The USDA recommends making half of our plate fruits and vegetables to benefit from all of their vitamins and minerals! Fruit and vegetables come in many different forms such as fresh, frozen, canned and dried. Try them all and take advantage of their nutrients and enjoy their unique tastes and textures.
Serving size for fruit= In general, 1 cup of fruit or 100% fruit juice, or ½ cup of dried fruit
Serving size for vegetables = n general, 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens can be considered as 1 cup from the Vegetable Group
Benefits of Apples
Apples provide good sources of fiber, which decreases intestinal cancers. Helps maintain a healthy weight.
How to Select Apples
When selecting apples, be sure to choose those that are firm with no soft spots.
How to Prepare Apples
Wash apples with a light amount of soap and water. Prepare apples right before serving them to minimize browning. Peel the skin before cooking in hot temperatures.
How to Store Apples
Apples are best when stored in the refrigerator. They are also best used within two weeks of purchase. Adding a few drops of lemon juice will also minimize browning. This will keep apples looking fresher longer in salads and lunches.
Benefits of Apricots
Apricots provide great sources of vitamin A and C and both are beneficial for skin, eyes, and teeth.
How to Select Apricots
Select Apricots that have plump and golden-orange features.
How to Prepare Apricots
Wash apples before eating or preparing.
How to Store Apricots
When stored in room temperature, apricots become soft and ripe. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Benefits of Avocado
Avocados are loaded with nutrients such as dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, and folate. Avocados provide excellent sources of monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fats, the good fats help stabilize and balance blood sugar levels.
How to Select Avocados
Select fruit that yields to gentle pressure for immediate use. Look for firm avocados if you are planning to use them later.
How to Prepare Avocados
Cut the avocado in half, slightly twist the two halves, separate, and remove the seed. Starting at the small end and remove the skin with a knife, then scoop flesh out, with a spoon.
How to Store Avocados
To keep your avocado from browning after being cut open, drop lemon juice on surface of fresh avocado, and keep seed intact to the half you want to store.
Benefits of Banana
Bananas have an excellent source of potassium, which lowers blood pressure. Bananas provide sources for vitamin C, fiber, which regulates the digestive track.
How to Select Banana
Choose firm fruit, free of bruises. Avoid brown spots. Peak ripeness turns the peel bright yellow.
How to Prepare Banana
Peel may turn brown nat\urally or when refrigerated, yet the flavor will remain the same.
How to Store Banana
Leave at room temperature to ripen. Once ripened, may be refrigerated for 3 to 5 days. Refrigerate with aluminum foil to keep banana from browning.
Benefits of Blackberries
Blackberries are an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. Blackberries are rich in dietary fiber, which controls blood sugar levels.
How to Select Blackberries
Avoid containers with many juice stains at the bottom. They should be dry, firm, and well-shaped. For optimal flavor, eat at room temperature.
How to Prepare Blackberries
Rinse, drain, and gently pat berries before use. Blackberries will taste best eaten within in a few days of purchasing.
How to Store Blackberries
Store in the refrigerator, and eat within 5 days; they also freeze extremely well.
Benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries are a great source of antioxidants that reduces the risk of cancers. They are a good source of fiber and lowers bad cholesterol levels.
How to Select Blueberries
Choose firm, dry, plump, and smooth berries. Choose deep purple-blue to blue-black berries. Throw away moldy and deformed berries.
How to Prepare Blueberries
Before eating, rinse, dry, and pat blueberries.
How to Store Blueberries
Keep blueberries in the refrigerator; they also freeze very well in zip-lock airtight bags.
Benefits of Cherries
Cherries contain vitamin C, and are also high in iron, potassium, dietary fiber and antioxidants. They may even offer anti-inflammatory benefits that aid relief in leg cramps, aid as a post workout snack, and for overcoming sleeplessness.
How to Select Cherries
Cherries are best picked when they are plump and firm. Darker color generally indicates ripeness.
How to Prepare Cherries
Wash the cherries before eating. To remove seed, start at top, where stem was, and cut in half with a paring knife. Remove the seed inside.
How to Store Cherries
Cherries are very perishable, so refrigerate them immediately after purchase. Cherries in good condition should last a week.
Benefits of Cranberries
Source of fiber, source of vitamin C. Cranberries have anti-inflammatory benefits and can maintain the urinary system.
How to Select Cranberries
Pick shiny, plump, and bouncy cranberries. Choose those in the color range bright light red to dark red.
How to Prepare Cranberries
Wash berries, boil water, add berries and cook in a rolling boil for a minute or two. Simmer pot with berries until they all pop. Sugar can be added to the water after boiling, but before berries are added. This softens the tartness of the berries.
How to Store Cranberries
Store the cranberries in a tightly sealed plastic bag in refrigerator.
Benefits of Figs
Figs are high in fiber, providing 20% of the Daily Value. Have more dietary fiber per serving than any other common dried or fresh fruit. Have the highest overall mineral content of all common fruits.
How to Select Figs
Fresh figs are available July through September. Dried figs are never out of season. Look for figs that are soft and smell sweet.
How to Prepare Figs
Handle fresh figs carefully because their fragile skins bruise easily. Smaller figs can be eaten plain, skin and all. Bigger figs can be eaten raw as well. However, the rind is thicker and bitterer.
How to Store Figs
Store fully ripened figs in the refrigerator up to 2 days; bring to room temperature before serving. Dried figs can last a few months in sealed container, placed in refrigerator.
Benefits of Grapefruit
An excellent source of vitamin C, one fruit actually contains one and a half times the adult daily requirement.
How to Select Grapefruit
Pick grapefruits that are plump and firm.
How to Prepare Grapefruit
To prepare, cut grapefruit in half and remove the seeds. Use a sharp knife to cut, carefully, between the membrane and segments to reveal the best part of the fruit.
How to Store Grapefruit
Grapefruits do not ripen after harvesting, but they will remain fresh for a week or more when refrigerated.
