Choosing the Freshest Vegetables
Here we are edging into summertime and farmers' markets abound! Each time I go to my local Farmer's Market, I find the most colorful displays of vegetables and a bounty of great homemade breads and other baked goods from local vendors. Even though you may not live in or near an agricultural community, here is some basic information to let you know that your vegetables are at their freshest? Even at the grocery store, this handy little guide will help you find the vegetables that are at the peak of their season to guarantee crispness.
Summertime, is absolutely THE time for fresh vegetables. However, some vegetables are at their peak during early summer rather than when the season begins changing into early autumn. Some excellent vegetables to choose in the early summer include green beans, celery, peppers (red, yellow and green) and asparagus. All of these vegetables have a rather short maturation period which enables them to peak at the beginning of summer and the mother plant begins to grow ineffective as the weather grows dryer and hotter. This is also the peak time to choose bright yellow summer squash which is a smaller variety of your ordinary squash.
Vegetables that have a short maturation period and a long performance period (which means they bear fruit continuously for a longer time) are also prevalent this time of year and into early autumn. These vegetables consist of broccoli, cucumbers (short or long), and tomatoes. Lettuce, spinach and sweet corn are also very good choices for this time of year since they grow rapidly and most farmers keep a continuous crop of these throughout the summer periods. Early autumn brings about a bountiful harvest of squash, pumpkins and zucchini.
Since all of these vegetables are at their peak performance period, they can also be purchased cheaply. Especially at Farmer's Markets since they don't have to go through rigorous FDA testing standards and packaging. Each of these vegetables can be frozen either by scalding methods or freezing directly so that you can enjoy fresh vegetables all year long without paying high costs in the winter when the crops are gone.
Be sure to stop by your local Farmer's Market! Not only will you be getting the best vegetables your local area has to offer but you will also be supporting your local farmers!