Get to your market early, before things get too picked over. High-demand items like berries, corn, and fresh peas go quickly. If you can, avoid peak market hours: It’s tough to navigate the crowds, and produce has wilted by that time.
2. Buy Sweet Corn Early in the Morning
The early bird gets the sweetest corn, among other things. Sweet corn’s “respiration,” which turns sugars into starch, slows down the colder it gets. Corn bought early in the morning will be sweeter than ears that have heated up during daylight hours.
4. Know What’s in Season
If you want to eat in season, you need to respect the seasons. Part of the pleasure of shopping at your local market is developing an appreciation of fresh, local foods at the height of their natural season. If you’re unsure when apricots will be in season or when the snap peas will stop producing; visit the farmers market information booth. Check your local markets website as many farmers market will post about what is in season.
5. Store Stuff Right
Here are some items that I have found I was storing incorrectly. These ideas helped my fruits and veggies ripen better and last longer.
Peaches – Keep them at room temperature, stem end down; this provides stability on a flat surface.
Cucumbers – Store them in a cool place on your kitchen counter, but be aware: cucumbers are also sensitive to the ethylene gas given off by some fruits and veggies, so keep them apart from the likes of tomatoes, melons, and bananas.
Berries – Wash the berries in a diluted vinegar bath (1 cup vinegar plus 3 cups water) and spin them dry in a salad spinner lined with paper towels until they are completely dry. Store in a sealed container lined with paper towels, leaving the lid open a little to allow moisture to escape.
Strawberries will last longer stored in the refrigerator in a glass jar (use an old spaghetti sauce jar) with a small piece of paper towel placed inside the lid. A trick I wish I had learned a long time ago!
Tomatoes – Store for as little time as possible. Tomatoes are delicate and are best when eaten soon after picking. If you must store, keep them on the counter. Tomatoes will continue to develop flavor until maturation peaks a few days after picking. If you put them in the fridge, leave them on the counter for a day before eating, this will allow some of the enzymes to reactive and will boost the flavor.
Greens and leafy vegetables – It can be tricky keeping leafy greens but a tried and true method is wash, dry, and wrap. Cut greens into bite-sized pieces, wash all the greens and shake off the excess water in a salad spinner. Then spread the greens out on clean bath towels or paper towel to air dry for a few hours. Once the greens are good and dry roll them up in the towel or dry paper towel, secure the ends with rubber bands, and store on the bottom of your refrigerator. Simply unroll the greens as needed and keep the rest rolled up for later.
Follow this link for a great article/poster for the University of California – Davis’ Post Harvest Technology Center for more storage tips.