Benefits of Grapes
Grapes are a good source of carbohydrates that speeds up energy levels. They are also a source of fiber.
How to Select Grapes
Choose firm, plum and well-colored clusters. For optimal freshness, choose clusters well attached to green stems.
How to Prepare Grapes
Wash clusters under a gentle spray of water, drain and pat dry.
How to Store Grapes
Store the grapes in a plastic, covered container or a ventilated plastic bag. Best when kept in the refrigerator, where kiwi stays good for up to a week.
Benefits of Kiwi
Kiwi provides an exceptional source of vitamin C and serves as a blood pressure regulator, offers sources of fiber.
How to Select Kiwi
Choose firm kiwis, free of bruises, soft spots or any exterior damage. Ripen when smell is fragrant. Kiwi becomes plump and soft to the touch.
How to Prepare Kiwi
Rinse and lightly dry before eating or preparation. Cut off the top and bottom before use. Skins are edible, but skins may also be removed before eating.
How to Store Kiwi
Keep at room temperature for 3-5 days. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
Benefits of Mango
High in Vitamin A, and contain beta-carotene. The darker orange flesh has the most vitamins A, and provides good sources of Vitamin C. Mangos have a lot of vitamins and minerals that are essential for healthy body functions.
How to Select Mango
Avoid fruit with no black blotches on the skin. The fruit should be firm, yet moveable when gently pressed.
How to Prepare Mango
Peel off skin with a paring knife or peeler. Rinse and cut mango fruit-meat off, length-wise and cross-wise, as close to the husk/ seed as possible.
How to Store Mango
Mangos will ripen at home if left in a warm place. After peeled, eat mango quickly, or store in a zip-lock bag in refrigerator.
Benefits of Melons
Melons have vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that plays an important role in the growth and maintenance of all tissues in the body.
How to Select Melons
Choose a melon that is well rounded, soft with a fruity smell. Avoid dark and soft spots.
How to Prepare Melons
Wash them in warm water Cut the melon in half and remove the seeds and strings. Slice melon as you choose.
How to Store Melons
Keep ripened melons in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Cut melon stores well in a sealed container, in the refrigerator.
Benefits of Oranges
Oranges have an excellent source of vitamin C. Source of potassium and fiber. These vitamins and minerals boost immunity and fight against seasonal colds.
How to Select Oranges
Choose firm oranges heavy for their size. Choose bright, colorful and textured skins. Avoid fruit this is bruised, wrinkled or discolored.
How to Prepare Oranges
Peel before eating or use in recipe as directed.
How to Store Oranges
Refrigerate or keep at room temperature for up to two weeks.
Benefits of Papaya
Good source of vitamin A and C. Both Vitamins A & C work on cellular renewal that fight against infections and helps invigorate skin, teeth, and gums.
How to Select Papaya
Avoid papayas that have bruising, shriveled, or have soft areas. Slightly green papayas will ripen quickly at room temperature, especially if placed in a paper bag. As the papaya ripens, it will turn from green to yellow. Supermarkets have papayas all year long, with the peak season being early summer and fall.
How to Prepare Papaya
Remove the skin with a vegetable peeler, set aside the seeds and cut the fruit, eat fresh, or use as directed. The seeds and flesh are edible. Cut the fruit in half, scoop out the seeds. Enjoy.
How to Store Papaya
Place ripe papayas in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. Papayas will keep for up to a week, but it's best to use them within a day or two. Store cut papaya in a sealed container or bag.
Benefits of Peaches
Peaches have vitamin A and C in them, which allow the human skin to have a cellular renewal process to create healthy glowing skin. They are also bountiful in fiber.
How to Select Peaches
Choose soft, orange-red, blemish-free fruit.
How to Prepare Peaches
Rinse well before eating or preparing. Peel by blanching in boiling water, for 60 seconds, and then plunging in ice water to cool. Peel starts to come off with ease.
How to Store Peaches
Keep unripen peaches in a brown paper bag for 1-3 days until ripe. Store them in a refrigerator for up to a week.
Benefits of Pears
Pears are an efficient source of fiber and potassium. The fiber in pear offers one of the highest, which aids in a healthy digestive system.
How to Select Pears
Choose firm, smooth with unblemished skin. Eat when they are slightly soft.
How to Prepare Pears
Wash pears before you eat or cook. Peel the skin when boiling, baking, or cooking in hot temperatures.
How to Store Pears
Store in refrigerator or at room temperature for up to a week.
Benefits of Pineapple
Pineapple contains supplemental amounts of vitamin C and fiber, which play a large role maintaining healthy bones and good blood formation functions.
How to Select Pineapple
Choose fruit with a nice fragrant smell. Leaf/topper can be easily pulled off when ripe.
How to Prepare Pineapple
Remove the core, ends, and shell to cut as desired. To prepare, twist of crown and cut into quarters.
How to Store Pineapple
Pineapple softens at room temperature for 1-2 days. Then store in refrigerator for 3-5 days. After cut, store in the refrigerator up to 7 days. The softer the pineapple the sweeter it becomes.
Benefits of Pomegranate
The antioxidants in pomegranates have been researched to slow down age progression for healthier body functions. Pomegranates are rich in Vitamin C and offer good sources of dietary fiber.
How to Select Pomegranate
Choose glossy fruit, and avoid those whose skin looks hard and dry. They are approximately the size of an apple. Pomegranates are shipped ripe and ready to eat. They are available fresh September through January.
How to Prepare Pomegranate
Using a sharp knife, carefully slice about half an inch from the top of the pomegranate. Gently remove the lid to expose the edible seeds inside. Slice down through each of the white membranes inside the fruit. Pry the sections apart, turn the fruit inside out and pop the seeds out into a bowl.
How to Store Pomegranate
Can be held at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. They can be refrigerated for up to 4 weeks. The seeds can be frozen separately.
