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Vegetable Selection Guidelines

General Guidelines

- Harvest cuts are a great indicator of freshness. Cuts that are overly dried, brown, or molding are great indicators of age and health of vegetables and fruits.

Storage Tips

- Don't wash vegetables before refrigeration, instead wash just before use. Excessive moisture will usually will speed time to mold or spoilage.

Alfalfa Sprouts

Choose sprouts that are dry and fresh looking, checking cuts ends for . Avoid those with a brownish coloration or containers with excessive moisture at the bottom. *Refrigerate, keep sprouts dry as they can develop mold if wet.

Artichoke (Sunchoke/Jerusalem artichoke)

We select plump olive green in color leaves, that are tightly drawn with the fewest blemeshes. We also check the cut area looking to determine freshness by checking to see how dried out this area is. Artichoke's should have a waxy and firm feel, we avoid shriveled and gray or tan cast leaves and those with flabby, limp leaves. The first layer may be discolored due to growing conditions and then we may have to check the inner leaves. *Refrigerate close to 32° for four days in closed container or plastic bag. Keep artichokes dry as they can develop mold if wet.

Arugula

Select Arugula with small to medium sized leaves that are fresh and have a good green color. Avoid overgrown leaves which are yellowing or wilted. *Can be stored in coldest part of the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. Store in a plastic bag.

Asparagus, white or green

We look for firm straight smooth stalks with tightly closed well formed tips. We can break a stock to check freshness and avoid blemishes and discoloration. Stalks that are rubbery may be tough or stringy when cooked. Prior to cooking place stalks in ice water for best results. *Store in coldest part of the refrigerator. Use as soon as possible. If storing for two or three days with a damp paper towel and or store in a plastic bag.

Babycorn

We will usually break one, checking for fresh crisp babycorn that is pale yellow to creamy white in color. We avoid selecting dry or shriveled looking babycorn. *Refrigerate and use promptly.

Bamboo shoots

Select shoots with good green color and a fresh appearance. *Refrigerate.

Bean sprouts

Select sprouts that are firm and crisp with a creamy color. We avoid yellowing or brown sprouts that have a limp appearance. *Store in the refrigerator.

Beans

We check for crispness by breaking a bean also looking for a fresh and even bright color. We avoid dry, hard, woody tectured beans and those wilted or flabby. We try to select the smaller beans, but not imature to enable the best flavor Beans. *Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator or in the crisper. Like most produce do not wash until just before use. Best if used in 2 - 4 days.

Beets

Buy smooth, firm well shaped yet slender beets with a good deep rich red color. Small to medium sized beets may have best flavor. Avoid soft, spongy, rough and shriveled beets as well as those with bruises. If beets have tops, they should be fresh looking and not shriveled. Remove tops and store with greens. *Refrigerate beets in a plastic bag.

Belgium Endive

(See endive)

Bibb lettuce

Looks for crisp leaves with no signs of decay or browning of the leaves. *All lettuce leaves should be firm, not wilted or discolored. Avoid slimy leaves or butt. Store in coldest area in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 days. Store away from fans in the refrigerator to keep dehydration to a minimum. Can be placed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for maximum humidity.

Bitter Melon

Choose a medium sized bitter melon (6 to 8 inches long) that appears free of any bruise or signs of deterioration. Fresh bitter melons should be clear green with a wrinkled surface. *Refrigerate.

Bok Choy

Choose crisp, firm Bok Choy with no signs of wilting or damage from excess moisture. *Store in refrigerator in a plastic container. Do not wash until ready to use.

Broccoli

Look for compact heads that are dark green, sage green or a purple green color. The flower clusters should be firm, compact and tightly closed. The stalks should be tender and fresh looking with a bright color. Broccoli should look and smell fresh. Avoid buds that are open or yellow or beginning to flower. Stalks should have good color and not be woody or rubbery. Avoid stalks with soft slippery spots and yellow leaves. Avoid bunches that are wilted, shriveled and those with a pungent odor. *Store in the coldest part of the refrigerator and use in 3 to 4 days. Storing in a plastic bag can increase humidity.

