Selecting and Storing the Best Fresh Vegetables
The popularity of home-cooked vegetable dishes has grown steadily over the past few decades, enabling more and more people to feel like chefs in their own homes. Vegetables are important for a healthy diet and proper nutrition, and they are an essential component of every meal when someone is trying to lose weight. The quality of the produce we choose is essential to the flavor and nutrition of the meals that we prepare with them. To simplify the task of selecting the ones in the best condition, the following list describes healthy characteristics of many of the more popular vegetables and groups them according to the ideal temperatures in which they should be stored.
Cauliflower thrives during the fall and winter months. A good head of cauliflower will feel solid and heavy. Watch for rust and wilted or yellow leaves. Corn is available year round, but tastes best when cooked soon after picking. Look for fresh green husks, neither dry nor yellowed, and plump, even rows of kernels. Avoid corn with shriveled or undeveloped kernels and signs of rot or worm blight. Head lettuce is always available, but can suffer from extreme heat or cold. Its heads should be crisp; iceberg, especially, should feel very firm. Avoid any with signs of rot, browning or wilting. Cauliflower, corn and head lettuce should all be wrapped, refrigerated and eaten within a couple of days.
Broccoli can be bought all year long, but blossoms better without summer's heat. Healthy broccoli will have tight green heads without any yellow or darker coloration. Asparagus is best enjoyed fresh, because it becomes woody over time. Its stems should be plump and crisp. Spreading tips and wilted or shriveled stems are signs that it's passed its prime. Greens like kale, chard and collards are available year round, though some prefer colder weather. All varieties should be crisp and green. Look for signs of insect damage, as well as wilt, rot, and yellowing. Broccoli, asparagus and greens will remain fresh for a few days if they're refrigerated unwashed.
Cabbage is a hardy vegetable that's available throughout the year. A healthy head of cabbage feels solid and heavy - avoid ones with rust, wilt, or signs that they've been excessively trimmed. Carrots are equally sturdy and should be plump and hard. Older carrots feel tough and rubbery. Beware of greenish coloration. Both cabbage and carrots will stay fresh in the refrigerator for as long as two weeks.
Varieties of potatoes, like russet, red, and baker, are plentiful all year. All should be plump and firm, without sprouts. Watch for bruises or shriveling. Potatoes should be stored at room temperature, preferably someplace dark and ventilated.
Though they're generally more expensive, organic vegetables are usually considered a healthier choice. The sustainable, pesticide-free methods used to grow them are also gentler on our environment and help to insure that bountiful vegetables will be here for us to enjoy for years to come.
When dieting and trying to lose weight it is important to get proper nutrition, and that means consuming plenty of vegies. Since they are very low in fat and calories, they are a terrific way to keep you feeling full, while still keeping the calorie count low. Learning how to select and store vegies to maximize flavor makes it that much easier to have tasty, nutritious meals you enjoy—and this could make all the difference when it comes to sticking to your diet.