Vegetables and Fruits



  • Look for compact, tightly closed heads with green, clean-looking leaves. Avoid those with leaves that are brown or separated.


  • Stalks should be tender and firm; tips should be close and compact. Choose the stalks with very little white; they are more tender. Use asparagus soon because it toughens quickly.

Beans, Snap:

  • Those with small seeds inside the pod are best. Avoid beans with dry-looking pods.

Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower

  • Flower clusters on broccoli and cauliflower should be tight and close together. Brussels sprouts should be firm and compact. Smudge, dirty spots may indicate pests or disease.

Cabbage and Head Lettuce:

  • Choose heads that are heavy for their size. Avoid cabbage with worm holes and lettuce with discoloration or soft rot.


  • Choose long, slender cucumbers for best quality. May be dark or medium green, but yellow ones are undesirable


  • Caps should be closed around the stems. Avoid black or brown gills.

Peas and Lima Beans:

  • Select pods that are well-filled but not bulging. Avoid dried, spotted, yellow or limp pods.



  • Skin should be free of bruises and black or brown spots. Purchase them slightly green and allow them to ripen at room temperature.


  • Select plump, solid berries with good color. Avoid stained containers which indicate wet or leaky berries. Berries with clinging caps, such as blackberries and raspberries, may be unripe. Strawberries without caps may be overripe.


  • In cantaloupes, thick, close netting on the rind indicates best quality. Cantaloupes are ripe when the stem scar is smooth and the space between the netting is yellow or yellow-green. They are best when fully ripe with fruity odor.
  • Honey dews are ripe when rind has creamy to yellowish color and velvety texture. Immature honeydews are whitish-green.
  • Ripe watermelons have some yellow color on one side. If melons are white or pale green on one side, they are not ripe.

Oranges, Grapefruit and Lemons:

  • Choose those heavy for their size. Smoother, thinner skins usually indicate more juice. Most skin markings do not affect quality. Oranges with a slight greenish tinge may be just as ripe as fully colored ones. Light or greenish-yellow lemons are more tart than deep yellow ones. Avoid citrus fruits showing withered, sunken or soft areas.