Benefits of Raspberries
Raspberries are a valuable source of vitamin C. Also, raspberries have a lot of potassium, niacin, riboflavin, and dietary fiber. Riboflavin can boost immunity and increase energy levels.
How to Select Raspberries
Raspberries should be dry, firm, well-shaped. Stay away from containers of berries with juice stains.
How to Prepare Raspberries
They require delicate handling during preparation.
How to Store Raspberries
Best eaten the day of purchase, but if necessary they can be stored for up to two days. Raspberries freeze very well.
Benefits of Star Fruit
Star fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C. They contain potassium, niacin, and phosphorus. Niacin helps with reversing heart disease, while phosphorus promotes cellular repair and renewal.
How to Select Star Fruit
Select firm, shiny skinned, even colored fruit. Star fruits will ripen at room temperature and have lightly brown edges on the edges when it’s ripe.
How to Prepare Star Fruit
Wash the fruit, remove any blemished areas, cut crosswise to get the star shape, and eat. Does not need to be peeled or seeded before eating.
How to Store Star Fruit
Star fruits ripen at room temperature after two to three days. They can be stored in a plastic bag for up to one week in the refrigerator.
Benefits of Strawberries
Has source of vitamin C that helps strengthen the immune system. They also provide a source of fiber that regulates the digestive system.
How to Select Strawberries
Choose dry, firm and well-shaped berries. Choose bright red berries with a green, fresh-looking stem. Throw away moldy or deformed berries.
How to Prepare Strawberries
Rinse and pat berries before use. Eat within one week of purchase.
How to Store Strawberries
Strawberries best store in refrigerator for up to 7 days, and freeze well up to 6 months.
Benefits of Watermelon
A 2-cup serving of watermelon provides excellent sources of Vitamins A, B6, and C, and potassium. Potassium fights cramps, prevents strokes, and lowers blood sugar.
How to Select Watermelon
Look for a firm, heavy, bruise free, symmetrical watermelon, with no cuts or dents. The underside of the watermelon should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.
How to Prepare Watermelon
Rinse off melon with water. Cut melon in half and into pieces. Some watermelons are seedless, and the ones with seeds are usually spat or picked out.
How to Store Watermelon
Cut watermelon tastes best eaten within a week, after cut open. Store the watermelon in the refrigerator. Best if sealed in a lidded container or zip-lock bag.
Benefits of Acorn Squash
Acorn Squash is a good source of fiber that decreases heart disease.
How to Select Acorn Squash
Choose smooth and firm squash, deep in color and heavy. Avoid nicks, bruises and soft spots.
How to Prepare Acorn Squash
Rinse, cut acorn squash in half and remove the seeds. Acorn Squash can be baked, boiled, sautéed, steamed, or cooked in the microwave.
How to Store Acorn Squash
Acorn Squash will last up to 3 months in a dry, cool, and dark place between 55 and 60°F.
Benefits of Artichokes
Artichokes are an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, and Folate. Artichokes are a good source of Magnesium and Potassium, which control blood pressure levels.
How to Select Artichokes
High-quality artichokes are usually compact and heavy. A fresh, ripe artichoke will squeak when squeezed. Cut the stalk, and the flavors start to change. A Thin stalk is a signal of dehydration.
How to Prepare Artichokes
For maximum taste and tenderness, cook as soon as possible. Wash artichokes under cold running water. Pull off the lower petals and cut the stems to one inch or less. Cut the top quarter of each artichoke and snip off the sharp tips. Artichokes can be boiled, steamed, microwaved or sautéed .
How to Store Artichokes
Place dampened artichokes in a tightly sealed bag, and keep in the refrigerator for a week.
Benefits of Asparagus
Asparagus is a great source of vitamin A, C, and Fiber. Vitamin A & C are excellent for healthy teeth, skin, and eyes.
How to Select Asparagus
Choose firm and tender stalks that are deep green with dark green-purple tips.
How to Prepare Asparagus
Wash in cool water and snap the firm ends off. Cook asparagus by stir-frying, steaming, or cooking in the microwave.
How to Store Asparagus
Keep the asparagus bottoms wrapped in a damp towel in refrigerator vegetable drawer. Asparagus will do best in a plastic bag, and stored in the refrigerator up to 3 - 5 days.
Benefits of Beans
Beans provide a good source of Niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, B6 vitamins, and many more nutrients. Niacin helps remove bad cholesterol and improve the good cholesterol. Beans are also high in fiber and antioxidants.
How to Select Beans
Always pre-check beans for small stones or bad beans.
How to Prepare Beans
Cooking dry beans may take between 30 minutes and 3 hours. Add flavors like broths, bones, and spices or herbs while cooking beans. For shorter cooking time, presoak beans between 1 and 10 hours.
How to Store Beans
Dry beans have a shelf life up to one year. Beans are best stored in a sealed tight plastic bag or sack, store in a cool dry place. Cooked beans will store nice in refrigerator for a week, and they can be froze for up to 6 months.
Benefits of Beets
Beets have an excellent source of potassium that can maintain healthy blood pressure. Beet leaves are high in vitamin A, iron and calcium. Calcium allows for normal functioning of muscles, nerves, and glands.
How to Select Beets
Avoid beets with cracked skins and soft spots.
How to Prepare Beets
Cut the stalks to about 1 inch above the root. Do not cut away or peel the root. When serving cold, peel off the skin. To cook beets whole, rinse under running water before microwaving, roasting, sautéing, or steaming. The entire beet is edible from greens, bulb, to root.
How to Store Beets
Beets can be stored in the refrigerator , in a plastic bag, for approximately 2 weeks.
Benefits of Broccoli
Broccoli mostly consists of fiber, which can aid to achieve a healthy weight. Broccoli includes sources of vitamin A & C. Both vitamins A & C work on cellular renewal to fight against infections, and help maintain healthy skin, teeth, and gums.
How to Select Broccoli
Choose dark green bunches with firm stalks. Avoid flowering or discolored buds. Avoid tough, woody stems.
