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Produce

Welcome to The Produce Department.

Field picked flavorful fruits and vegetables are guaranteed fresh everyday at Rosauers. You’ll find produce at the peak of its season with an incredible selection of certified organics, herbs and specialty items from around the world throughout our department. Not sure of the taste? Just ask one of our produce experts for a sample. We’re happy to answer any question you might have about taste, selection or preparation.

Fruit

 

  • Apples

    Selecting

    With many different varieties of apples grown around the world, Washington State grows the majority of apples consumed by Americans. Whatever the color or variety you choose, look for bruise-free fruit with firm, shiny skin. Since apples are a hardy fruit they are available year-around, new crop apples are available from summer's end through late fall.

    Varieties

    • Braeburn
    • Cameo
    • Fuji
    • Gala
    • Gingergold
    • Golden Delicious
    • Granny Smith
    • Honeycrisp
    • Jonagold
    • Macintosh
    • Pink Lady
    • Red Delicious
    • Rome

    Storing

    Ideal storage for apples, are under refrigeration between 34-38 F, where they can last up to 90 days. At room temperature apples ripen within a day or two, so if you consume them in a few days they are fine on the counter. Apples will absorb odors produced by potatoes, bulb onions, or any strong flavored item. When apples ripen, they emit a lot of ethylene gas, which causes other fruit and vegetables to ripen faster so it is recommended to keep them in their own crisper.

    Preparation

    Most apples are consumed fresh, but some are canned or used for juice. Another popular use of apples is in baking because they blend so well with a variety of spices and flavors. Apples complement pork, squash, and a range of cheeses.

  • Apricots

    Selecting

    The apricot is a stone fruit, which also includes plums, peaches, nectarines, cherries and almonds. When selecting apricots, look for golden yellow color, plumpness and firmness. When ripe, apricots should yield to small amounts of gentle pressure and have a sweet fragrance. Shriveled skin, bruises and or soft spots are to be avoided when selecting apricots; the skin should be smooth and velvety.

    Storing

    Apricots ripen at room temperature; you can ripen them faster by putting them in a paper bag with an apple, banana or pear. Once ripen they will last a couple of days under refrigeration. Only wash apricots when ready to eat.

    Preparation

    Since the season for apricots is very short, canning and freezing them is very popular. When canning apricots follow procedures for canning normal fruit. In order to freeze apricots, halve and take out the pit. Then place fruit single layer on a sheet and freeze, once frozen put in freezer bag or freezer container and place back in freezer.

  • Bananas

    Selecting

    Select bananas that are not quite full yellow, slightly green, firm and without bruises. Firm bananas are less likely to be bruised and will continue to ripe at room temperature.

    Storing

    
Once the bananas have reached the stage of ripeness one prefers, place the bananas in refrigeration. The skin of the banana will turn dark, but the edible portion will remain unchanged for 3-6 days. Unripe bananas should not be refrigerated because the cold can interfere with ripening process of the banana. Unripe bananas should be placed in a paper or plastic bag to speed up the ripening process.

    Preparation

    Ripe bananas can be peeled and ready to eat, or used in many desserts, and cakes. Over ripe bananas cut and freeze and use in smoothies, or defrost and mash them for baking or making fruit sauces.

  • Blackberries

    Selecting

    
When selecting blackberries look for plump, deep color, clean and fresh in appearance. Blackberries do not ship very well because they are highly perishable berry, so local grown blackberries are your best bet. Check blackberry containers for mold, overripe berries, and or leaky berries which is a sign of distressed fruit.

    Storing

    Blackberries should be consumed shortly after purchase and will only last a few days refrigerated after purchase. Best when stored on a shallow tray single layer with paper towels placed over the top. Always remove moldy berries and consume the soft, overripe berries immediately and return the rest of the berries in to refrigeration. Like all berries blackberries freeze very well.

    Preparation

    Blackberries are a great addition to any diet, they can be enjoyed by the handfull, baked goods, breakfast cereals, pancakes, and yogurt or ice cream. Blackberries make great jams, jellies and pies.

  • Blueberries

    Selecting

    
When selecting blueberries look for deep – purple to dark blue, firm and plump. Unlike other berries blueberries should have a chalky appearance instead of a shiny appearance like the strawberry, blackberry or even raspberries. Check blueberry containers for mold, overripe berries, and or leaky berries, which is a sign of distressed fruit.

