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Seasonal Produce Chart

 

Fruit/Veggie Keep your eyes wide open for: Storage Tips Preparation Tips Serving Tips
Apples Firm, good colored skin. Avoid soft apples or those with brown spots. Check varieties best for cooking or eating! Refrigerate (in crisper) or wrapped. For best quality, use within 2 weeks. Wash in cold water. Use peeled or with skin. Cut in quarters to remove core and seeds. Raw is delicious! Use for pies, sauces, muffins, desserts, fruit salads, etc.
Berries Plump, fresh, even-colored fruit. Moldy, crushed and bruised fruit should be avoided, as should stained containers. Refrigerate (in crisper) or wrapped. Use within 2 – 3 days. Wash in cold water before serving and remove stems. Drain well. Eat plain or serve on yogurt or cereal; use in recipes for fruit, pies, muffins salads desserts and pancakes.
Cherries Plump, firm cherries with color from light to bright red to purplish-black dependent on variety. Avoid soft or bruised cherries. Refrigerate in crisper or wrapped. Use within 2-3 days. Wash in cold water. If cooking, cut in half and remove stems and pits. Eat raw, use for fruit salads, pies, desserts, jams, and sauces, etc.
Grapes Plump, firm, fresh grapes well attached to the stem. Avoid soft grapes with broken stems that stain the carton. Refrigerate in crisper or wrapped. Use within 1 to 2 weeks. Wash in cold water and remove stems. Eat raw or use in recipes for fruit salads or jam, jellies, etc.
Melons Fully ripened fruit for best sweetness and flavor. The rind around the blossom end should give slightly with gentle thumb pressure. Melon should have a pleasant smell and rough skin texture. Avoid bruised, cracked or green melons. Refrigerate and use within 2 or 3 days. Keep cut melons well-wrapped. Melons ripen at room temperature. Cut in half and scoop out seeds. Serve balled, cubed or in wedges. Eat raw, use for fruit salads, fruit cups, sherbets and gelatin desserts.
Peaches Firm to slightly softened fruit with yellow color and dependent on the variety, a red blush. Avoid green, very soft, or bruised peaches. Refrigerate in crisper or wrapped. Use within 3 – 5 days. Peaches ripen at room temperature. Wash, use with or without peeling. To remove pit, cut in half. If cut, sprinkle peaches with lemon juice to avoid browning. Eat raw, use in recipes for fruit salads, desserts, pies and preserves.
Pears Well-shaped, firm fruit. The color is dependent on the variety. Ready-to-eat pears yield easily to soft pressure in the palm of the hand. Avoid soft, discolored, cut or bruised pears. Hard pears ripen at room temperature after a few days, then refrigerate in crisper or wrapped. Use within 3 to 5 days. Wash in cold water and serve with or without peeling. Cut in half to remove seeds and core and stem. Eat raw or use in fruit salads, desserts and pies.
Plums Plump and firm, but slightly soft fruit. Color from bright yellow-green to reddish-purple to purplish-black. Avoid plums that are cracked, very hard, or very soft. Refrigerate in crisper or wrapped and use within 3 – 5 days. Wash in cold water. Cut in half to remove pit, if desired. Eat raw, use in fruit salads, sauces, desserts, and jams.
Rhubarb Firm, crisp, thick stalks that are green, red or pink depending on the variety. Avoid soft stalks. Refrigerate in crisper or wrapped. Use within 3 to 5 days. Wash in cold water, trim the ends and cut off the leaves. Use in recipes for pies, sauces, muffins and cakes.
Asparagus Stalks with closed, tight tips, good green color almost the entire length. Avoid limp asparagus. Refrigerate in crisper or wrapped. Use within 1 or 2 days. Wash in cold water. Cut off tough white end. Cook in saucepan or pot in one inch of cold water for 3 – 5 minutes or until tender.
Beans (Green or Wax) Crisp but tender beans that snap when broken. Beans with small seeds are best; length is not important. Avoid limp or scarred beans. Refrigerate in crisper or wrapped. Use within 1 or 2 days. Wash in cold water. Snap off end. Leave whole or cut into bite sized pieces. Eat raw or cook in saucepan or pot in one inch of cold water for 10 – 15 minutes, or until tender.