How to Prepare Broccoli
A few ways to cook broccoli are steam, stir-fry, or in the microwave. Add broccoli to casseroles and other baked dishes to increase the nutrition.
How to Store Broccoli
Keep unwashed broccoli in a perforated plastic bag. Keep in the coldest section of your refrigerator and use 3 - 5 days after purchase.
Benefits of Brussel Sprouts
Brussel sprouts have an excellent source of vitamin C that helps strengthen the immune system.
How to Select Brussel Sprouts
In Ohio, the peak-growing season is from autumn through early spring; they are available year round. Choose firm compact sprouts that are bright green in color.
How to Prepare Brussel Sprouts
To prepare, remove any yellow or wilted outer leaves, then trim stem ends. Be careful not to trim stems flush with the bottoms, or the outer leaves will fall off during cooking. For faster cooking, cut a shallow "x" in the base, with a small, sharp knife.
How to Store Brussel Sprouts
Do not wash or trim sprouts before storing them. You can freeze Brussel Sprouts in a freezer bag for 10-12 months. They keep well in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
Benefits of Butternut Squash
Butternut squash offers a good source of fiber, potassium, and magnesium. It includes excellent sources of vitamin A and C, which help fight against infections, and help maintain healthy skin, teeth, and gums.
How to Select Butternut Squash
Choose squash that has a thick neck. Also, be sure to pick firm squash, without soft spots, scratches, or bruises.
How to Prepare Butternut Squash
Cut the butternut squash in half crosswise, in between the neck and belly of the squash. Then cut the bottom in half lengthwise; use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Use a sharp peeler to remove the tough skin from the entire squash. Now, you can slice and dice the squash in the sizes needed. For softer squash, cook in the microwave for one minute increments. Prepare according to recipe directions or as desired.
How to Store Butternut Squash
Store butternut squash in a cool, dark place for up to a month. Once cut, refrigerate unused portions up to a week.
Benefits of Cabbage
Cabbage has a good source of vitamin C that helps strengthen the immune system.
How to Select Cabbage
Choose solid and heavy heads. Choose heads that are free of soft spots, splits and yellowing leaves.
How to Prepare Cabbage
Wash and remove outer, wilted leaves before preparing. Cabbage preparations include braised, sautéed, steamed, boiled, or baked.
How to Store Cabbage
Cabbage is best stored in the refrigerator, use within two weeks.
Benefits of Carrot
Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, which is a major benefit for healthy vision and eyes.
How to Select Carrot
Choose well-shaped carrots that are deep orange. Avoid cracked, shriveled or wilted carrots.
How to Prepare Carrot
Wash and peel carrots. Use raw or cook in a small amount of water until tender. Season carrots as you like before cooking. Carrots can be microwaved, roasted, steamed, or sautéed.
How to Store Carrot
Carrots need to be stored in the refrigerator. Cut off the top, rinse, and store carrot in a plastic bag.
Benefits of Cauliflower
Cauliflower is a good source of vitamin C that can fight against colds and germs. They are also high in fiber, which make you feel fuller longer, and may aid in a healthy body weight.
How to Select Cauliflower
Choose white, firm, and compact cauliflower heads.
How to Prepare Cauliflower
Peel off the stem leaves and cut the stem just above where the florets join. Separate the florets into equal-sized pieces. Eat raw or cook by microwaving or steaming.
How to Store Cauliflower
Store cauliflower in the refrigerator for up to 5 days
Benefits of Celery
Celery is a good source of vitamin C & A, which work on cellular renewal to fight against infections, and to help invigorate skin, teeth, and gums.
How to Select Celery
Choose straight, rigid celery stalks with fresh leaves.
How to Prepare Celery
Cut celery stalks, as needed, rinse off dirt/debris thoroughly in water, and eat fresh or add to recipes.
How to Store Celery
Refrigerate celery in a plastic bag for up to 7 - 12 days.
Benefits of Collard Greens
Collard greens include vitamin A, vitamin C, which work on cellular renewal that fights against infections and helps invigorate skin, teeth, and gums. Collard greens are also a good source of calcium and fiber, which are essential for healthy bones and digestion.
How to Select Collard Greens
Choose bunches with dark green leaves, with no yellowing.
How to Prepare Collard Greens
Remove stems and stalks from collard greens, cut leaves into 1-inch pieces. Put collards in a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain collard greens in a colander, and use a wooden spoon to press out the rest of the water. Then add to a hot, oiled skillet on medium heat and sauté with seasons to taste.
How to Store Collard Greens
Refrigerate fresh collard greens in a plastic bag for up to 5 days.
Benefits of Cucumbers
Cucumbers are a good source of vitamin C, and cucumbers are a very refreshing and filling vegetable.
How to Select Cucumbers
Choose firm, well-shaped cucumbers with dark green color.
How to Prepare Cucumbers
Rinse off under water. Cucumbers can be peeled, sliced, or diced. The skin is edible; eat cucumbers in several ways, such as in salads, soups, steamed, or raw.
How to Store Cucumbers
Refrigerate cucumbers in a container for up to one week.
Benefits of Eggplant
Eggplant is a good source of fiber that can help with digestion.
How to Select Eggplant
Choose symmetrical, heavy, and smooth eggplants. Avoid tan patches, scratches, and bruises.
How to Prepare Eggplant
Wash, then cut off the cap and stem. Braise, sauté, grill, or roast with or without the skin. Do not eat raw.
How to Store Eggplant
Keep uncut and unwashed eggplant in a plastic bag in the coolest part of the refrigerator.
Benefits of Greens Beans
Green Beans are a good source of fiber, and reduce the potential of possible strokes.
How to Select Greens Beans
Choose beans that are slender and bright in color. Do not choose beans with visible seeds through the pod.
How to Prepare Greens Beans
Wash in cool water and snap off the stems. Steam the beans in water for 5-8 minutes until they are tender yet still crisp.
