Selecting vegetables in season is a challenging shopping endeavor that can mean great value and health for you and your family. Buying your fruits and vegetables in season is an important way to save money, eliminate waste, and obtain the best flavor.
The keys are knowing when are the best times to buy a particular item and what qualities to look for. Nowadays, most fruits and vegetables are available all year long now that produce is available from various parts of the world. However, there are peak seasons that ensure the best quality and value.
The Secret To Buying Vegetables in Season
Here are a few tips that can ensure your satisfaction:
|Vegetable||Peak Season||How to Choose|
|Artichokes||Best in spring||Look for heavy, plump green ones, tightly closed|
|Asparagus||Spring through summer||Look for full green color, straight stalks with white tips|
|Avocados||All year long||Shiny green or black depending on the variety|
|Beans||All year long||Green and wax varieties are green with no blemishes|
|Beans, Lima||Late summer to early fall||Look for firm and crisp beans|
|Beets||Summer to fall||Small, firm, and have green tops|
|Broccoli||All year long||Green clustered buds, not thick|
|Cabbage||Summer through winter||Brightly colored, tightly-closed heads without blemishes; heavy for their size|
|Carrots||All year long||Firm, heavy, and bright orange; look for green leaves|
|Cauliflower||All year long||Firm heads, rich green leaves|
|Celery||All year long||Crisp, pale green stalks; fresh small leaves|
|Corn||Late spring through summer||Look for medium-sized, plump milky kernels; smooth green husks, and silk ends|
|Cucumbers||All year but best in summer||Pick medium to small and bright green; avoid soft or blemished|
|Eggplant||All year but best in summer||Firm purple or white with green cap; not soft|
|Garlic||All year long||Firm with no blemishes; compact with soft skin|
|Kale||Fall through winter||Dark green, crisp leaves; thin stalks|
|Leeks||All year but best in the fall||Firm with a white base and fresh green leaves|
|Lettuce||All year long||Crisp and unblemished; avoid brown edges all varieties|
|Mushrooms||All year long||Firm, plump, and unblemished; fresh stems; avoid mold|
|Okra||Spring through fall||Young tender green pods|
|Onions||All year but best in late spring and early fall||Clean, dry, and firm with papery skins; avoid sprouts and softies|
|Peas||Spring through summer||Firm, bright green, and full pods; avoid swollen or immature pods|
|Peppers||All year long||Firm, shiny, thick flesh in all varieties; avoid black spots|
|Potatoes (white)||All year long||Firm, uniform size, and even color; avoid mold, sprouts, and soft spots|
|Pumpkins||Fall through winter||Brightly colored, firm with the stem attached|
|Radishes||All year long||Firm, smooth, and bright red or white with fresh leaves|
|Spinach||All year long||Bright green, fresh tender leaves; no yellow|
|Squash-Summer||All year but best in summer||Smooth bright skin green or yellow; heavy for size|
|Squash-Winter||Best in winter||Hard, and heavy for its size with the stem attached|
|Sweet Potatoes||All year long||Firm, uniform size, even color; avoid large-sign of age|
|Tomatoes||All year long||Firm, plump, and unblemished; heavy with fresh tops|
|Turnips||Fall through winter||Firm, smooth and unblemished; heavy for its size|
|Zucchini||All year but best in summer||Smooth bright skin green; heavy for size|
To buy vegetables in season locally in your state (US only), either from your supermarket or a local farmer's market, check out this Seasonal Ingredient Map from Epicurious.
I'm always tempted to buy strawberries in the winter, that is, until I see how much they cost… Sticking to only the “in-season” fruits and vegetables is a great way to save money. Here's a handy seasonal produce guide to keep you on track all year round.
This article was originally published by Wealth of Geeks.