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How to Buy Fresh Vegetables

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In nearly every U.S. supermarket, today's consumer can find an abundant supply of fresh vegetables year-round. Fresh vegetables add color and variety to any meal.

Points to Consider

Wholesomeness...quality...nutritive value... convenience...methods of use...and informative labeling are some of the points to consider when purchasing fresh vegetables.


Demand freshness! Check the characteristic signs of freshness such as bright, lively color and crispness. Vegetables are usually at their best quality and price at the peak of their season.

Use thoughtful care to prevent injury to vegetables. Some vegetables are more hardy than others, but bruising and damage can be prevented by just being careful. The consumer pays for carelessness in the long run.

Don't buy because of low price alone. It doesn't pay to buy more vegetables than you can properly store in your refrigerator or use without waste. Most fresh vegetables can be stored for 2 to 5 days, except for root vegetables, which can be stored from 1 to several weeks.

Avoid decay. It's a waste of money to buy fresh vegetables affected by decay. Even if you do trim off the decayed area, rapid deterioration is likely to spread to the salvaged area. Paying a few cents extra for vegetables in good condition is a good investment.

Nutritive Value

Fresh vegetables provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, they are low in fat, and they provide fiber. USDA nutritionists recommend 3 to 5 servings from the vegetable group each day. Count as a serving 1 cup raw leafy vegetables, l/2 cup of other vegetables that are cooked or chopped raw, or 3/4 cup of vegetable juice. Go easy on the fat and salt added during cooking or at the table in the form of spreads, sauces, dressings, toppings, and seasonings.

Source: United States Department of Agriculture

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