Brussels Sprouts

Choose small firm compact heads with tight fitting leaves that are bright green in color. Avoid yellow or wilted leaves and large puffy heads. Avoid those with black spots and holes in the leaves. Avoid sprouts with a strong odor. *Store Brussels sprouts wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Do not wash until ready to use.

Burdock

Select Burdock that looks green and fresh. Avoid any with a milky or colored juice coming from the cut end. *Refrigerate.

Butter

Butter lettuce should be fresh looking with a soft and waxy look. Avoid browning and wilted leaves.

Cabbage

(Green and Red) Look for firm heads that are heavy for their size and have a bright color. Avoid heads with numerous loose or wilted outer leaves and a puffy appearance. Also avoid those with brown or yellowing leaves. The butt end should not look too dry or brown. *Store in the refrigerator. Can be rinsed before storage and placed in a plastic bag or in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Should keep for 5 to 7 days.

Cactus Leaves (Nopales)

. Purchase crisp leaves that have a bright, light green color and few blemishes. *Store cactus leaves in the refrigerator to preserve their crisp tender texture.

Cardoon

Choose young tender plants with a small shank. Look for fresh, crisp bunches. Avoid those with any signs of wilting or decay and those with pronounced blemishes. *Keep refrigerated.

Carrots

Buy small, firm, well shaped carrots that look fresh, smooth and plump. Look for crisp carrots with good deep color. Avoid limp carrots that are rubbery and wilted. Also avoid carrots with cracks and any signs of shrivel or sprouting. Look at the stem end and avoid black or deeply discolored ends as well as those with large green areas on top. If the carrots have tops they should be green and fresh looking. Avoid wilted or discolored tops. *Store carrots in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Remove tops before storing. Can be rinsed then stored in a plastic bag for a high humidity environment. Can be kept for 1 week.

Cauliflower

Look for firm, compact, white or creamy white curds. Any jacket leaves should be fresh and green. Avoid heads with loose, spread out sections. Avoid cauliflower with brown spots and bruises. Also avoid those with leaves that are yellow, brown or limp looking. *Store in the coldest part of the refrigerator in a plastic bag. Use in 3 to 5 days.

Celeriac

(Celery Root, Celery Knob, Turnip Root) Look for plump, heavy celeriac. The smaller the root knob the more tender and less woody the celeriac is. Avoid shriveled and softness in the roots. *Trim the stalk and leaves before storage then keep in refrigerator.

Celery

Look for fresh looking, solid, rigid and well shaped stalks. Look for glossy colored stalks that are medium to light green. Any leaves should be fresh and green. Avoid pithy or woody looking stalks and those that have a hollow or discolored center. Avoid limp, pliable stalks with yellow or wilted leaves. Also avoid cracks and obvious defects. *Store in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Can be rinsed before storing in a plastic bag. Will keep for a week or more.

Celtuce

Choose Celtuce with young tender leaves that are fresh looking and green. Avoid discolored or otherwise deteriorating leaves. *Refrigerate.

Chard

(Swiss Chard) Choose fresh looking tender leaves and stems with rich green colored leaves. Avoid coarse stems and leaves with outward blemishes or wilted or yellowed leaves. *Store in the crisper in the refrigerator.

Chayote

(Vegetable pear, Chayote squash, Mirliton). Select Chayote with a rich green color and hard surface. Avoid misshapen or otherwise deteriorated Chayote. *Refrigerate.

Chervil

Salad chervil looks like parsley and should be selected and handled similarly. Parsnip chervil is a root vegetable which should be selected and handled like a turnip.

Chicory/Endive/Escarole

Look for fresh, tender looking leaves with good color. Avoid green leafed varieties that have turned yellow. Avoid limp or wilted leaves. Avoid leaves with obvious insect damage from the field. *Refrigerate wrapped in plastic for 1 to 2 days.

Chinese Cabbage

(Boc Choy) Look for fresh greens and plump stems. Avoid wilted leaves and limp stems. *May be stored in the refrigerator wrapped in moist paper. Best if used soon after purchase.

Chinese Long Beans

(Dow Kwok) Select long, thin pods that look fresh and green. *Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Collard Greens

Look for fresh looking greens that are crisp and have good green color. Avoid stems and leaves that are course, wilted or yellow. *Store in the crisper of the refrigerator.