How to Store Greens Beans
Refrigerate in a dry perforated plastic bag for 4-5 days. After cooked, store in an airtight container up to 3 days.
Benefits of Leeks
They provide a good source of fiber, folic acid, vitamins B6 and C, magnesium, and iron. Leeks can improve the immune system, lower bad cholesterol levels, and fight cancer.
How to Select Leeks
Select leeks with clean white bottoms, and tops that are green and crisp.
How to Prepare Leeks
Remove discolored leaves, and trim off the root tips. Rinse well before using the green leaves or the white base of the leek. Leeks can be braised, grilled, roasted, or sautéed.
How to Store Leeks
Refrigerate leeks, unwashed, in a loosely fitting plastic bag for up to one week.
Benefits of Lettuce
Lettuce types have different nutrition factors, but they are all low in calories, and consist of 20% protein. Lettuce is one of the best weight maintenance foods.
How to Select Lettuce
Select lettuce with fresh crisp greens, with no signs of wilting, or dark spots. When selecting, remember that the darker leafs are generally healthier.
How to Prepare Lettuce
Prior to eating, remove any browned, slimy, or wilted leaves. Thoroughly rinse and dry the leaves to remove any dirt.
How to Store Lettuce
Store lettuce and greens in plastic bags; place in the crisper section of the refrigerator. Iceberg lettuce tends to last around two weeks. Romaine lettuce stays fresh for around ten days. Delicate leafy greens do not last very long. Only purchase what you are going to use quickly.
Benefits of Mushrooms
Mushrooms are a great source of protein and riboflavin, which give rise to energy levels.
How to Select Mushrooms
Purchase mushrooms from a reputable grower or grocer. Look for firm mushrooms with caps without flaws.
How to Prepare Mushrooms
Clean only when ready to use. Gently wipe debris from surface. Rinse with cold running water. Ensure that mushrooms are moisture free and free of mold. Mushrooms can be sautéed in a skillet, grilled, or baked with butter or oil.
How to Store Mushrooms
Refrigerate purchased mushrooms in a paper bag. If properly stored, mushrooms can last up to five days.
Benefits of Onions
Low in calories, yet add great flavor to a wide assortment of foods. Contain vitamin B, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and potassium. Iron can fight fatigue. Potassium can help alleviate cramps, blood and bone disorders.
How to Select Onions
Onions come in a variety of colors and strengths of flavors. Look for dry outer skins, free of soft spots or blemishes.
How to Prepare Onions
To prepare, remove the outer leaves and the layer underneath it. Onions are best added to recipes, or used as a topping, by chopping, slicing, mincing, or dicing.
How to Store Onions
Store your onions in a cool, dry, ventilated place. If stored correctly, complete uncut onions keep for 2-4 weeks.
Benefits of Parsnips
Parsnips provide a good source of vitamin C, folate and fiber. These vitamins strengthen the immunity, provide nutrients to the nervous system, and aid in healthy digestion.
How to Select Parsnips
Choose parsnips that are firm and dry. Smaller ones may be more flavorful and tender. Avoid cracked and wilted parsnips.
How to Prepare Parsnips
Parsnips can be boiled, or mashed. Boil with equal parts water to vegetable. Drain excess water, then mash. Parsnips are prepared by roasting with other vegetables, like carrots, 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Until they turn golden, brown and sizzled.
How to Store Parsnips
Refrigerate parsnips unwashed in an unsealed bag for 2 – 4 weeks
Benefits of Peas
Peas are a good source of protein, B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, iron, and potassium. Many of these nutrients ensure more benefits towards the quality of life.
How to Select Peas
Only purchase peas if they are bright green and appear fresh with no scratches or rough patches.
How to Prepare Peas
Do not wash them before they are stored. Rinse peas before shelling them. To shell peas, pinch the stem off with your fingernails and pull the string down the length of the pod. The pod will pop open and the push peas out of the pod with your thumb. When finished, wash all peas. Use fresh peas as soon as possible for optimal taste.
How to Store Peas
Place them in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. After cooking peas, store in a sealed container for up to 3-5 days.
Benefits of Peppers
Peppers provide a good source of vitamin B6, C, K, beta-carotene, thiamine, and folic acid. Beta-carotene helps with healthy eyes and skin functions. They also provide an exceptional amount of antioxidants.
How to Select Peppers
Skin should be firm without any wrinkles, and the stem should be fresh and green. Avoid peppers with sunken areas, scratches, or black spots.
How to Prepare Peppers
The type of pepper will depend greatly on how you handle it. Hot peppers require gloves to de-seed and cut seed cage out. WARNING: do not touch your face, eyes, or vulnerable areas of body. Milder to cooler peppers, such as bell peppers, are not harmful to the skin.
How to Store Peppers
Store the unwashed peppers in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Peppers will stay fresh for about one week.
Benefits of Potatoes
Potatoes provide a good source of vitamin C, and contain potassium, iron, and vitamin B. All of these vitamins and minerals ensure a better quality of life. Most of the minerals and vitamins are contained in or just below the skin.
How to Select Potatoes
Select potatoes that are firm, and round in shape. Different types come in different sizes. Be sure to pick one without buds, soft spots, or dark spots.
How to Prepare Potatoes
Potatoes need washed and scrubbed prior to eating. Cut out any sprouts growing from the eyes of the potato. Potatoes can be prepared by boiling, baking, roasting, or frying.
How to Store Potatoes
Purchase potatoes and store in thick paper sacks rather than plastic bags. Potatoes should be stored in a dark, cool, dry place. Potatoes will keep for up to 3 months when stored correctly.
Benefits of Radishes
Radishes provide an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps protect against cancer. Radishes leaves contain almost six times the vitamin C content of their root and are a good source of calcium.
How to Select Radishes
Avoid soft or spongy radishes.
