Selecting the right vegetable when shopping is an art in itself. With recession at its peak, vegetable prices have skyrocketed. It is important that we choose correctly so that we get value for money.
In general, we should make it a point to get locally produced, in season stuff. This will ensure that we get the freshest of stuff at affordable prices. Selecting fresh vegetables and fruits is often a matter of sight and smell.
Brinjal/eggplant: Pick the soft skinned, firm ones. A shiny skin speaks of the freshness of the vegetable. Avoid ones with brown spots or holes.
Bitter gourd (small): This vegetable tends to ripen quickly. Feel the gourd; the seeds should not be prominent to the touch.
Beetroot: Pick the smooth, deeply coloured ones. Avoid those that are scaly, wilted and cracked.
Cabbage: Choose the ones that have tender leaves; always go for medium-sized cabbages.
Cauliflower: Look for ones in which there is no space between the florets. Only then will the stalk not be too thick. Also avoid ones with small green patches. Most importantly, check the florets for worms
Corn: While selecting this, look for ears in which the kernels are neither too ripe nor tender. The green husks are also indication of fresh corn.
Double beans: Feel the individual beans for full-grown seeds. Avoid beans that are blemished and yellow.
Drumstick: This is a singularly tricky vegetable and can be tested by twisting. The ones that twist well are tender and good to eat.
Green chillies: The longer the chilly, the less spicy it is. The ones that are well grown (plump) are spicier.
Ginger: Pick the tender looking pieces. When the skin is scraped it should come off with ease.
Garlic: The individual clove should be visible prominently. Avoid ones that are moist and have a musty smell.
Greens: Choose those with tender leaves and smooth stems. Avoid ones with insect damage and wilted leaves. Look for a rich green colour (for beet and red amaranth, a rich red colour).
Okra: Go for the glossy rich green ones. If you can feel the seeds between your fingers, avoid them.
Onions: White, pink and yellow onions should be dry and firm. Look for onions which are not moist and that have not sprouted.
Peppers: Green and other-coloured bell peppers (capsicum) should be glossy and firm. Go for the deeply coloured ones. Peppers with soft spots or shrivelled skin should be avoided.
Peas: Young peas are tender and sweet. The pods should be a bright green, fairly well filled and velvety to touch. Watch out for wet and damaged pods which may be decayed.
Potato: Look for potatoes that have sprouted and avoid them. Also avoid ones that have green patches. The skin should be tight and easily removable.
Raw banana: Feel for the hardness of the vegetable. The skin should be green and resonate when tapped.
Sweet potato: Do not choose the ones with rough damaged skin. The rounded one are sweeter
Snake gourd: Pick the ones that are firm; then the seeds are minimal and the vegetable is fleshy.
Tomatoes: Choose the brightly coloured ones that are not too soft or too firm. Avoid marble-sized tomatoes
Taro: Always pick the well- rounded ones. Be careful to avoid the ones that have sprouted.
White and red pumpkin: Should be firm and resonate when tapped. When buying slices of pumpkin, select the ones that are soft to the touch and have full-grown seeds.
Yam: When buying a whole yam, remember to choose the big ones. The skin inside should be creamy yellow and free from discolouration.