Corn

The fresher you can buy corn the better. Corn begins to turn its sugars to starch as soon as it is harvested. Look for fresh looking kernels. The kernels should be well formed, full and tender looking. The rows should be tight. If they have the husks on, look for fresh green husks with fresh looking silk. Avoid dry looking, dented kernels, those with immature or large tough looking kernels. If it is yellow corn avoid white kernels. Also avoid dry yellowish husks. *If possible select corn that is cold and refrigerate as soon as possible and keep refrigerated until ready to use. Store with husks on and use as soon as possible.

Cucumbers

Look for firm, fresh looking cucumbers with a good green color and heavy for their size. Avoid dull or yellowish cucumbers with a puffy appearance. Also those that look wrinkled or shriveled especially on the ends. Avoid those with dark sunken areas and white or yellow areas. *Refrigerate in the warmer part of the refrigerator. (50 to 55 degrees F) Placing in a plastic bag can help maintain humidity and help avoid moisture loss and shrivel. Cucumbers should not be held at temperatures below 45 degrees for more than 2 days. Storing too cold will cause chill damage and storing above 50 will increase breakdown and can cause yellowing after 7 to 10 days above 50 degrees. Best used in 3 to 5 days.

Daikon (Japanese White radish)

Daikon (Japanese White radish) Select firm, well shaped daikons which are 8 to 10 inches long . Look for a clean, crisp appearance. Avoid any with signs of decay. *Refrigerate.

Dandelion greens

Look for crisp tender greens that are fresh and without pronounced blemishes. Select those with bright green leaves that are not too deep of a green color. Avoid wilted leaves, those that are yellowing and any signs of rot. *Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Eggplant

Buy those that are firm yet yield to gentle pressure. Choose eggplant with a dark purple-black glossy skin that is uniform in color. The cap should be fresh and green. Select an eggplant that is plump and heavy for its size. Avoid those that are shriveled, spongy and those with dark spots. Also avoid any with pronounced scars, cuts bruises and any sign of rot. The cap should not be yellow or shriveled. *Refrigerate and use as soon as possible.

Endive

(Belgium endive, French endive, Wiltloof Chicory, Curly Endive, Chicory) Should be fresh looking and clean. Avoid dry or brown leaves, frayed brown edges or small reddish brown spots. *Refrigerate all varieties. Endive and escarole can be washed before storing in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Can be kept 3 to 5 days. Chicory should be used in a couple of days. It should be placed in a plastic bag but not washed until ready to use.

Enoki Mushroom

Choose fresh looking mushrooms that are creamy white in color. Avoid any that are slimy *Refrigerate and use promptly.

Escarole

(see Endive)

Fennel(Anise, Finocchio)

Look for fresh, crisp green fennel with feather-like leaves. Look for a fat, white-green stalk. The rounded white bulb should be medium sized and firm. Avoid fennel with signs of rot, bruises and any cracks. *Refrigerate wrapped in plastic. Use in 1 to 3 days.

Fiddlehead fern

Select young, clean and fresh Fiddlehead with a clear green color. Look for those with the tip still rolled. The most delicate flavor will be from those that are young and not overgrown. Two to eight inches is best for a delicate flavor. Avoid any with pronounced deformity or blemish and those with an milky or colored juices. Also avoid any signs of rot or wilting. *Refrigerate wrapped and use within 1 to 2 days. Do not wash until ready to use.

Garlic

Look for a good sized, full bulb with big cloves. Bulbs should be firm, heavy, dry and have a paper-like crackley skin. Avoid any with soft cloves, sprouts or any signs of rot or mildew. *Store in a cool dry place away from foods which may pick up the aroma.

Green Onions(Scallions)

Choose young, tender, bright and fresh looking tops with clean white root ends and medium sized necks. Smaller bulbs, those less than 1/2 inch in diameter, tend to be sweeter than those with larger bulbs. Avoid brown or slimy tops and onions which appear wilted or discolored. *Store in a plastic bag in the coldest part of the refrigerator and use as soon as possible.

Greens (Collard, mustard, chard, Kale, turnip)

Choose fresh, bright, young and tender looking greens with good green color. Leaves and stems should be clean and free from blemish. Avoid greens with yellowed or wilted leaves and those with coarse, fibrous stems. Also avoid greens with obvious insect damage such as tiny holes in the leaves. *Refrigerate wrapped and unwashed until ready to use. Use in 1 to 3 days.

