colourful selection of fresh vegetables

How To Select Fresh Vegetables

How to Select Fresh Vegetables

Selecting fresh vegetables is often a matter of sight, touch, and smell. Fresh lettuce and cucumbers, for instance, have a distinctive a garden-fresh aroma. Green leafy vegetables should have a rich green colour and no wilted leaves. Never buy produce which has blemishes or mould growing on it as it could lead to food poisoning.


Good: Choose firm, crisp beans. Broad beans and some other varieties are available only in winter and should be tender.
Bad: Soft, blemishes and thick tough pods.


Good: Pick smooth, deeply coloured beets.
Bad: Tough and wilted or cracked and scaly ones may be fibrous.


Good: For best flavour, look for a dark green, even purplish colour with thin stems.
Bad: If the buds are open or yellowish, the broccoli is past its prime.


Good: Firm and hard heads which are heavy for their size and tightly packed.
Bad: Outer leaves are usually discarded but should not be wilted or yellowed. Dried or decayed which means they have been stored for a long time. Outer leaves which are worm eaten or with blemishes mean that the head itself may be infested with worms.


Good: Firm, richly coloured, and smooth.
Bad: Rough, cracked or withered carrots.


Good: The head should be firm, white to creamy white, firm and compact with the outer leaves being bright green and fresh.
Bad: Yellowish florets or with clusters which are widely separated, discoloured spots and mould growth.


Good: Firm and the skin inside should be creamy white to pale yellow.
Bad: Discoloured, dry or wet sunken spots.


Good: Choose ears with moist, tender kernels and green husks.
Bad: Wilted husks and dried kernels.


Good: Choose bright green leaves.
Bad: Dark slimy leaves and brown or white spots.


Good: Best choices are firm and deep green (or other varieties may be whitish green) in colour.
Bad: Fat ones, dull colour and those with dried, shrivelled ends.


Good: Firm, heavy, smooth, shiny and uniformly dark purple.
Bad: Holes, brown spots or blemishes. Wilted, soft and shrivelled eggplants may have a bitter flavour.


Good: The bulbs should be firm and plump and be completely surrounded by their tissue-like covering.
Bad: Green sprouts, hollow bulbs and mouldy.


Good: Look for a plump root with smooth skin.
Bad: Shrivelled with wrinkles and blemishes.


Good: Crisp, bright in colour and unbroken.
Bad: Dull in colour and wrinkled.


Good: This is actually a fruit however unripe jackfruit is used for cooking. It should be green in colour, semi-soft and have no smell. If it smells sweet then it is ripe and you can eat it raw.
Bad: Cuts and deep nicks on the outer skin. Rancid odour.

Salad leaves/Leafy greens such as spinach, etc…

Good: Tender leaves, smooth stems, no insect damage, and are rich in colour
Bad: Wilted leaves, leaves with holes in them or torn edges.


Good: For iceberg lettuce, look for round, solid heads with crisp, medium green leaves. Butter lettuce, should have soft and light green leaves.
Bad: Hard head and wilted yellowing leaves.

Lotus stem

Good: Look for crisp and firm stalks. They are usually white to light green in colour.
Bad: Brown spots and wilted.


Good: Smooth and free of bruises and other types of blemishes.
Bad: Dark patches, wrinkly and slimy.

Okra or Lady’s finger

Good: Choose okra which are a glossy rich green, small and tender, Tips should break off easily.
Bad: Seeds which can be felt from outside.


Good: Brown, red, and white onions should be mostly blemish free, firm, and dry.
Bad: Fresh sprouts as well as those which are moist and pungent.


Good: The best peas are those that are young. They will be tender and sweet, bright green, fairly well filled and a little velvety to touch.
Bad: Older pods which are a bit dried and yellow in appearance may be too mature. Watch out for wet and damaged pods which may be spoilt.


Good: Green and other-coloured bell peppers should be glossy, firm, and deeply coloured.
Bad: Soft spots or shrivelled skin.


Good: New potatoes (early spring and late winter) should be firm, with a very thin skin. Potatoes for general purpose or baking potatoes should be firm and smooth.
Bad: Bruises or cracks, sprouts or any green spots on them.


Good: Firm and glossy, heavy for their size and resonate when tapped.
Bad: Cuts, punctures, sunken spot and mouldy rind.

Sweet potatoes

Good: Should be firm.
Bad: Worm holes, cuts and wet patches on the skin are all signs of decay.


Good: Smooth skin and bright white in colour with fresh looking green tops.
Bad: Brown scars, black spots and yellow, slimy or limp tops.

Spring onion

Good: Choose those with green leaves and firm onion bulbs.
Bad: Limp and yellowish onion bulb and wilted and discoloured leaves.


Good: Choose richly coloured tomatoes that are neither too firm nor too soft. Generally, the richer the smell, the tastier the tomato.
Bad: Soft, bruised tomatoes or ones with cracked skins.


Good: Firm with smooth skin.
Bad: Soft spots and wrinkly skin.


Good: Firm smooth and the skin inside should be creamy yellow.
Bad: Discoloured, dry or wet sunken spots.


Good: Should be firm, smooth and light green to dark green.
Bad: Bruises or soft spots.

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Published on: January 25, 2016

Filled Under: How to

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