Tips for Picking and Storing Summer Produce

My TOP tips for picking the best summer produce and how to store it for maximum freshness!

We all love heading to our local Farmer’s Market in the summer to buy local, seasonal produce! In most cases, we don’t even mind paying a little extra for the amazing freshness we get from the local vendors. But it’s hard to know how to pick the best fruits and veggies with so many to choose from!

So today, I’m sharing my top tips for picking the best of the most popular summer produce items….PLUS how to store them so they stay fresher longer.

Tips for Picking and Storing Summer Produce | Health Chef Julia

Blueberries | Look for berries that are firm, dry, and very blue (not red-ish or green).

How to store: Only rinse blueberries if you intend to eat them immediately. Rinsing and leaving them wet encourages mold growth. If you do rinse them with the intention of storing for future consumption, make sure you dry them very well between paper towels. After drying, put the dry blueberries in a breathable container (you can use the basket they came in). Be sure that the basket is dry and lined with paper towels as well to absorb any excess moisture. Place the basket in the fridge, not the crisper.

Cucumber | Choose cucumbers that are uniformly green (no yellow spots) and very firm, not mushy or soft.

How to store: After cleaning your cucumbers, make sure to THOROUGHLY dry them. Once dry wrap them in a paper towel. Take your dry, wrapped cucumbers and tuck them inside a plastic bag. You do not need to use a resealable plastic bag, but if you are just keep it open at the top.

Watermelon | Choose an average-sized melon, neither the largest nor the smallest compared to the rest available. The melon should feel heavy for its size which means it has a lot of water and will be very juicy.

How to store: If you’re cutting watermelon into cubes, store the cut watermelon pieces in an airtight container in your refrigerator. The sooner you eat it, the better. If you’re slicing it as you eat it, wrap the unsliced pieces in plastic wrap and store in the fridge.

Corn | Choose corn with bright green husks and moist, but not slimy, silk. Peel back the husk to ensure the kernels are bright yellow, plump, and not dried out.

How to store: To keep fresh corn from drying out at home, store the ears wrapped tightly in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. If you don’t plan on eating your corn within three days, freeze it.

Tomatoes | Choose tomatoes that are nicely fragrant, feel heavy for their size, and are slightly firm. Avoid tomatoes with wrinkled skins or soft spots.

How to store: Ripe tomatoes should be kept at room temperature on the counter away from sunlight. They should be arranged in a single layer, not touching one another, and stem side up. Consume them within a couple of days.

Peaches | Choose fragrant, deeply colored peaches with no green spots. Make sure they are firm but slightly soft to the touch for prime ripeness.

How to store: Unripe peaches can be stored in a paper bag on the counter to quicken the ripening process. Once ripe, stick them in the fridge in a loosely sealed plastic bag to slow down the ripening process.

Broccoli | Choose pieces with firm stalks, tight florets, and crisp green leaves. Avoid yellowing, brown, slimy, or flowering florets.

How to store: Consume fresh broccoli as soon as you can for best flavor and texture. To store, sprinkle a little bit of water on unwashed heads, wrap loosely in damp paper towels, and refrigerate. Definitely use them within 2 to 3 days and do not store broccoli in a sealed container bag because it requires air circulation.