    Storing

    
When storing blueberries, open container and sort through berries discarding moldy or overripe berries. Berries that are ripe ready to eat should be eaten in 24 hours. In refrigeration blueberries should last up to a week continuing to inspect for overripe or moldy berries. Blueberries freeze very well but their taste and texture will be slightly different. When freezing blueberries make sure berries are not washed and completely dry.

    Preparation

    Blueberries are a great addition to any diet; by the handful, baked goods, breakfast cereals, pancakes, and yogurt or ice cream. Blueberries make great jams and pies; and also a great addition to pancakes, muffins, waffles, or cake batters.

  • Cherries

    Selecting

    When selecting cherries handle with care to avoid bruising or other damages. Cherries should appear fresh, firm, well matured and well colored for the variety of the fruit. Choose cherries that are large approximately one inch in diameter or larger.

    Storing

    Store cherries unwashed and loosely packed in a plastic bag for up to one week. Sort cherries every day and remove damaged or spoiled fruit to protect the rest of the cherries. Freezing cherries is another good way to store cherries and can last up to one year, do this by rinsing and draining cherries. Then pack into freezer proof containers or plastic freezer bags; remove excess air and freeze.

    Preparation

    Principal uses of cherries are eating out of hand, in salads, cooked in pies, tarts, cakes, jellies, jams, preserves, sauces, pickles and candies. They are used in ice cream, puddings and other desserts, as well as fruit cups. The task of pitting cherries can be done as simple as taking a straw and pressing it through the center of the cherry beginning at the bottom of the cherry. The straw will push out the pit and leave a small tunnel through the cherry. Using cherry pitter is the easiest way to pit a cherry.

  • Coconut

    Selecting

    
When selecting coconuts look for those that are heavy for their size and in which the coconut water swishes around when shaken.

    Storing

    Coconuts can be stored at room temperature for two weeks without loss of quality.

    Preparation

    
In order to crack the coconut there are three soft spots at the top of the shell. Pierce these with an ice pick, or similar sharp tool, drain the milk; then tap all over with a hammer until the hard shell cracks and falls off. Coconuts can be used in many dishes and usually is shredded.

  • Cranberries

    Selecting

    
When selecting cranberries look for glossy, firm, plump and red berries. Cranberries that are shriveled, dull in appearance, softness or stickiness, are undesirable.

    Storing

    Storing cranberries is as easy as placing the sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to two months. Freezing cranberries is also simple; place sealed plastic bag in freezer for future needs for up to a year.

    Preparation

    
When preparing fresh cranberries always wash and pick over the berries, discarding any undesirable berries. Frozen cranberries should be thawed out when ready to use, simply rinse with cold water and use immediately. One pound of berries measures approximately four cups and makes about one quart of whole berry or jellied sauce. Cranberries side dishes go along with any variety of meat but most popular with chicken and turkey dinners. The berries are also great toppers for ice cream, cake, muffins, scones, sandwiches and even a glaze for baked hams..

  • Grapefruit

    Selecting

    When selecting grapefruit, look for a heavy, firm and smooth texture, with a well rounded or flattened shape indicating a juicy grapefruit. Since grapefruit is three quarters liquid heaviness is a good indication of juice content. Do not worry about color when selecting grapefruit; color can range from pale yellow to russet or bronze. Brightly colored fruit is naturally more appealing but it does not mean it is going to be juicier or taste better. Minor surface blemishes do not affect the eating quality, although the presence of a bad bruise may indicate some internal breakdown.

    Storing

    Store grapefruit at room temperature for up to a week and up to four weeks in the refrigerator.

    Preparation

    Grapefruits like oranges can be juiced or added to drinks, fruit salads and salad dressings for a refreshing taste. It also can be sautéed, made into jellies, marmalades or added to chutney. For breakfast, cut in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon to enjoy a nutritious meal. Add shredded grapefruit peel to sauces and salad dressings. Always rinse grapefruit under cool water before eating.

  • Grapes

    Selecting

    
When selecting grapes, choose those bunches that are well formed and look fresh. Color is a good guide to ripeness; fully ripened grapes are fairly soft to the touch and tender to the taste. Unlike other fruit, grapes will not ripen in color, sugar content or quality after they are harvested from the vine

    Storing

    Store grapes unwashed in an open plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to one week. Freezing grapes is a simple but useful way to store grapes, simply wash and pat dry, arrange individual grapes in a single layer on a sheet, freeze, and then transfer to an airtight container or plastic freezer bag.

    Preparation

    Like all fruit, grapes should be rinsed before consumption. Grapes are great eaten by themselves, but can also be tossed into salads, yogurt and cereal. Frozen grapes make a great dessert or a nice summertime snack.

