Monday, September 14, 2015

The A, B, C's of Produce

This month I am highlighting a variety of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain  a plethora of micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. There are many health benefits to consuming adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals including promoting good health and disease prevention. Today, we're also learning the A, B, C's of how to pick the best produce.


  • There are a variety of types of apples: Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Gala, the list is almost never-ending. The different varieties of apples have different textures, tartness, and sweetness.
  • Selection: The key to picking a good apple is to pick a firm apple and avoid bruises that create mush spots.
  • Storage: Refrigerate apples in a plastic storage bag; keep away from strongly-odored foods. 
  • Nutrition Benefits: fat-free, cholesterol free, and a good source of dietary fiber

  • Selection: Choose bananas that are slightly green near the tip and stem. Bananas should be firm; avoid bruises.
  • Storage: Bananas continue to ripen at room temperature. You may also store banana in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. The skin of the banana may darken.
  • Nutrition Benefits: fat-free, cholesterol free, and a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, and potassium.

  • Selection: Choose beets that have smooth, firm skin. Look for fresh leaves that are not wilted.
  • Storage: Remove leaves, but leave about one inch of stem. Store in the refrigerator in a perforated plastic bag. Use within 3 weeks.
  • Nutrition Benefitsfat-free, cholesterol free, and an excellent source of folate
  • You can eat the beet and the leaves!

Bell Peppers
  • Selection: Chose firm, brightly colored bell peppers. Avoid dull or shriveled peppers.
  • Storage: Refrigerate in a zip-top plastic bag; use within 5 days.
  • Nutrition Benefits: fat-free, cholesterol free, high in vitamin C
  • Fun Fact: Pepper, including bell peppers, originated in Central and South America.

  • Selection: Choose broccoli with bluish-green florets and tight heads. Choose broccoli that does not have an odor.
  • Storage: Store in the refrigerator in a perforated plastic bag. Use within 3-5 days for maximum flavor and freshness.
  • Nutrition Benefitsfat-free, cholesterol free, high in folate, and a good source of fiber and potassium.

  • Selection: Choose firm, plump blueberries with a dusty blue color. Avoid shriveled or moldy berries.
  • Storage: Refrigerate for 10-14 days.
  • Nutrition Benefits: low fat and a good source of vitamin C and fiber
  • Fun Fact: Early American colonists made grey paint by boiling blueberries in milk!

Cherry Tomatoes
  • Selection: Choose tomatoes that are plump and firm with bright, shiny skin. Avoid mold.
  • Storage: Store at room temperature away from direct sunlight. 
  • Nutrition Benefitshigh in vitamin A and C and a good source of potassium

  • Selection: Choose grapes that are plump and firm. Avoid mold.
  • Storage: Grapes can be refrigerated in a plastic bag for up to 1 week.
  • Nutrition Benefitsfat-free, cholesterol free, and very low in sodium

Stay tuned for more on picking produce in the remainder of the alphabet. Throughout this month, I will share ideas for including more fruits and vegetables into your daily diet. For more recipes, encouragement, and tips for healthy eating, follow me on PinterestInstagram, and Twitter

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