How to Prepare Radishes
Scrub radishes, trim off the stem and the tip. Radishes can be ate fresh, or added to salads, soups, and many other recipes.
How to Store Radishes
Most varieties will keep up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
Benefits of Spinach
Spinach provides a good source of Vitamins A & C. Both Vitamins A & C work on cellular renewal that fight against infections and helps invigorate skin, teeth, and gums.
How to Select Spinach
Choose green and crisp spinach. Make sure it has a fresh fragrance.
How to Prepare Spinach
Wash spinach thoroughly and gently. Dry spinach and pack it loosely into a plastic bag.
How to Store Spinach
Keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Benefits of Spring Peas
Excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin K. Vitamin K greatly benefit the cardiovascular and circulatory systems.
How to Select Spring Peas
Choose peas that are bright green, firm, and free of blemishes. For the sweetest flavor, serve peas as soon after purchase as possible.
How to Prepare Spring Peas
Do not wash them before they are stored. Rinse peas before shelling them. To shell peas, pinch the stem off with your fingernails and pull the string down the length of the pod. The pod will pop open and the push peas out of the pod with your thumb. When finished, wash all peas. Use fresh peas as soon as possible for optimal taste.
How to Store Spring Peas
Store shelled peas in the in the crisper section of the refrigerator in a perforated, plastic bag. Use within 3 - 5 days.
Benefits of Squash
Squash is an excellent source of vitamin A and a good source of vitamin C. Both Vitamins A & C work on cellular renewal that fight against infections and helps invigorate skin, teeth, and gums.
How to Select Squash
The squash rind should be hard, deep colored and free of soft spots and mold.
How to Prepare Squash
Yellow (summer) squash rind/ peel are edible. Wash in water, cut, slice, or dice as desired. Steam, boil, bake, roast, or cook in the microwave. Cook as directed
How to Store Squash
Fresh, uncut squash stores in the refrigerator for up to 7 – 14 days. Wrap cut pieces in plastic and refrigerate up to 5 days.
Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A & C. Both Vitamins A & C work on cellular renewal that fight against infections and helps invigorate skin, teeth, and gums.
How to Select Sweet Potatoes
Choose firm, dark, and smooth potatoes. Choose potatoes without blemishes. Be sure to pick one without buds, soft spots, or rough darker spots.
How to Prepare Sweet Potatoes
Do not wash them until they are being prepared. Sweet potatoes are best steamed, boiled, baked, roasted or cooking in the microwave.
How to Store Sweet Potatoes
Store sweet potatoes in a dry, cool, dark place, up to 4 weeks.
Benefits of Tomatoes
Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C & V. Both Vitamins A & C work on cellular renewal that fight against infections and helps invigorate skin, teeth, and gums.
How to Select Tomatoes
Choose plump tomatoes that have smooth skin and no blemishes
How to Prepare Tomatoes
Wash them well, and prepare as desired or according to a recipes directions.
How to Store Tomatoes
Store the tomatoes at room temperature. Keep them out of direct sunlight until ripe. After ripe and cut, refrigerate and use within a week.
Benefits of Turnips
Turnips are an excellent source of vitamin C.
How to Select Turnips
Select pearly, heavy turnips without soft spots and fresh leaves, if still attached. Small to medium ones are the sweetest.
How to Prepare Turnips
Turnips are best steamed, boiled, baked, roasted or cooking in the microwave.
How to Store Turnips
Store the turnips in the refrigerator. Place turnips in a plastic bag for only a few days, since they get bitter with prolonged storage.
Benefits of Zucchini
The skin and rind are rich in the nutrient beta-carotene. To gain the full nutritional benefits of this vegetable, the skins or rinds are edible.
How to Select Zucchini
Zucchini should be firm and glossy with healthy looking skin. Avoid soft or limp zucchini. They are available year round, unlike other varieties of squash.
How to Prepare Zucchini
Taste best when eaten immediately after picked. Zucchini can be prepared sautéed, grilled, roasted, or steamed.
How to Store Zucchini
Cooked squash can be stored in the refrigerator, in a sealed container, for up to 3 days. Uncooked squash last in the refrigerator for about a week.
Calcium: Calcium is essential for healthy bones and teeth. It is also needed for normal functioning of muscles, nerves, and some glands.
Fiber: Diets rich in dietary fiber have been shown to have a number of beneficial effects, including decreased risk of coronary heart disease.
Folate: Healthful diets with adequate folate may reduce a woman’s risk of having a child with a brain or spinal cord defect.
Iron: Needed for healthy blood and normal functioning of all cells.
Magnesium: magnesium is necessary for healthy bones and is involved with more than 300 enzymes in your body. Inadequate levels may result in muscle cramps and high blood pressure.
Potassium: Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Sodium: Needed for normal cell function throughout the body. Most diets contain too much sodium which is associated with high blood pressure.
Vitamin A: Keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps protect against infections.
Vitamin C: Helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy.
Antioxidants: Inhibits oxidation from damaging free radicles in the environment. Also reduces risks of cancers, and slows down age progression for healthier body functions.
Benefits of Barley
Barley lowers cholesterol levels due to the natural fiber supplement.
How to Select Barley
Just as with any other food that you may purchase in the bulk section, make sure that the bins containing the barley are covered and that the store has a good product turnover to ensure freshness. Whether purchasing barley in bulk or in a packaged container, free of moisture.
How to Prepare Barley
Generally simmered or used as an ingredient in casseroles or soups. Cooking time varies, for the preparation of grits; it may take 1¾ hours for hulled barley. Barley and fruit make a pleasing breakfast dish.
How to Store Barley
Barley stores in a pantry for 6 months and can be frozen for 1 year. Barley flour or meal stores best in a pantry for 3 months, and lasts in a freezer for 6 months.
Facts about Barley
Enjoy side dishes with barley. Many uses of barley include breads, pilaf, porridge, and barley flour to bake cookies.