  • Lemons & Limes

    Selecting

    
An easy rule in selecting citrus fruit is that they should feel firm and heavy for their size. Good color, shiny peel and a fresh appearance are also important. Avoid fruit that is misshapen or obviously damaged. Thinner-skinned fruits tend to be juicier than those with thicker skins.

    Storing

    Refrigerate limes and lemons up to three weeks or keep at room temperature and away from direct sunlight for up to a week. When sliced, refrigerated immediately.

    Preparation

    Fresh lemon and lime juice is used in the preparation of many beverages. They are used as flavoring for jellies, jams and marmalades. Slices of either fresh lemon or limes make attractive garnishes for meat and fish dishes. Their juices are a popular ingredient in salad dressings and seasonings. 

  • Melons

    Varieties

    • Cantaloupe
    • Casaba
    • Crenshaw
    • Honeydew
    • Persian
    • Watermelon

    Storing

    Ripe melons can be refrigerated for a few days while whole watermelons can be stored at room temperature for five to seven days. Once a melon is cut it must be wrapped and stored in the refrigerator, lasting up to five days.

    Preparation

    All melons need to be washed thoroughly with soap and water to avoid food poisoning; when sliced the knife will push bacteria into the flesh of the melon. Melons can be served plain or with other fruits, berries and or ice cream. Melons fit into any meal as an appetizer, salad or dessert.

  • Oranges

    Selecting

    
When selecting oranges, choose oranges that feel firm and heavy for their size. Good color and a fresh appearance are also important. Avoid fruit that is misshapen or obviously damaged. Thinner-skinned fruits tend to be juicier than those with thicker skins. Tangerine is another name for the Mandarin orange variety.

    Varieties

    • Blood Oranges
    • Valencia Oranges
    • Navel Oranges
    • Mandarin Oranges
    • Clementines
    • Satsuma
    • Tangelos (Minneolas/Orlandos)

    Storing

    Oranges will keep at room temperature for three or four days and up to two weeks if refrigerated. Mandarins and tangelos are more delicate and should not be kept at room temperature for more than a day or two, and will last up to a week in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.

    Preparation 

    Fresh oranges aren’t just for snacking and juicing. They can also be used in desserts and in cooked dishes, particularly with poultry. Grated orange peel (zest) can be used to flavor a wide variety of foods.

  • Peaches

    Selecting

    When selecting peaches look for mature peaches. A red blush doesn’t necessarily indicate ripeness, but peaches with skins that show a background color of yellow or warm cream are a good indicator of ripeness. Select peaches that are firm but give a little when squeezed gently.

    Storing

    Peaches usually require additional ripening after purchased. To ripen, allow peaches to sit a few days at room temperature. Once fully ripened they are ready to eat or can be refrigerated for later use. A good indicator of when a peach is ripe, they should yield to the touch and have a sweet peach aroma.

    Preparation

    Once fully ripened they are ready to eat or can be refrigerated for later use. A good indicator of when a peach is ripe, they should yield to the touch and have a sweet peach aroma.

  • Pears

    Selecting

    
Pears are packed and shipped green, because the best flavor and texture develop when pears are ripened off the tree (the sugar content increases, due to conversion of starch to sugar). A pear characteristically has minor surface blemishes on the skin known as russeting. These blemishes are natural and do not affect the pears flavor. In general when selecting a pear, big plump pears are the most desirable.

    Varieties

    • Bartlett
    • Seckel
    • Anjou
    • Red Anjou
    • Bosc
    • Comice

    Storing

    Pears are picked mature but not ripe. They generally require additional ripening at home at room temperature. Pears ripen from the inside out and should be consumed before soft on the outside.

    Preparation


    Pears are a good ingredient for stuffing, and work as a nice addition to many meats, as well as in fruit salads. Pears are very sweet and juicy making them a great out-of-hand snack. They can also be used for poaching or baking.

  • Pineapples

    Selecting

    
When selecting pineapple, select one that is plump and fresh looking and as large as possible; the larger the fruit, the greater the proportion of edible flesh. Fresh deep green crown leaves and sweet pineapple aroma at the bottom of the pineapple should be noticeable.

    
Storing



    Pineapple will not ripen after it has been picked from the tree, and should be consumed shortly after purchase. Pineapple will last up to three days stored at room temperature, and up to one week if refrigerated. 

    Preparation

    Fresh pineapples are sliced, grated or cubed and eaten plain, dipped in sugar, or mixed with other fruits. They are used as an appetizer, salad or dessert. Add to lemon pies, cook with meats or combine with cheese chunks for hors d’oeuvres.

