We know the many benefits of a fruit-filled and vegetable-rich diet. You can get the best of both worlds if you have mastered the art of buying the season’s freshest produce.
The best way to test is by using your sense of sight, touch and smell. See if the colour is bright and the surface is spotless, and touch to feel the firmness as you look out for any bruises. And most importantly smell them because most locally produced fruits and veggies will retain their signature fragrance, while imported varieties are devoid of the amazing garden-fresh aromas suggesting that they contain preservatives.
We roll out a handy guide to pick the tastiest, crunchiest and juiciest fruits and veggies for your home and hearth.
1. Apple: Although apples are found through the year, the season is from August to October. Don’t buy if they are mushy or bruised. The skin of the fruit should be smooth and taut. You can also smell to check if they have that lovely apple-y fragrance. This also guarantees freshness. Although blemish-free is desirable, some of the locally grown apples also have a thicker skin with light spots.
2. Banana: There is no running away from bananas because they are found all year round. Although you might feel that a smooth and spotless peel assures you of quality, small brown spots in fact indicate ripeness and don’t necessarily mean that the banana is overripe or damaged.
3. Mango: The king of fruits is a summer favourite. The skin of the mango signals how fresh the fruit is. If it is wrinkled, it is definitely overripe. Smooth and velvety skin indicates good quality as well as freshness. Remember to take in the delicious smell of alphonso and kesar mangoes. Some mangoes also have spots but as long as they are not to mushy, you are good to go.
4. Grapes: Grapes contain potent antioxidants and the best season to buy them is from October to April. Uniformity in the bunch and a golden green colour signal the freshness and quality of the grapes. Black grapes have a deep and rich violet hue. Carefully check the stems to look for molding. When it comes to grapes, always taste one before buying the bunch.
5. Pomegranate: This heart-healthy fruit keeps you company through the year. A vibrant, glossy and smooth skin is a sure shot way of knowing that the fruit is fresh. If the weight of the fruit feels heavy for its size, you will know that the inside is densely populated with delicious arils. Tap it; if you hear a thudding dense sound, you will know that the fruit is juicy.
6. Watermelon: Most summers are incomplete without the watermelon and freshest varieties are available from April to June. Just like the pomegranate, the best watermelon should be heavier for its size. A sturdy tap on the fruit that gives a thudding sound is a good indicator of how juicy it is. Touch to feel the firmness and ensure that it is free of bruises.
7. Oranges: The zesty orange is a winter favourite and is available from October to March. This tricky fruit can deceive the eye. Even a wrinkled peel can house juicy orange segments. Of course, a smooth and glossy peel will indicate freshness but the best test is to feel the weight which should feel more for its size. Let your nose lead the way when it comes to freshness. Also, look out for any brown spots or patches which are a sure shot sign of a rotting orange.
8. Pears: Pears should be firm to touch and should not be bruised. Test the neck of the fruit for ripeness. Since the fruit ripens from the core to the outside, the neck comes closest to the core and is a good indicator of the ripeness of the fruit. Fall is the best season to buy pears. Use your nose to check the rich aroma of the fruit.
9. Pineapple: Pineapples are available through the year. Place your nose near the bottom of the fruit, the part furthest away from the spiked leaves and it should give the sweet pineapple-y fragrance. Check this part to ensure that it is not molding or mushy as a test for its freshness. The skin should be yellow-green in colour. Gauge the weight to check if it is heavier than the size indicates.
10. Papaya: This fruit fortified with Vitamin A can be eaten through the year. You can pick the freshest and best quality papaya merely by touch. Check to see that the surface is not mushy and there are no white molds in the creases. Also, the weight should be more than the size suggests.
One you are home with your big basket of fruits, store them well to retain their freshness. The new range of Whirlpool three-door World Series frost-free refrigerators are equipped with unique 6th Sense ActiveFresh technology, that will keep your fruits and vegetables fresher for longer. Moreover, the Microblock technology prevents microbial growth to keep healthy fruits fresh.
1. Onion: Although available throughout the year, the best onions are harvested in the winter. Check the peel, it needs to be silky and thin while the surface of the onion should be firm. There should be no cuts or blemishes.
2. Potatoes: The potato peel is a good indicator of its freshness. If it is thin and flaky, you have hit gold. Don’t buy potatoes that have a soft green colour or have a mushy surface.
3. Spinach: The freshest spinach is found in the winter. The green colour should be uniform from the leaf through the stem. You can gently break the corner of a leaf to check how juicy and fresh it is.
4. Cabbage: Garden-fresh cabbages are uniformly firm and the leaves are crisp with no browning. Also, the weight should be slightly heavier for its size. The best and freshest cabbages are available during winter.
5. Cauliflower: The florets should have a lovely pale white colour with no indication of browning. Also they should be compact and surrounded by fresh green leaves of the plant. Avoid buying if you notice discolouration or light brown patches. Winter is the best season to buy fresh cauliflower.
6. Tomatoes: Available throughout the year, the freshest tomatoes will have a bright, glossy and taut skin. Also, there are no spots or bruises and their surface isn’t mushy.
7. Carrots: Look for the bright orange colour and feel the firmness of the vegetable. Also look for any wrinkles or cracks that suggest that the vegetable is not fresh.
8. Lemon: The skin of the lemon is a good indicator of the freshness. Smooth and taut skin that gives out the citrus-y fragrance unique to a lime is your best bet. Browning skin signals that the lime is rotting.
9. Ladies Fingers: Ladies’ Finger or Bhindi or Okra is a readily available vegetable. Its fresh green colour and blemish-free skin will indicate the quality and freshness of the vegetable. Lightly press the surface to check for firmness. It should feel firm but not hard or mushy.
10. French Beans: A year-round vegetable, beans are consumed almost on a daily basis. Look for slender beans that appear crisp. The thicker beans are more mature and aren’t as tasty. If the skin is browning or wilting, avoid buying them.
You would want your stock of veggies to retain their freshness and nourishment for at least a week. The Fresh Keeper in the Whirlpool Protton World Series three-door refrigerators reduces the oxidation process of the vegetables and slows down decaying, thus keeping your veggies fresh for longer.
The 6th Sense ActiveFresh technology checks loss of moisture. The much needed High Moisture Retention Technology maintains optimum temperature in the vegetable compartment to avoid any damage to your veggies.
Additionally, the Microblock technology avoids microbial growth to retain nourishing properties and prevents any damage to your fruits and veggies. Enjoy cooking with these delish veggies as your health shines!
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