Benefits of Buckwheat
Buckwheat includes high levels of antioxidants. Buckwheat improves circulation and prevents LDL (bad) cholesterol from blocking blood vessels
How to Select Buckwheat
Just as with any other food that you may purchase in the bulk section. Whether purchasing buckwheat in bulk or in a packaged container, make sure there is no evidence of moisture.
How to Prepare Buckwheat
Every 2 cups of Buckwheat needs 3 cups of water. Boil water with ½ teaspoon of salt then add buckwheat.
Once the buckwheat has expanded, turn the heat down to low and place a lid on the pot for 5 – 15 minutes until cooked. Let cool, add to dishes, and recipes.
How to Store Buckwheat
Place buckwheat in an airtight container and store in a cool dry place. If stored properly, whole buckwheat can last up to one year, the flour will stay fresh for several months.
Facts about Buckwheat
Buckwheat falls under the plant family, not the grains – and certainly not a kind of wheat. However, its nutrients, nutty flavor and appearance have led to its ready adoption into the family of grains.
Benefits of Bulgur
Bulgur contains healthy amounts of carbohydrates and fiber. Bulgur includes B vitamins that play different roles in providing support to bones and immunity.
How to Select Bulgur
Just as with any other food that you may purchase in the bulk section. Whether purchasing bulgur in bulk or in a packaged container, be sure to find the bag moisture free.
How to Prepare Bulgur
Mix 1 part bulgur and 2 parts water together, bring to a boil, and then turn down to low. Cover pot while simmering on low, for approximately 15-20 minutes, until bulgur cooks fully.
How to Store Bulgur
Store bulgur in a tight container located a cool, dry and dark place.
Facts about Bulgur
Many Middle Eastern dishes use Bulgur. The salad known as tabbouleh includes bulgur as the main ingredient, with added flavors from mint and vegetables.
Benefits of Oats
Oats contain healthy amounts of fiber, which effectively lowers cholesterol. Oats also contain a unique antioxidant that protects blood vessels from the damaging effects of LDL (bad) cholesterol
How to Select Oats
For those who enjoy chewier nuttier texture, steel-cut oats will be more delightful. Whether purchasing oats in bulk or in a packaged container, be sure there are no signs of moisture.
How to Prepare Oats
Cook oats down with milk, water, and topped with nuts, fruit, butter, and/or fruit preserves. Oat groats are whole kernels of oats that take longer to cook, whereas, flattened oats are rolled flat, and require less cooking time. Whole oats are best cooked with 1 cup of oats to 3 cups of water or milk. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Flattened oats require 1 cup of oats to 3 cups of milk or water. Bring to a boil and then add oats- stir, and take off heat.
How to Store Oats
Store oats in an airtight container located in a cool dry place in the pantry. After cooking oats, store in an airtight container up to 5 days.
Facts about Oats
Oats have a natural sweetness, which makes them a popular whole grain. Oats are often used in morning cereals.
Benefits of Rice
One cup of cooked wild rice nourishes your body with B vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates. The B vitamins do different important roles in metabolizing food and helping the body use the nutrients.
How to Select Rice
Selecting rice depends on the meal you want to make. Rice comes in long, medium, short grain, sweet, wild, and multicolored. Be sure the bag of rice shows no signs of moisture.
How to Prepare Rice
Mix 1 cup rice and 2 cups of water together, bring to a boil, and then turn down to low. Cover pot while simmering on low, for approximately 15-20 minutes, until rice fully cooks. Rice cookers and steamers are a very reliable way to cook perfect rice.
How to Store Rice
Dry rice can be stored in a pantry for long periods of time. After cooking rice, keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator up to 7-14 days.
Facts about Rice
Rice will digest more easily, which makes it ideal for those on a restricted diet who are gluten-intolerant.
Benefits of Rye
Rye includes high levels of fiber; because of this, rye will be a great choice for diabetics.
How to Select Rye
Just as with any other food that you may purchase in the bulk section. Whether purchasing rye in bulk or in a packaged container, be sure to choose a bag free of moisture.
How to Prepare Rye
Rinse rye thoroughly under running water. Remove any debris from rinsed rye. After rinsing, add one part whole rye to two and one-half parts boiling water along with a pinch of salt. After the liquid has returned to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for about 1 to 1-1/2 hours. If you want the texture to be softer, you can soak the rye grains overnight and then cook them for two to three hours.
How to Store Rye
Store rye in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place where it will keep for several months.
Facts about Rye
The type of fiber in rye provides a rapid feeling of fullness, making it a great choice for those who are trying to lose weight. Rye has a robust flavor and used in baking breads.
Benefits of Corn
Corn includes high amounts of protein and carbohydrates. Healthy proteins and carbohydrates work to fuel the body with energy and support healthy muscle functions.
How to Select Corn
Choose ears with green, tight and fresh husks. Also, look for tightly packed rows of plump kernels. To find whole grain cornmeal, avoid labels that say de-germinated.
How to Prepare Corn
Husk the corn before cooking. Cook fresh corn as soon as possible after purchase. Boil water and add corn to the boiling water.
How to Store Corn
Refrigerate corn in husks, up to 7 days, for maximum freshness.
Facts about Corn
Corn may be dismissed as a nutrient poor starch and a second rate grain/vegetable; However, corn will be a great source of antioxidants.
Benefits of Wheat
Whole grain wheat supplies magnesium, copper, and fiber. These are essential for bone development and cellular renewal.
How to Select Wheat
Look for wheat packaged in sealed containers. It will be more protected from moisture, and rancidity.
How to Prepare Wheat
On the stovetop, transfer the wheat berries into a saucepan and add 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover the pan. After 30 minutes of simmering check for doneness, drain, and enjoy.
How to Store Wheat
Wheat should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place. The optimal way to store wheat products is in an airtight container in the refrigerator, as the cooler temperature will help to prevent them from becoming rancid.