  • Plums

    Selecting

    
When selecting plums look for plump, well-colored plums that also yields to the touch. Plums that have wrinkled skin, soft spots and breaks in the skin should be avoided.

    
Storing

    
Plums that are ripe and ready to eat should be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days. Plums that are not ripe can be stored at room temperature until ripe. To speed up the ripening process place plums in a brown paper bag with the top folded over, but not sealed, for a couple of days or until ripe.

    Preparation

    Plums have many traditional uses, such as ingredients in pies, puddings, preserves, jellies and jam. They can also be stewed, scalloped, poached or sliced into salads, served with ice cream, slaw, sherbet, cake, or as a condiment for meats and poultry. Plums are also used in a variety of sauces and glazes.

  • Raspberries

    Selecting

    
When selecting raspberries look for a plump, deep color, and clean and fresh appearance. 

    
Storing

    
Raspberries should be consumed shortly after purchase and will only last a few days in refrigeration. Raspberries are best when stored on a shallow tray single layer with paper towels placed over the top. Like all berries, raspberries freeze very well.

    Preparation

    Raspberries are a great addition to any diet and can be eaten by the handful, or added to baked goods, breakfast cereals, pancakes, and yogurt or ice cream. Raspberries also make great jams and pies fillings.

  • Strawberries

    Selecting

    
When selecting strawberries size has no bearing on the berry's sweetness. Strawberries should be firm, plump, red in color and have an attached green cap. Packaged strawberries need to be examined for spoilage or extreme moisture or mold.

    
Storing

    
When storing strawberries, open container and sort through berries discarding moldy or overripe berries. Berries that are ripe and ready to eat should be eaten within 24 hours. In refrigeration strawberries should last up to a week, continuing to inspect for overripe or moldy berries. Strawberries freeze very well and can last up to one year if frozen.

    Preparation

    
Strawberries are great additions to any diet. They can be eaten by the handful, or added to baked goods, breakfast cereals, pancakes, yogurt or ice cream. Strawberries make great jams and pies. 

  • Tomatoes

    Selecting

    
When selecting tomatoes look for tomatoes that are heavy for their size. The size of the tomato itself has no affect on taste, it is just a matter of preference. Tomatoes should be firm but yield to the touch. Color and smell are also great indicators of ripeness; unripe tomatoes will have no smell and be pink or lighter in color.

    
Storing

    
Most tomatoes today are picked before fully ripened. They are bred to continue ripening, but the enzyme that ripens tomatoes stops working when it reaches temperatures below 12.5°C (54.5°F). Once an unripe tomato drops below that temperature, it will not continue to ripen. Once fully ripe, tomatoes can be stored in the refrigerator but are best kept and eaten at room temperature. Tomatoes stored in the refrigerator tend to lose flavor, but will still be edible. To speed up the ripening process of a tomato, store it with an apple or banana in a closed brown paper bag at room temperature.

    Preparation

    
Small tomatoes are good for sauces and casseroles, while medium to large tomatoes are usually used for slicing. Jumbo size tomatoes are commonly used for stuffing. Fresh tomatoes are ideal in salads and sandwiches; but can be used in soups, stews, sauces and dressings. Tomatoes are a delicious snack eaten right out of the hand, but can also be cooked in many forms including stewed, fried and baked.

 

Vegetables

 

  • Artichokes

    Selecting

    Artichokes are one of the oldest foods known to man. Size has little to do with the quality or flavor of the artichoke. Look for compact, heavy plump heads. Research has found that artichokes contain a high amount of antioxidants, which have been shown to help fight cancer.

    Storing

    
Storage is best in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to seven days.

    Preparation

    In the US, whole Globe Artichokes are most frequently prepared for cooking by removing all but 5–10 mm or so of the stem, and (optionally) cutting away about a quarter of each scale with scissors. This removes the thorns that can interfere with handling the leaves when eating. Then, the artichoke is boiled or steamed until tender. If boiling, salt can be added to the water, if desired. It may be preferable not to cover the pot while the artichokes are boiled, so that the acids will boil out into the air. Covered artichokes can turn brown due to the acids and chlorophyll oxidation. Leaves are often removed and eaten one at a time, sometimes dipped in vinegar, butter, mayonnaise, lemon juice or other sauces. The heart of the artichoke is also eaten. Artichoke stems, which are often thrown away, are perfectly edible and taste like the artichoke heart.


