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October 21, 2004

Experts' Experts: How to buy - and care for - fresh produce


"Experts' Experts" is a new feature of bookofjoe.

The Financial Times used to have a weekly column with this same title, but they dropped it last year.

That feature was the thing I most liked about the newspaper once I started buying it at the newstand semi-regularly; it led to my subscribing.

Now I don't miss the column, since I've grown to like the paper and its excellent stable of writers very much. But I digress.

Today we feature Edmund LaMacchia, national produce coordinator for Whole Foods Market.

Here's what the pro has to say about produce.

1) Shop for fruits and vegetables on Friday afternoons or Saturdays. That's when the produce is freshest, as the stores gear up for weekend shoppers.

2) After you get home, spend some time "processing" the produce. Wash and dry lettuce (picking out the rotten leaves); blanche some of the vegetables to make it more likely you'll eat them during the next week, when you're busy.

3) Avoid very unripe produce. Look for crisp vegetables (asparagus stalks, for example, should stand straight) and weighty fruits (melons should be soft on the non-stem side).

4) To test for ripeness on delicate items like avocados or nectarines, cup them in your hand and press lightly - this avoids finger bruises.

5) Never put tomatoes in the refrigerator - it ruins their texture.

6) Ripen drupes - i.e. fruit with pits (plums, peaches, cherries and their ilk) - at around 65° - any cooler and the fruit will become rubbery.

Hmm. Maybe I should start another feature called "Word of the Day," huh?

I mean - come on - "drupe?"

[via Stephanie Clifford in the Wall Street Journal]

October 21, 2004 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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