Herb

All herb should look fresh and green and brightly colored. Check for a fresh scent and squeeze a leaf to check for the characteristic odor. Avoid herb that are wilted or dry and any with yellow or browning on the leaves. Also avoid herb that have begun to flower. *Store in the refrigerator and use in a few days. Can be placed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for a humid environment. Placing stems in water or wrapped in a paper towel in the refrigerator can extend the shelf life.

Horseradish Root(German Mustard)

Choose a firm, light colored root which is plump and crisp looking with no sign of shrivel or decay. Avoid dry and shriveled roots with any soft spots and/or signs of sprouting. *Refrigerate wrapped tightly in plastic or placed in an airtight container. Best if used within a few days.

Iceberg

look for green, fresh looking and clean outer leaves tightly wrapped around the head. Choose a head that is heavy for it's size. Leaves should have good, bright color medium to light green. Avoid brown or wilted leaves and a dark brown or black butt end. Jerusalem Artichoke/Sunchoke Choose firm, hard roots without any signs of deterioration. Avoid softness, shrivel, moisture and any sings of mold or sprouting. *Store in a refrigerator crisper drawer. Jicama Choose small, well formed jicama root which is plump and crisp and free of bruises. Avoid larger roots as they can be woody. Also avoid shriveled or soft roots as well as any signs or sprouting moisture or mold. *Wrap jicama root unwashed in plastic and refrigerate.

Jerusalem Artichoke/Sunchoke

Choose firm, hard roots without any signs of deterioration. Avoid softness, shrivel, moisture and any sings of mold or sprouting. *Store in a refrigerator crisper drawer.

Jicama

Choose small, well formed jicama root which is plump and crisp and free of bruises. Avoid larger roots as they can be woody. Also avoid shriveled or soft roots as well as any signs or sprouting moisture or mold. *Wrap jicama root unwashed in plastic and refrigerate.

Kohlrabi

Look for globes about the size of large eggs. Larger sizes may be woody or tough. Tops should be green, young and fresh looking. Avoid kohlrabi with growth cracks and blemishes. Tops that are wilted should be avoided. Store bulbs and greens separately. *Store in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.

Leeks

Look for well shaped, small to medium sized leeks with fresh green tops. Look for several inches of white skin. Avoid leeks with wilted, browning or yellowing greens . Also avoid any signs of rot and bulbs with splits. *Refrigerate unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Use within 3 to 4 days.

Lettuce (Packaged)

Select bags with the longest shelf life. Often these bags are in the back. Squeeze the bag to check for air leaks. Avoid bags with brown, wilted, discolored leaves as well as those with wet or slimly leaves. Unused portions can be stored in the bag by squeezing air from he bag, rolling down the top and securing it with a rubber band or "chip clip". *Highly perishable. Refrigerate immediately after getting it home.

Mache

Select very fresh looking mache with leaves of a deep blue green color. Avoid any that appear wilted or dry. Also avoid any signs of rot. *Wrap and store in the refrigerator. Use in 1 to 2 days.

Mushroom

(Cultivated) The freshest mushrooms are plump, firm, smooth and light brown or white, with the veil underneath the cap still attached to the stem. Mushrooms purchased this way will keep longer and are excellent served raw. Fresh mushrooms have tightly closed caps that curl over the edge of the gills. (The gills are the dark fluted areas under the cap) For extra flavor, choose mushrooms with the veil open or drawn away from the stem. The wider the veil the more flavorful the mushroom Avoid blemished, bruised or slimy mushrooms.

Mushrooms

(Wild e.g. Shitake, Chantrelle, Enoke, oyster) Look for fresh firm looking mushrooms with no signs of wilt, rot, bruising or signs of moisture. *Store all mushrooms in the coldest part of the refrigerator in a paper bag or wrapped in a paper towel. Do not store in a plastic bag as this can make mushrooms slimy. Do not rinse until ready to use and never soak mushrooms. Handle mushrooms gently as they bruise easily. Highly perishable. Use as soon as possible.