  • Asparagus

    Selecting

    When selecting asparagus look for stalks that are straight, fresh appearing, and uniform in size to ensure that they are done cooking at the same time. Asparagus should be firm with closed, compact tips and a good green color. The thickness of the stalk is not important; both thin and thick asparagus can be tender.

    Storing

    
Eat fresh asparagus as soon as possible, although it can be stored in the refrigerator. To extend the life of the asparagus so it doesn’t dry out, wrap ends of asparagus with a moist paper towel.

    Preparation

    Cooking asparagus is very simple, break off each stalk as far down as it snaps easily. Wash remaining asparagus thoroughly, and then it is ready to be boiled, steamed, grilled or roasted.

  • Avocados

    Selecting

    Avocados vary widely in weight, texture, shape, and thickness of skin. When choosing an avocado avoid those that have dark, soft spots on their surface. As for quality or flavor size, shape and color have no impact. To pick out a ripe avocado, put light pressure from your fingertips on the outer rind. If it yields, it's ripe.

    Storing

    
Unripe avocados should be placed in a paper bag at room temperature and will ripen in 2 to 5 days. To speed up the ripening process place an apple, pear, or banana in the bag. To maintain the color off a cut or sliced avocado brush the surface with lime or lemon juice. After an avocado is ripe you can place into refrigeration for a few days to keep it from becoming overly ripe.

    Preparation

    Avocados can be used in many recipes and dishes. The most popular avocado dish is guacamole, but avocado can also be used in or on sandwiches and hot dishes such as soups, stews and omelets, added just before serving.

  • Beets

    Selecting

    Beets come in a variety of colors, most commonly a deep purple-red color. When choosing beets look for smooth, firm and with little to no blemishes on the skin. When purchasing bulk beets they should be fresh and dirt-free, and bunch beets (beets with the leaves still intact) should look fresh with a deep color.

    Storing

    
Beets last two to three weeks in refrigeration if purchasing bunch beets, cut the leaves off about an inch above the beet, then refrigerate the beets and greens separately in plastic bags.

    Preparation

    The leaves and stems of young plants are steamed briefly and eaten as a vegetable; older leaves and stems are stir-fried and have a flavor resembling taro leaves. The usually deep-red roots of a garden beet are eaten, boiled, cooked, or cold as a salad after cooking and adding oil and vinegar. A large proportion of the commercial production is processed and pickled for the consumer

  • Bell Peppers

    Selecting

    When selecting peppers look for thick walled, smooth and free of wrinkles. The stem and the pepper both should be bright in color, and the stem should be sturdy and fresh. Peppers change in color as they mature starting out green when young, changing to red and then orange, mature peppers are also sweeter.

    Storing

    Unwashed peppers can be stored up to a week refrigerated in a plastic bag. Freezing bell peppers is another good way to store them, simply wash them, core them, and then slice into pieces.Layer the cut peppers and freeze, after frozen, transfer into freezer container or freezer bag and store back in the freezer. Like most frozen vegetables they should be used within 6 months.

    Preparation

    When preparing bell peppers always wash before use then gently carve the stem and core from the bell pepper. Then shake out the remaining seeds and remove as much of the white ribs as possible. Green peppers are delicious stuffed and baked. Red peppers are delicious diced and mixed with sweet corn or other vegetables. All sweet peppers can be canned or pickled in brine for use in salads or other foods. They are also good fried, used in soups and stews, boiled or with other vegetables in a veggie tray.

  • Broccoli

    Selecting

    Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family and a first cousin of cauliflower in which they are both served practically the same way. When selecting broccoli look for plenty of green coloring in the heads as well as in the leaves and stems. Size of the heads may vary but this bears no relation to the eating quality. Broccoli floret buds should be dark green or purplish-green with tight and compact buds. 

    Storing

    Refrigerate broccoli in an open plastic bag unwashed to maintain freshness. Broccoli will last up to four days refrigerated and unwashed, wash broccoli only when ready to be prepared

    Preparation

    To prepare broccoli for cooking, wash and trim the main stem. Do not remove the whole stem because the stalk is edible. Cooking broccoli can be done in a variety of ways including boiling, steaming, microwaving, and stir-frying. Broccoli can be used in a number of dishes including soups, salads, pasta, stir-fries, or as a side dish. 

  • Brussel Sprouts

    Selecting

    Brussels sprouts look like miniature cabbages and received their name from the Belgian city of Brussels, where they were first grown in the 13th century. When selecting brussels sprouts look for sprouts that are firm, compact, fresh, and contain a good, green color. When possible, select sprouts of uniform size for uniform cooking.

