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How to Tell if Your Vegetables are Ripe and Ready to Eat

    Artichokes

    Ripe artichokes will feel heavy and have large, tightly closed fleshy leaf scales. They should be green in color and plump in size. An artichoke with loose leaves that have holes in them is not fresh and should not be eaten.

    • Available: Year-round
    • Best to Buy: March - May

     

    Asparagus

    Shoppers should look for tightly closed buds and straight, tender stalks. The color of ripe asparagus is a rich green. Signs of over maturity include open tips, and angular or ridged spears.

    • Available: Year-round
    • Best to Buy: March - June

    Broccoli

    Ripe broccoli is firm with dark green, closed florets. If the heads of the broccoli start to yellow then they may be too ripe to eat. Cauliflower should be firm and all white -- a cauliflower with too many small brown spots could be bad.

    • Available: Year-round
    • Best to Buy: October - May

    Brussels Sprouts

    You should look for compact, bright green heads when shopping for Brussels sprouts. They should feel hard when you squeeze them. Smaller sprouts are typically sweeter, while larger sprouts taste more like cabbage.

    • Available: Year-round
    • Best to Buy: October - November
    Celery should have crisp, light green branches. If you spot a wilted or rough stalk then it's likely too ripe.
    • Available: Year-round
    • Best to Buy: Year-round

    Lettuce

    Fresh lettuce has green leaves with no wilted or bruised areas. Signs of overripe lettuce includes discoloration, limp or soggy leaves and an unpleasant odor. A head of romaine or iceberg lettuce will last for seven days in the fridge, while more delicate lettuces will spoil faster.

    • Available: Year-round
    • Best to Buy: Year-round

    Onions

    A ripe onion is hard with dry, papery skin. The roots should be two to three inches long and white in color. Keep an eye out for green spots or leathery areas, which can indicate that the onion is starting to go bad.

    • Available: Year-round
    • Best to Buy: Year-round

    Peppers

    Fresh peppers have a firm exterior with bright, glossy coloring. If the pepper starts to wrinkle then they are still fine to cook with but will be less appealing as a raw snack. Peppers that have softened and continue to wrinkle will soon become slimy and inedible.

    • Available: Year-round
    • Best to Buy: Year-round

    Sweet Potatoes (STEP 3 ONLY)

    Ripe sweet potatoes are thick, medium-sized spuds without any bruises or decay. They should also taper at the end. Sweet potatoes that are wrinkly and mushy should be thrown out.

    • Available: Year-round
    • Best to Buy: September - December

    White Potatoes

    White potatoes should be mostly smooth, firm and free of blemishes. Avoid buying any white potatoes that show signs of bruising, sprouting or shriveling. A green tinge is another sign of over maturity.

    • Available: Year-round
    • Best to Buy: Year-round

    Tomatoes

    Fresh tomatoes are plump with a rich, red color and slight softness. Look out for any cracks, discoloration, sunken areas or other damaged spots on the skin of the tomato. These are all signs that the tomato has gone bad.

    • Available: Year-round
    • Best to Buy: May - August

    Butternut Squash

    A ripe butternut squash should be beige all over with no visible green patches. The skin should be matte, not shiny, and the squash should sound hollow if you tap on it. 

    • Available: Year-round
    • Best to Buy: September - October

    Zucchini

    Zucchini should be a dark, solid green color covering the entire vegetable. They should be firm but slightly flexible and 6-8 inches in length. If you're cooking with your zucchini, such as making zucchini bread, it's best to choose one that's a bit softer so you know it is at peak ripeness to use right away.

    • Available: Year-round
    • Best to Buy: June - August

    Found this great information and more at: How to Tell if Your Vegetables are Ripe and Ready to Eat (dailybreak.com)



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