Mustard Greens

Mustard greens can be light green or appear slightly bronzed. Select greens that look fresh and tender. Avoid those with yellowed leaves, those which are blemished or course and fibrous. *Refrigerate.

Nappa Cabbage

(Napa, Sui Choy, Chow Choy, Won Bok) Select medium sized heads with fresh crisp leaves and plump stems. Avoid those with wilted leaves. Also avoid very large or very firm heads as they may have exceptionally strong or pungent flavor. *Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Okra

Buy Okra that have 2 to 4 inch pods. Larger ones may be tough or woody. Pods should be bright green and unblemished. Avoid Okra that is dull or faded in color, soft, dry or shriveled and any with blackening or major discoloration. Also avoid pods with stiff tips that resist bending as those may be tough and fibrous. *Store in the refrigerator in a plastic bag and/or in the crisper compartment of the refrigerator. Can be kept for 2 to 4 days.

Onions, Dry

Choose firm, dry onions that crackle or rustle when gently pressed. The outer skin should look bright and smooth. Select onions which are firm, heavy and relatively free of blemish. Avoid onions with dampness on the neck or stem as well as those with woody centers. Also avoid those with soft necks and any that are sprouting or have green sunburn spots. *Store in a cool, dark well ventilated place. Avoid storage with potatoes as the onions may pick up moisture from potatoes which causes onions to deteriorate sooner.

Parsley

Select dark green, fresh looking parsley. Avoid parsley with yellow or discolored leaves. *Refrigerate.

Parsley root

Select fresh looking root which is plump and crisp. If leaves are attached they should also look fresh. Avoid bruised or shriveled root.

Parsnips

Choose plump, smooth, firm and well shaped parsnips which are fairly crisp. Select small to medium sized parsnips as larger parsnips may have a woody core. Avoid soft and shriveled parsnips with dry skin as well as those with large or flabby roots. Also, avoid parsnips with cracks as well as those with discoloration as the latter may be a sign of freeze damage. *Refrigerate and use within a few days.

Peas

Choose young, small, shiny green pods that appear fresh , especially at the ends. Pods should be slightly velvety to the touch and should be filled with well developed peas. Pods should not be small or bursting. Pressing pods gently together should produce a squeaky sound. Avoid pods that are filled to the bursting point. They may be over mature and have tough, mealy tasting peas. Also avoid pods that appear flat and empty as well as those that are limp, faded or discolored. *Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Use promptly.

Peppers( Bell, sweet.)

Look for firm, fresh peppers that are heavy for their size and have a tight skin. Bell Peppers come in many colors including green, red, yellow, orange purple and chocolate brown. Select peppers with good glossy color. (Tinges of red on a green bell pepper is fine.) Large peppers are often better for stuffing. Those not as pretty are just fine for cutting up and adding to a recipe. Avoid peppers that are soft or pale with thin, loose feeling skin as well as those with a dull appearance. Avoid bruised, shriveled or wilted peppers and those with brown or black spots and any with soft spots. Avoid any with decay at the stem end. *Refrigerate uncut peppers in a plastic bag in the warmer part of refrigerator. When cut, wrap in plastic before refrigerating. (45-55 degrees F) Temperature below 45 can cause chill damage and above 50 will hasten breakdown. . Keep away from high ethylene producing fruits. Use in 4 to 6 days.

Peppers (Chili)

Select peppers with good rich color that are plump and firm with a thick, glossy flesh. Avoid those that look wilted, have soft spots, shriveled skin and any signs of deterioration. *May be refrigerated wrapped loosely in a plastic bag.

Potatoes (New)

Look for fresh looking, well shaped and firm potatoes with a slightly waxy texture. Avoid those with black spots and any signs of bruising or shrivel as well and those with a spongy feel or signs of sprouting.

Potatoes (Baking)

Choose potatoes that are dry, well shaped, reasonably smooth and firm without black spots or sprouts. Avoid those with cuts, bruises and any signs of shrivel. Also avoid potatoes with greening which is caused by exposure to light. *Store potatoes in a cool, dry and dark place. This will keep them from sprouting and turning green. Do not store in the refrigerator or with onions. The refrigerator is too cold and storing with onions may cause the onions to go bad more quickly than normal. Onions extract moisture from potatoes.