Beets Smooth, deep red beets. Avoid beets with bumps or soft spots. Green tops should be fresh. Remove tops, refrigerate tops and beets in crisper or wrapped. Use beets within 1 week. Use tops within 1 or 2 days. Wash tops and scrub beets with soft brush in cold water. Use tops as greens. Cook in saucepan or pot in one inch of cold water for 30 – 60 minutes until soft, depending on size. Drain. Run cold water over beets. Remove skins. Slice or dice. Cover and cook 15 – 20 minutes, or until tender.
Broccoli Tender, firm stalks and tightly closed, dark-green buds. Avoid limp or yellow broccoli. Refrigerate in crisper or wrapped. Use within 1 or 2 days. Wash in cold water. Remove large leaves, trim ends of stalks if tough or woody. Because stalks cook more slowly than the buds, split lengthwise to speed cooking. Eat raw as a snack or in salads. To cook, place in saucepan or pot in 1 inch of cold water and cook about 10 minutes, or until tender.
Brussels Sprouts Firm, fresh, bright-green sprouts with no black spots. Avoid loose, yellowish leaves or soft sprouts. Refrigerate in crisper or wrapped. Use within 1 or 2 days. Cut sprouts from stem. Wash in cold water. Trim any yellow leaves, cut an X into stem end to speed cooking. Place in saucepan or pot in one inch of cold water, cover and cook about ten minutes, or until tender.
Cabbage (Green & Red) Firm heads with fresh, crisp-looking leaves. Red varieties are reddish-purple in color. Refrigerate in crisper or wrapped. Use within 1 or 2 weeks. Wash in cold water. Cut into wedges or shred. Eat raw in salads. To cook, place in pot in one inch of cold water. Cook 10 – 15 minutes, or until tender; shredded cabbage cooks in 3 – 10 minutes.
Carrots Firm, bright-colored carrots. Avoid soft carrots. Remove tops, and refrigerate carrots in crisper or wrapped. Use within 1 or 2 weeks. Wash in cold water. Leave carrots whole; or dice, slice, shred or peel. Eat raw as a snack or in salads. To cook, place carrots in pot with one inch of cold water. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until tender.
Cauliflower Heads with creamy-white, tight buds with a bumpy appearance. Leaves around the base should be fresh and green. Avoid brown and bruised heads. Refrigerate in crisper or wrapped. Use within 3 to 5 days. Wash in cold water/ Remove leaves and core. Separate into florets. East raw or in salads. To cook, place in a pot in one inch of cold water. Cook about 8 minutes, or until tender.
Corn Medium-size ears with bright, plump, firm kernels. Avoid corn with tiny kernels or decay. Corn comes in yellow, white, and mixed colors. Refrigerate in crisper or wrapped. Use within one or two days. Just before cooking, remove husks and silk. Wash in cold water. Place in boiling water, cover and cook medium-sized corn only 5 to 6 minutes.
Cucumbers Firm cucumbers with good green color. Avoid cucumbers that are yellow or soft. Cucumbers come in large and small varieties. Refrigerate in crisper or wrapped. Use within 3 to 5 days. Wash in cold water. Trim ends. If skin is tender, it is not necessary to peel cucumbers. Slice, chop, or cut into wedges. East raw as a snack and in salads.
Eggplant Firm eggplants with a dark, rich purple color and a bright green cap. Avoid eggplants that have scars, cuts, wrinkles, or are soft. Refrigerate in crisper or wrapped. Use within 1 or 2 days. You do not have to peel eggplant if it is fresh. Cut into desired shape just before cooking so that it does not turn brown. Place in a saucepan/pot in one inch of cold water. Cover and cook about 5 minutes until tender.
Greens (Beets & Turnip tops, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Kale, Collard, Mustard and Dandelion Greens) Fresh, young tender greens. Avoid greens with limp, dried, yellowed leaves, or coarse stems. Refrigerate in crisper or wrapped. Use within 1 or 2 days. Wash in cold water, drain well. Trim other tough stems. Spinach may be eaten cooked, or raw in salads. To cook, place in pot in one-half inch of cold water and cook 3 to 8 minutes, or until tender.
