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(ARA) - Summer brings a welcome change in temperature, extra hours of sunshine and the fresh fruits and vegetables from the farmer's market we've been craving all year.
Before heading out to your local farmer's market, consider the following tips from the Reynolds Kitchens to help you pick the best produce and keep it tasting just-picked fresh all year.
Explore your options
Don't purchase everything from the first stand you visit, as the variety and quality of produce will likely differ from stand to stand. Take a lap around the entire market for a better idea of where the freshest produce is and you'll walk away more satisfied with your purchases. It's not uncommon to get all of your produce from different vendors.
What to look for
Look for produce that is free from unusual odors or colors and signs of spoilage such as mold and bruising. Remember that sometimes buying under ripe produce is a good option. Peaches, cantaloupe and nectarines are examples of fruits that will continue to ripen at room temperature after they are picked. Also, don't be shy about talking with the vendors. They know which products are the freshest and most delicious.
If you like it, buy it
If you come across the sweetest strawberries or the most succulent squash at the market, don't be afraid to buy in bulk. Most of the food you'll find at the farmer's market will last for months if frozen. Storing foods using the Reynolds Handi-Vac Vacuum Sealing System virtually eliminates freezer burn and will help protect your produce.
Certain foods fare poorly in the freezer no matter how well they're packaged. Tomatoes, celery and potatoes lose their crispness and get watery. Avocados are only recommended to be frozen when mashed (not whole or sliced).
Many people avoid buying fresh fruits and vegetables - healthy meal staples - out of the fear that a large portion will go to waste. This summer, take advantage of fresh produce at the markets and simply vacuum freeze whatever won't be used in a week. Doing so will save you money and ensure that your favorite summer fruits and vegetables are always available.
Courtesy of ARAcontent
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