Pumpkin

Select a clean pumpkin with a rich orange color. Avoid those that are cracked, scarred, moist or show any signs or breakdown. *Store at room temperature.

Radishes

Select radishes with heads that are medium sized, smooth and bright in color. They should be firm and well shaped with smooth, glossy skin. If the tops are attached, look for those with fresh looking, bright colored tops. Avoid tops that are yellow or slimy. Avoid spongy radishes with soft or black spots, any signs of wilt, sprouting and those with cracks and other signs of decay. *Store in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Remove tops before refrigerating. Can be stored in a plastic bag to increase humidity. Should be used in 2 to 4 days.

Rappini (Rape', Rapa)

Select a young tender bulb that is smooth with fresh green leaves. *Refrigerate.

Romaine and leaf

Look for good color and closely bunched fresh looking leaves. Avoid browning and wilted leaves or any signs of rust.

Rutabaga

Choose a firm, smooth rutabaga that is heavy for its size. Size is not a critical factor in deciding quality. Avoid rutabaga with punctures or deep scars. *Refrigerate.

Salad (Packaged)

Select bags with the longest shelf life. Often these bags are in the back. Squeeze the bag to check for air leaks. Avoid bags with brown, wilted, discolored leaves as well as those with wet or slimly leaves. Unused portions can be stored in the bag by squeezing air from the bag, rolling down the top and securing it with a rubber band or "chip clip". *Highly perishable. Refrigerate immediately after getting it home.

Salsify

(Oyster Plant) Select a root that is firm and gray white in color with a full, fresh looking, grassy top. Avoid salsify with any signs of deterioration. *Refrigerate.

Shallots

Choose firm, dry shallots with firm well rounded bulbs about 3/4 inch in diameter. The outer skin should be smooth and dry without any shriveling. Avoid spongy bulbs and those that are sprouting. *Store shallots in the refrigerator in a tightly closed paper bag. They should be cool and dry.

Shallots, (Dry)

Look for dry shallots with plump firm and heavy cloves. The skin should have a dry papery texture with a light sheen and gray to reddish brown color. *Store in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place. Avoid storage with potatoes as the onions may pick up moisture from potatoes which cause onions to deteriorate sooner.

Snow Peas

(a.k.a. sugar peas, China peas) Choose flat translucent pods that are bright green and appear crisp. Avoid those with brown spots or other signs of decay. *Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator to increase the humidity.

Sorrel (French, Garden)

Look for sorrel with small, light green leaves that are crisp, fresh looking and free from blemishes. Some varieties will have stems that are light green or red. Avoid wilted leaves, any signs of yellowing and woody stems. *Store in the refrigerator unwashed and wrapped. Use within a few days.

Soybean

Choose flat pods that appear crisp, fresh and green. *Store in the refrigerator.

Spinach

Choose fresh, clean, crisp looking bunches with large deep, dark green colored leaves. Avoid wilted yellowish, or otherwise discolored leaves as well as any signs of rot or bruising. Avoid spinach with obvious signs of insect damage. *Store in the coldest part of the refrigerator in a plastic bag. Use in 2 to 3 days.

Squash

(Summer or Soft shell such as Zucchini/Italian/yellow/crockneck). Choose glossy, fresh looking squash that are small to medium sized with tender rind. Look for those that are heavy for their size. Avoid overly spongy, shriveled squash, those with damaged areas and those with soft spots or watery areas. Handle carefully to avoid bruising. *Store in the refrigerator. (45 - 55 degrees F) Use as soon as possible. Can be stored in a plastic bag to help prevent dehydration.

(Winter or Hard shell) Acorn/Butternut/Buttercup/Banana/Hubbard/Spaghetti/Turban. Select hard shell (winter) squash with a hard tough rind. Look for squash that is heavy for its size Avoid bruised squash and those with soft spots as well as those that are discolored or with other signs of deterioration. *Can be stored at room temperature.

Sugar Cane

Look for firm hard stalks that are free of deformity or signs of deterioration. *Store in a cool dry place.