    Storing

    

Refrigerate brussels sprouts in an open plastic bag unwashed to maintain freshness. 

    Preparation

    Cooking methods include boiling, steaming and roasting. Whatever cooking method is employed, care must be taken not to overcook. Overcooking releases sulphur compounds and is the reason many people dislike brussels sprouts. Generally 6-7 minutes boiled or steamed is enough to cook, without overcooking and releasing the sulphur compounds. 

  • Cabbage

    Selecting

    When selecting cabbage look for well-trimmed, reasonably solid heads that are heavy for their size and show no discolored veins. Cabbage comes in a variety of types including green, red, savoy, bok choy, and napa cabbage. 

    Storing

    
Cut cabbage should be used within two days of processing and to protect it from discoloration spray a little lemon juice on the shredded cabbage. Whole cabbage will last up to four weeks depending on type and variety. Green and red cabbage will last the longest, while the looser heads of the savoy, napa and bok choy will not last as long. Like most vegetables, store unwashed to retain freshness. Cabbage will last the longest in an unsealed plastic bag.

    Preparation

    Common uses of cabbage are in cole slaw, stews, salads, stir-fries, and soups. Try cabbage as a substitute for lettuce in many dishes even tacos.

  • Cauliflower

    Selecting

    Cauliflower is a member of the cabbage family and a first cousin of broccoli. When selecting cauliflower look for ivory white heads and avoid spotted, speckled or bruised heads. Size of heads may vary but this bears no relation to the quality.

    Storing

    
Refrigerate cauliflower in an open plastic bag unwashed to maintain freshness. Cauliflower will last up to four days refrigerated and unwashed, wash cauliflower only when ready to be prepared.

    Preparation

    To prepare cauliflower for cooking, the outer leaves and thick stalks are removed, leaving only the florets. The leaves are also edible, but are most often discarded. The florets should be broken into similar-sized pieces so they are cooked evenly. After eight minutes of steaming, or five minutes of boiling, the florets should be soft, but not mushy (depending on size). Cooking cauliflower can be done in a variety of ways including steaming, microwaving, and stir-frying. Unlike broccoli boiling cauliflower may cause the cauliflower to emit a sulfurous smell. Cauliflower can be used in a number of dishes including soups, salads, pasta, stir-fries, and as a side dish just by itself. 

  • Cucumbers

    Selecting

    When selecting cucumbers look for firm, heavy and a dark green colored skin. The color of the cucumber is very important, as the older ones will turn yellow or dull green. Baby cucumbers and green house cucumbers (English cucumber) will have fewer seeds and a milder flavor.

    Storing

    Cucumbers can be stored for up to a week in the refrigerator unwashed. Sliced or cut cucumbers should be stored in a sealed container refrigerated and used within a day or two.

    Preparation

    Cucumbers can be prepared in a variety of ways but always wash before serving. Serve cucumbers peeled or unpeeled. Cucumbers are more nutritious with the skin left on. Seeds are edible but can be removed very easily just slice cucumber length wise in half and gently scrape out seeds. Cucumbers are great in many summertime dishes and or eaten raw. They also go great in relish trays, sandwiches, or even just sliced with vinegar, salt and pepper for a refreshing side dish.

  • Eggplant

    Selecting

    
Eggplant comes in a variety of colors including white, purple, purple-black, yellowish-white, red or striped. Most eggplants are the dark purple, egg shaped variety, but long Japanese eggplant is popular as well. When selecting, look for glossy and dark colored skin that covers the entire fruit. Heaviness and firmness is also important in selecting eggplant. Eggplants with a diameter of three to six inches will have fewer seeds and firmer texture.

    Storing

    
Store eggplant in the refrigerator unwashed and in a sealed plastic bag for up to a week.

    Preparation

    Eggplant is a good substitute for meat in many dishes. Cut large eggplant in half and stuff with meat, fish or vegetables. Smaller eggplant can be cooked or stuffed for individual servings. Eggplant can be baked, broiled, scalloped, marinated or sautéed and topped with a variety of toppings including cheese, creamed mushrooms, sour cream and or tomatoes.

  • Fennel

    Selecting

    
When selecting fennel (also known as finocchio), the stocks should be fresh, clean, crisp and solid. The bulbs should be firm and clean with stocks still intact.

    Storing

    Store fennel in refrigerator unwashed for up to four days.