Facts about Wheat
Wheat dominates the grain scene, due to its high level of gluten. The stretchy protein, known as gluten, allows bakers to give rise to their products.
Benefits of Amaranth
Amaranth supplies 28% daily value of vitamin k, which will be great for lowering blood pressure, heart and kidney disorders, anxiety and stress. Amaranth has 16% more protein than most other grains.
How to Select Amaranth
Look for amaranth packaged in sealed containers. It will be more protected from moisture, and rancidity.
How to Prepare Amaranth
Preparations for amaranth include cooking in water, broth, or light fruit juices. Place 1 1/2 cups liquid to 1/2 cup amaranth in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until water absorbs, and then check doneness 20-30 minutes. (Yield: 1 1/2 cups cooked.)
How to Store Amaranth
Keep amaranth refrigerated in a zip-lock bag or sealed container, up to 7 days.
Facts about Amaranth
This whole grain was a staple of the Aztec culture, and is becoming more popular in today’s culture. Cereal, breads, muffins, crackers, bread, and pancakes are the products often made using amaranth. Amaranth has a peppery taste.
Benefits of Farro
Farro whole grains are full of minerals, including magnesium, which may relieve tension, menstrual cramps, due to its ability to support muscle, nerve, and bone functions.
How to Select Farro
Look for farro packaged in sealed containers, providing safety from moisture, and rancidity.
How to Prepare Farro
In a saucepan, place 1 cup Farro, add about 2 ½ cups salted water and bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover with lid, and simmer for 15-30 minutes. Drain water, cool, and use as needed. Farro tastes best immediately after cooking.
How to Store Farro
Farro cooked in water stores in the refrigerator, in a sealed container up to 7 days. Dry farro stores best in an airtight container, located in a cool and dry place.
Facts about Farro
This whole grain has also been known for making the best pasta. Semolina flour made from Farro, and still used today for special soups and other dishes in Tuscany.
Benefits of Millet
Cooked millet includes high daily values in water-soluble B vitamins, and important for playing a role in changing carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into energy.
How to Select Millet
When selecting Millet, be sure to choose one free of moisture, for maximum freshness.
How to Prepare Millet
Preparing millet calls for 1 cup of raw millet and 2 cups of cooking liquid (water or broth). Toast millet: In a large, dry saucepan, toast the raw millet over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until it turns a rich golden brown and the grains become fragrant. Then slowly add the water and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover pot, and simmer for 15 minutes. Take away from heat and let stand. Fluff and serve. I cup of dry millet yields 3 ½ cups of cooked millet.
How to Store Millet
Storing whole grain millet in a pantry lasts up to 2 months. Whole grain millet frozen, may last about 4 months in the freezer. Millet flour will store in a pantry for 1 month and in a freezer for 2months.
Facts about Millet
Seeds of millet are ancient, and originated from Africa. Due to the nutty flavor, main dishes and desserts are versatile preparations for millet. Depending on the preparations, the texture can be soft or crunchy.
Benefits of Quinoa
Quinoa includes complete proteins, containing all of the essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce on their own.
How to Select Quinoa
There are different varieties of quinoa. Be sure that whatever kind you choose comes in a clean package and free of moisture.
How to Prepare Quinoa
Un-rinsed quinoa holds a slightly bitter taste. Rinse thoroughly before cooking.
How to Store Quinoa
For maximum freshness, store quinoa in a sealed container up to 6 months, in the refrigerator. Quinoa stores well in a cool dry pantry, in a sealed container, up to 6 months.
Facts about Quinoa
Ideal for incorporating into soups, salads, and baked goods. Quinoa qualifies as gluten free.
Nutritious Benefits of Spelt
Spelt contains more protein than wheat. This grain helps speed up the absorption of nutrients, which helps the digestive tract regulate properly.
How to Select Spelt
Choose spelt flower from a bin that is covered, fresh, and free of moisture.
How to Prepare Spelt
Soak spelt in enough water to cover them for an hour, or overnight. Add the 1 part spelt and 3 parts water to a pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 50-60 minutes, stirring occasionally. The water will absorb completely, when done.
How to Store Spelt
Spelt will last up to 6 months in a pantry and up to 1 year in the freezer. Spelt flour will maintain its quality in a pantry for 2 months and 4 months in a freezer.
Facts about Spelt
When needed, spelt often substitutes wheat in recipes.
Benefits of Teff
Teff has over twice the iron of other grains and three times the calcium.
How to Select Teff
Select a fresh looking bag of teff that looks free of moisture. Teff becomes an easy choice due to the many health benefits teff offers.
How to PrepareTeff
In a medium pot, mix 1 part teff to 3 parts water. When boiling starts, simmer on low, and cover the pot with a lid. After 15-20 minutes the teff should be cooked. After the teff has rested all the water should be absorbed.
How to Store Teff
Place teff in a pantry for 4 months or in the freezer for up to 8 months. Teff flour or meal will be best when placed in a pantry 2 months and in a freezer for 4 months. Teff stores best in a sealed container, in the refrigerator, up to 7 days.
Facts about Teff
Ethiopia, India, and Australia use teff more frequently. Teff offers a sweet molasses-like flavor and provides versatility.
Benefits of Couscous
Couscous offers a rich source of the entire B-family of vitamins. These vitamins are all effective in maintaining healthy cardiovascular health, cancer prevention, and building a strong immunity.
How to Select Couscous
Look for couscous packaged in sealed containers. It will be more protected from moisture, and rancidity.
How to Prepare Couscous
Made best with 1-cup couscous to 1–1/2 cups water, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 5 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally.
How to Store Couscous
It stores very well compared to other wholegrain lasting up to even a year. Couscous will be best stored in a dry, cool area in a sealed glass or plastic container, because air, moisture, and sunlight can cause the oils to go rancid.
Facts about Couscous
Couscous offers a wide variety of versatility. This grain taste great when turned into main dishes served with meat, fish, vegetables, or served as a dessert with honey, nuts, and fruits.