Lettuce (Head, Romaine, Loose leaf) Clean, crisp, tender leaves. Avoid wilted or bruised lettuce. Refrigerate in crisper or wrapped. Use head and Romaine lettuce within 3 to 5 days; loose leaf lettuce within 1 or 2 days. Remove amount needed and wash in cold water. Eat raw in salads and sandwiches.
Peas (Green, Oriental, Snow) Fresh, young pods, light green in color. The pod should be a little fuzzy and the peas should be felt through the skin. Avoid peas that are dark green, wilted, or scarred. Refrigerate in crisper or wrapped. Use within 1 or 2 days. Green – shell peas by pressing pods between thumb and forefinger to open. You do not need to wash. Do not eat pods from green peas. Oriental or Snow – Wash in cold water. Remove stem and string along top and bottom of pod; do not shell as pods are edible. Eat raw as a snack and in salads. To cook, place in pot in one inch of cold water. Cover and cook 5 to 8 minutes, or until tender.
Peppers (Bell or Sweet peppers, Hot or Chili Peppers) Peppers that are firm, shiny and heavy for their size. Peppers come in green, red or yellow varieties. Avoid limp, bruised, or cut peppers. Refrigerate in crisper or wrapped. Use within 3 to 5 days. Wash in cold water. Cut in half and remove seeds and inside parts. Cut peppers into strips, rings, or dice them. To stuff, leave whole. Eat bell or sweet peppers raw as a snack and in salads. All peppers can be cooked.
Potatoes Smooth, firm potatoes. Avoid potatoes with scars, buds, or soft spots. Keep in a dark, cool and dry place. Do not refrigerate. Scrub in cold water, use with or without peeling. Boiled potatoes – Place peeled or unpeeled potatoes in pot, cover with cold water, and cook 15 to 30 minutes, or until tender. Baked potatoes – Preheat over to 400 degrees and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until done.
Radishes Red & White) Firm and bright, deep red or white radishes, depending upon variety. Avoid radishes that are bruised or soft. Remove tops, if any, and refrigerate in crisper or wrapped. Use within 1 week. Wash in cold water. Cut off roots. Eat raw as a snack and in salads.
Summer Squash Yellow, Zucchini, Patty Pan) Small, young squash that are heavy for their size. The skin should be tender. Avoid soft or limp squash. Patypan is usually yellow and round, and zucchini is usually long and green. Refrigerate in crisper or wrapped. Use within 3 to 5 days. Scrub gently in cold water. Trim both ends. Slice, chop or cut into wedges. East raw as a snack and in salads. To cook, place in pot in one inch of cold water and cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until tender.
Winter Squash & Pumpkins (Acorn, Butternut, Blue Hubbard, Pie Pumpkin) Squash that is heavy for its size and has a hard skin. Avoid bruised or scarred squash. Keep in cook, dry place and use within a few weeks. Wash, cut into halves or quarter, and remove seeds. Boiled squash – Remove skin. Cut into cubes. Place in pot in one inch of cold water and cook about 15 minutes until tender. Baked squash – Preheat over to 375 degrees. Leave skin on squash and back uncovered for 45 to 90 minutes, or until tender.
Sweet Potatoes Firm sweet potatoes. Avoid sweet potatoes with scars, buds, or soft spots. Store in a cook, dry place. Use within 1 or 2 weeks. Scrub in cold water. Use with or without peeling. Boiled sweet potatoes – Place potatoes in pot and cover with cold water and cook 20 minutes or until tender. Baked sweet potatoes – Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake 45 minutes to one hour, or until tender.
Tomatoes (Red, Yellow, Cherry, Plum) Firm, unblemished tomatoes with bright color. Green tomatoes are not ripe. Avoid soft or bruised tomatoes. Refrigerate in crisper or wrapped. Use within 3 to 5 days. If green, leave at room temperature to ripen. Wash in cold water. Slice, chop, or cut into wedges, unless you wish to stuff the tomatoes. Eat raw in salads and sandwiches. Tomatoes can also be cooked.