    Preparation

    To prepare fennel, cut off the stems and leaves. These parts can be used for flavoring stews and soups, or for sprinkling over dishes. Fennel has a mild licorice flavor and is a traditional fish herb. Fennel works well in lamb dishes, omelets, salads and herb breads. Stalks can be used in any recipe that calls for celery or can be used in creamy celery soup. The fennel bulbs can be quartered and eaten raw with salt or make an interesting addition to any salad. The bulb can be braised, steamed or boiled for many of your favorite dishes including stews and soups.

  • Garlic

    Selecting

    
When selecting garlic look for garlic bulbs that are large with a few layers of husk around the bulb. The heavier the bulb, the fresher the garlic will be. Bulbs that are light for their size usually indicate that they are older. Garlic bulbs should be clean clean and white with a dried neck and outer skin and quite firm under pressure.

    Storing

    Properly stored, unpeeled garlic can last for months. Store unpeeled garlic in an open container in a dry, cool place away from other foods. Do not refrigerate or freeze unpeeled garlic. Peeled garlic cloves may be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Garlic should be discarded if it becomes soft or spongy or shows signs of mold.

    Preparation

    Garlic can be used in many dishes. To use garlic, first separate the individual cloves. Place the bulb on a cutting board or hard surface and gently, but firmly, apply pressure to cause the layers of skin that hold the bulb together to separate.

  • Green Beans

    Selecting

    
When selecting green beans look for long, straight beans. They should have a firm texture and "snap" when broken. 

    Storing

    Store unwashed fresh beans pods in a plastic bag kept in the refrigerator crisper. Whole beans stored this way should keep for about seven days.

    Preparation

    Fresh green beans should be rinsed and trimmed at both ends before use. Green beans can be cooked in a variety of ways including, steaming, blanching, microwaving or stir frying. Green beans require very little time to cook, and if overcooked become limp and depleted of their nutritional value.

  • Green Onions

    Selecting

    
When selecting green onions, they should have good, green-colored tops and white, bleached stems up to about three inches from the root. Also referred to as scallions, green onions have long, delicate stalks and small white bulbs. They are milder tasting than large-bulb onions, and are sold in bunches.

    Storing

    Store green onions in a plastic bag in the refrigerator up to five days. Keep green onions away from other produce and foods that might absorb the onion's odor. 

    Preparation

    To prepare, trim off roots and tops, and then rinse green onions in cold water. Green onions are a great finishing touch to salads, casseroles, stir-frys, soups, and baked potatoes. Try substituting the green tops of a green onion instead of using chives.

  • Mushrooms

    Selecting

    Avoid withered mushrooms, since this is a sign of age. Mushrooms that look bright and attractive are generally a good sign of being fresh. An open “veil” around the base of the cap is also a sign of old age, but not necessarily a bad choice. Open “veil” mushrooms are usually richer in flavor and are good sautéed and in sauces.

    Varieties 

    • White/Button
    • Crimini
    • Morel
    • Oyster
    • Portabella
    • Shitake 

    Storing

    Fresh mushrooms should be stored unwashed in the refrigerator where they can be kept for two or three days. Mushrooms should be kept in a brown paper bag instead of a plastic bag where the moisture can be trapped and make them slimy.

    Preparation

    Mushrooms should be washed just before using and patted dry. Mushrooms will turn dark if cut and not prepared quickly, but by adding a little lemon juice during cooking they can be prevented from darkening. Mushrooms do not have to be peeled, they can be cut into pieces or sautéed whole. Mushrooms add zest and flavor to gravies, sauces, soups and casserole dishes. They are a fine food in their own right when served as a vegetable or a main dish. Their delicate flavor blends well with other foods.

  • Onions

    Selecting

    Select onions that are completely dry and smooth. Dry onions can be divided into two categories, storage onions and sweet onions. Dry onion should be well shaped and dry enough to crackle. Thin necks and bright, hard bulbs are two other indications of quality. Onions that are extremely soft or sprouting should be avoided.

    Storing

    Store onions at room temperature in a single layer in a well-ventilated location, preferably in mesh bag. When properly stored, onions have a shelf life of three to four weeks and sweet onions one to two weeks. 

    Preparation

    Onions are often chopped and used as an ingredient in various hearty warm dishes, but also can be used as a main ingredient, for example in French onion soup or onion chutney. They are very versatile and can be baked, boiled, braised, grilled, fried, roasted, sautéed or eaten raw in salads. 

  • Peppers

    Selecting

    When selecting peppers look for ones that are thick-walled, smooth and free of wrinkles. The stem and the pepper both should be bright in color and the stem sturdy and fresh. Flavor and heat will also be a major factor in selecting which pepper to use.