Sweet potatoes

(Generally light in color with a yellowish tan. Inside is light yellow or pale orange.) Yams (coppery or brownish in color with a deep orange inside.) Choose small to medium sized tubers that taper at both ends. Choose those that are plump, firm and well shaped with smooth skin and an even color. Avoid those with bruises, growth cracks, damp areas as well as those that are discolored or shriveled and with any signs of sprouting.. Handle carefully as sweet potatoes can bruise easily which can lead to rot, discoloration and faster breakdown. *Store in a dark humid place. Do not refrigerate. Can be kept for a week or two.

Tamarillo (Cyphomandra)

Choose tamarillo with clear, reddish-purple skin. Avoid those with bruises or soft spots. *Refrigerate.

Taro Root

(Dasheen) Select firm, plump, crisp taro root. Avoid those with signs of deterioration such as bruises, moisture, shrivel, mold or sprouting.. The color of taro root when cooked can range from green to purple to violet. The richness of the color directly proportional to the richness in flavor. *Refrigerate in a plastic bag.

Tofu

(Soybean Curd) Select tofu that is firm and fresh looking with a creamy color. *Refrigerate.

Tomatillo

Look for dry clean husks that are bright green to yellow. Avoid those that are bruised or have other signs of decay. *Refrigerate.

Tomatoes

Select tomatoes that are firm (not hard) and plump with a tight skin. Look for clean, evenly colored tomatoes without blemish. Avoid those with a dried out calyx at the stem, spongy tomatoes, those that are too soft or split. Tomatoes continue to ripen after harvest. To eat today choose full colored, evenly red, ripe looking tomatoes. A lighter red or green color indicates that the tomato needs more ripening time. For later, use a tomatoes can be ripened at home. Place them in a warm spot or in a paper bag until ready to eat. To speed the process, place a high ethylene producing fruit such as a banana in the bag with the tomato. To test for ripeness, gently squeeze the tomato in your palm. A ripe tomato will slightly to gentle pressure. A Roma tomato may be slightly firmer when ripe as they contain less juice. *Store tomatoes at room temperature. Never refrigerate whole tomatoes. They will lose flavor, become watery inside and the seeds can become bitter. In addition, if an unripe tomato is stored in the refrigerator it may never ripen properly even if taken out to ripen.

Topepo

This is a cross between a sweet pepper and a tomato. Select those with a rich, even color and smooth firm skin. Avoid any with obvious signs of deterioration. *Refrigerate.

Truffle

When selecting truffles, keep in mind that they will naturally be less evenly shaped than many mushroom varieties. Choose those that are light in color, fresh looking and cool to the touch. *Refrigerate but not in plastic bag. Do not wash until ready to use. Covering truffles with a damp towel can keep moisture in.

Turnips

Choose roots that are small to medium sized, firm and heavy for their size. They should be rounded and smooth. Avoid those with cuts, cracks or punctures as well as overly large ones which may be woody or pithy. Bunched turnips should have fresh, crisp looking greens. Yellow wilted leaves should be avoided. *Store turnips and rutabagas in a cool humid place. Turnips can be refrigerated. Turnip greens should be refrigerated and used right away.

Vegetable Marrow

(Chinese squash, amrrow squash) Look for young and tender looking vegetables with glossy skin. Avoid those with bruises or pronounced blemish. *Store in the refrigerator.

Verdolaga (Purslane, Fatweed)

Look for small green leaves with crisp, fresh looking playable stems. Avoid those with wilted or scarred leaves. *Refrigerate.

Wasabi root

Choose firm, plump and fresh looking wasabi without signs of shrivel or decay. Avoid dry, shriveled roots with any soft spots. Leaf sprouting is not ideal but limited sprouting is acceptable as long as the root is firm. It is natural that the roots look gnarled and warty. *Refrigerate and use within a few days.

Water Chestnut(Chinese Water Chestnut, Waternut)

Look for fresh looking, crisp chestnuts. Avoid shriveled and dry looking chestnuts. *Store in a non-water tight jar.

Watercress

Choose bunches that look fresh, bright and clean. Avoid those with wilted or discolored leaves. *Store at home in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Sort out any bad sprigs in the bunch.

Winter melon

Look for clear, fresh looking rinds with finely textured meat. *Refrigerate.

Yucca root

(Also known as Manioc, Cassava, Casava) Look for a clean root with a creamy colored center. Yucca should be free from blemish or other signs of deterioration. *Store n the refrigerator
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