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How to Buy Fresh Vegetables

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Vegetables Choose Avoid
Asparagus Rich, green color; tender stalks; closed, compact tips; round spears Open, moldy, or decayed tips; ripped spears, excessive sand
Beans (snap) Bright color, tender bean, crisp pods Thick, tough, or wilted pods; serious blemishes
Beets Slender root; rich red color; smooth, round bulb Wilted, elongated beets; brown, scaly patches
Broccoli Stems not too thick or tough; firm, compact cluster of small flower buds; dark, deep green color Open buds; wilted, soft condition; yellow color
Brussels Sprouts Bright green color, tight outer leaves, no blemishes Yellow or wilted leaves, holes or ragged edges
Cabbage Firm heads, heavy for size; bright red or green color; fresh; no blemishes Wilted, decayed, yellow outer leaves; worn holes
Carrots Bright color; well-rounded, smooth, firm roots Flabby, decaying roots; patches of green
Cauliflower Creamy white to white head; compact, clean, solid florets Discolored spots, wilting
Celery Bright color; smooth, rigid stalks; fresh leaves Discoloration; flabby or pithy stalks; wilting
Corn Ears with plump, not overly mature kernels; fresh, green husks; silk ends free from damage Yellow, wilted, or dried husks; kernels that are very small, very large, or dark yellow
Cucumbers Well-shaped, rounded body; bright green color; firm Signs or wilting, large diameter, yellowing
Lettuce Bright color, crisp leaves for iceberg and romaine, soft texture for leaf lettuce; no blemishes Very hard heads of iceberg lettuce, poor color, brown or soft spots, irregular heads
Mushrooms White, creamy color; small to medium size; caps closed or slightly open around stem; pink or light tan gills Badly pitted or discolored caps, wide open caps, dark gills
- Yellow, White, and Red Hard, smooth, and firm with small necks; papery outer covering Wet or soft necks, woody or sprouting areas
- Green Fresh, green tops; well-formed, white bulbs Yellow, wilted, or decayed tops
Peppers (bell) Bright color, glossy sheen, firm wells, heavy for size Thin, wilted; cut or punctured walls; decayed spots
Potatoes Firm, well-shaped, free from blemishes and sunburn large cuts, bruises, or green spots; soft and decaying areas; signs of sprouting or shriveling
Radishes Plump, round, and firm; medium size; bright red color Large or flabby radishes, decaying tops
- Summer Tender, well-developed, firm body glossy skin Dull appearance; hard, tough skin
- Winter Hard, tough rind; heavy for size Tender rind; cuts soft, sunken, or moldy spots
Tomatoes Well-formed, smooth, free from blemishes, bright red for fully ripe, pink to light red and slightly firmer for ripening Soft spots, moldy areas, growth cracks, bruises