    Varieties

    • Anaheim
    • Poblano
    • Green Chiles
    • Jalapeños
    • Serrano
    • Habañeros

    Storing

    Unwashed peppers can be stored up to a week refrigerated in a plastic bag. 

    Preparation

    Chopped peppers add zest to dishes of all kinds, and besides the obvious Mexican food applications, when added to pasta dishes they provide an extra kick. To avoid a burning sensation on the skin and/or eyes, wear gloves when handling peppers and rinse utensils after each use. To cut down the heat of chili peppers, remove one or all of the ribs and seeds. Soak chili peppers for no longer than thirty seconds in cold water with a little salt or vinegar, soaking longer will cause loss of flavor.

  • Potatoes

    Selecting

    Potatoes of any variety or size should be firm, relatively smooth, clean, and reasonably well shaped. They should not be badly cut, bruised, wilted, sprouted or have a green tinge to them. Size does not affect quality and is a matter of personal choice.

    Popular Varieties

    • Purple
    • Red 
    • Russet
    • White
    • Yellow

    Storing

    Store potatoes in a cool, dry and dark area for several months. To avoid greening on the skin of the potatoes keep away from sunlight or artificial light; green potatoes will taste bitter and consuming large amounts may cause illness.

    Preparation

    Potatoes can be prepared in many different ways including fried, baked, microwaved and boiled. They can just be mashed, put in stews, soups, salads, or simply baked with butter, sour cream, salt and pepper on top after baking. Always wash and scrub potatoes skin before use.

  • Radishes

    Selecting

    Radishes have coloring ranging from red to white, and are round to cylindrical in shape. When selecting radishes look for smooth, crisp and firm radishes with bright green tops. 

    Storing

    Store radishes in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

    Preparation

    Red radishes may be consumed raw or cooked and eaten in salads or as a garnish.

  • Summer Squash

    Selecting

    When selecting summer squash, look for squash that are heavy for this size and have shiny, soft, and unblemished rinds.

    Popular Varieties

    • Yellow Crookneck
    • Yellow Straightneck
    • Zucchini 

    Storing

    Summer squash is very fragile and should be handled with care. Store unwashed in the refrigerator for up to a week. Keep squash away from moisture, which promotes decay.

    Preparation

    Summer squashes may be prepared in any of the usual ways for boiling and baking vegetables and may also be fried. Peeling is not necessary. Always wash squash before preparing. Microwaving, grilling and stir-frying are also very popular way of cooking squash. Summer squash is good in many different dishes including vegetable medley, breads, salads, Asian dishes, casseroles and appetizers.

  • Sweet Potatoes

    Selecting

    There are two varieties of sweet potatoes: moist meated (orange flesh) and dry meated (yellow flesh). The type of sweet potato you select depends on your personal taste preference. Sweet potatoes should be clean, firm, and free from any blemishes. 

    Storing

    Store sweet potatoes at room temperature for up to a week. Cooked sweet potatoes should be refrigerated and consumed in three to five days. Do not refrigerate raw sweet potatoes because it would be to cold for them

    Using

    Sweet potatoes are among the most easily prepared of all vegetables. Sweet potatoes are most frequently boiled, fried, baked.or candied. Candied sweet potatoes are a side dish consisting mainly of sweet potatoes prepared with brown sugar, marshmallows, maple syrup, molasses, or other sweet ingredients. Baked sweet potatoes are sometimes offered in the household as an alternative to baked potatoes. They are usually topped with brown sugar and butter. Sweet potato fries or chips are another common preparation, and are made by julienning and deep frying sweet potatoes, in the fashion of French fried potatoes. Steam or boil chunks of a sweet potato, for a simple and healthy snack. Chunks of sweet potato may be boiled in water or cooked in the microwave.

  • Winter Squash

    Selecting

    When selecting winter squash (hard squash), the shell should be intact and show no decay. Winter squash seeds are expected to be hard and inedible and are scooped out before or after cooking. Avoid squash that shows any soft or watery areas.

    Varieties 

    • Acorn
    • Banana
    • Buttercup
    • Butternut
    • Carnival
    • Delicata
    • Gold Nugget 
    • Hubbard
    • Kabocha
    • Red Kurl
    • Spaghetti 
    • Sweet Dumpling
    • Turban

    Storing

    Winter squash should be stored at room temperature, refrigeration will change the flavor and texture. Squash properly stored should keep up to a month or more. Cut squash should be tightly sealed in a plastic bag or wrapped for up to a week.

    Preparation

    Winter squash are first seeded and then can be cut into halves or pieces. Squash can be baked, steamed, microwaved or boiled.