buy organic as best as your circumstances allow. And always follow the Environmental Working Group’s Clean Fifteen & Dirty Dozen list of safe and extremely toxic non-organic produce.
You’ll save time and money with these helpful tips as you juice your way to wellness freedom!
How to Shop and Store Your Produce
Make a list! Your wellness freedom begins with a plan, make one.
Decide what juice drinks and smoothies you’ll want to make for the week. While you’re at
it, why not include a list for other produce you’ll need in your menus? During the week I plan in my head what I’d like to eat or drink and write it down. Sometimes I’ll take out a recipe and make my list (or add to it) when I have a little free time to sit.
Having a plan and preparing with a list, ensures you will get what you need when you go shopping.
Remember to take your list and cloth grocery bags with you!
Whenever possible, buy local seasonal produce. For your sake and the sake of your children, choose wholesome organic produce as best as your circumstances allow. Follow ewg’s dirty dozen and clean fifteen produce guidelines found on their website at www.ewg.org
Choose the freshest produce and buy only what you need that week.
Look for greens that are firm and not yellowed. Root crops such as beets and radishes should have greens that are bright and healthy looking. Decomposing, yellow or slimy “green tops” of these root vegetables should be avoided, it is an indication that the vegetable is old and past its prime.
Grow your own! It’s easier than you think. Join your local food co-op- being a former natural food co-op manager I can tell you a co-op community is a wonderful place to nourish your body, mind and soul.
Farmer’s Market- In the spring and summer you’ll find fresh local produce, generally at excellent prices.
Grow Your Own Garden
Local Pick Your Own Farms
CSA- Community Supported Agriculture
Local Grocery Store
Wash your produce before cutting. Cutting dirty produce can contaminate your fruit or vegetable with harmful organisms. Place in the sink and give it a good bath with gentle earth friendly soap.
Wash your Greens: Romaine/Chard/Kale/Spinach/Radishes.
Greens such as kale, romaine, chard, and spinach should be washed as soon as you have time to do so. Wash them in the sink with a little soap (gentle, earth friendly dish soap) and rinse well with plain water. Drain on a towel. I have a stack of old clean towels I use just for my juicing produce, works very well. Cut the bottom off just a bit and place cut side down in 3”-4” of water in a tall glass for long leaves or a short glass for shorter leaves and place in the refrigerator. The water keeps them hydrated and fresh for days. Cut tops off radishes. After washing, place them in a little bowl with a paper or cloth towel on the bottom. Anyone that has bought radishes knows they can be a slimy mess in no time at all if left alone in the fridge!
Carrots stay freshest if purchased without green tops.
Celery ends should look fresh and stalks firm, not limp. Trim ends if any are yellowed or rotting. To rehydrate limp celery, slice a bit of the stem end and place in pure water in a glass and store in the fridge.
Take a cue from the grocery store:
Root crops such as onions, garlic, ginger root and potatoes should not get wet or be stored in the fridge. Keep them cool and dry.
Mushrooms stay freshest stored in a paper bag in the fridge. They are past their prime if cap is not attached to the stem. They are delicate so handle carefully and buy only what you can use within afew days.
Fruits should be firm without bruises or unsightly blemishes. A tad bit cosmetically challenged is okay (such as apple scars that do not affect the
fruit). Gently squeeze your apples and oranges to feel the firmness under the skin. Old fruits will feel mushy. Take note that apples can hasten the ripening of other fruits and vegetables. If you have a lot of apples store them in a separate fridge if possible.
Do not wash fruit until you are ready to juice it. Strawberries and grapes begin to decompose after washing if not eaten right away.
Citrus fruits such as lemons and limes keep best in the refrigerator.
Avocadoes are routinely squeezed in the store so be aware that they may be bruised and will not have a good flavor. The best way to test for ripeness is to gently push the stem end in. If it collapses into the fruit it is over ripe. The stem end and overall fruit should be just a bit soft to the touch.
DO NOT refrigerate avocadoes, mangoes, papayas, kiwi, and pineapple except after cutting. Refrigerating these fruits alters their delicate flavor.Tomatoes shouldn’t be refrigerated either, except after cutting. Like
other tropical fruits (yes, they are a fruit and originally from South America) they should NOT be stored in the fridge.
Bananas do not like to be cold either. However, many moons ago, I witnessed my neighbor Miss Maudie May Orcutt from somewhere down in Mississippi, store her very green bananas (wrapped in a dish towel) in the crisper of her fridge. She said it worked well keeping them from getting too ripe in the southern heat. I learned a lot from her and I’ll be sharing more of her ol’ time wisdom in other articles.
And if you’re wondering “Why Organic?” check out these articles. Eating conventional produce contributes to malnutrition, heavy metal toxicity, dangerous chemical body burden, poisoning of our water, soil and air. Scientists are just beginning to quantity the effects of planetary pollution caused by chemical agriculture.
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