Useful tips for shopping vegetables

We all agree that health is wealth. Staying healthy is the first thing to take care, failing which, all the other things become unfeasible. Whether we are a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian, all of us eat vegetables to stay healthy. To ensure that we stay hale and healthy, we should make sure that we choose only fresh vegetables. So how do you know if they are fresh or not? Here are the yardsticks to measure how healthy the vegetable is!


Choosing fresh vegetables does not require any special skills. But there are certain things to look for in each vegetable that we buy, to know if we are choosing only the best ones. Here are the tips that will guide you to select fresh vegetables next time when you go the vegetable market.

1. Onions

Avoid onions with shoots. The skin should be glossy and should not be broken or cracked. The ends of the onion should be firm and not soft.

2. Tomatoes

The tomatoes should be firm. There should not be any odour coming from it. If you are buying for storing it for a week or so, buy a higher proportion of unripe ones and while using, be sure to use the ripe ones first.

3. Lemons

Fresh lemons should be firm and have a bright colour. They should give out the typical lemon fragrance. The skin of the lemon should be thin, glossy and without dots.

4. Potatoes

Avoid sprouted potatoes or if they are greenish in colour.

If you are buying potatoes for making chips or crisp curries, they should be round and firm, have a smooth skin and be of medium size. They should have white flesh (chip off with your nail to test).

If you are buying them for filling parathas, buy large potatoes. They will have a floury texture which can be cooked and mashed easily.

5. Ladies finger

The tips of the ladies finger should be tender enough to snap when you bend them. Those which are too flexible are too ripe and mature.

6. Brinjal

The stem should be broad and well spread. The colour should be dark and glossy. Holes in brinjals indicates presence of worms.

7. Radish

The leaves of the radish should be fresh and crisp. Radishes should be juicy and translucent.

8. Cabbage

The colour of the cabbage should be bright green in colour. The outer leaves should be thin and crisp. They should not be soggy. Heavy and small cabbages are generally tasty. In case of buying a piece of big cabbage, make sure the white inner core is tender. If buying a whole cabbage, be sure to check if the outer layers are not peeled off already. If they had been peeled, the cabbage knob will have 'stumps' of the outer leaves left at the bottom of the cabbage.

9. Carrots

Fresh carrots are bright orange in colour and are moist. Long slim ones are juicy and sweet. Avoid pulpy or damp carrots. Also avoid carrots with knobs.

10. Drumsticks

Drumsticks should be dark green in colour. The tips should bend easily. They should be uniformly cylindrical.

11. Coconuts

Shake the coconut and feel the water slashing. If you can feel the water slashing, it is fresh. Dry ones are best avoided.

12. Beans

Fresh beans are flexible and have a few fibres and are juicy when cut. They should snap when bent.

13. Cucumbers

Tender cucumbers will have light yellow stripes. These can be used to make salads. Large ones can be used to make curries,etc.

14. Bitter gourd

Tender bitter gourds are soft to touch and are dark green in colour with a uniform shape.

15. Plantains

a. Unripe plantain: They should look fresh and green. The tip of the plantain should have the 'knob' intact. If the tip of the vegetable's knob is flexible, it means the plantain is tender.

b. Plantain Stem: Check the cut portion of the stem by chipping off a small portion with your nail. If there are no fibres coming out, it means the stem is tender.

c. Plantain Flower: If the inner layers of the flower are white and fresh, it means the flower is good.

Happy shopping!


Guest Author: Prem tambe27 Oct 2013

Hi Poornima, your article on shopping for vegetables is very interesting. Also, it is very useful for new fellows in the kitchen. If you write more about each vegetable, it will be more useful. For example, the nutrient concentration in each vegetable.
Hope, you will share more knowledge with us.

Guest Author: jothikrishnan28 Oct 2013

This article though looks very simple, gives a lot of information. Generally, vegetable shopping is a Herculean task for some people. Main reason is lack of patience to search the vegetable in its quality, e.g. Brinjal.

It has provided nice tips for the people like me to choose fresh ones.

Guest Author: Sanaa Shaikh16 Nov 2013

This resource article would really prove beneficial for newlyweds who do not have much experience in buying vegetables from open market.
Though the author has tried to cover all the major vegetables which we get in Indian market, but forgot to mention anything about major green leafy veggies like spinach, corinder and the likes.

Tips to buy Green leafy vegetables:

  1. When you are buying green leafy vegetables, always closely look for its color. Their color should be bright green.
  2. The leaves should be broad and fresh.
  3. If you observe some while stray lines over the green leaves, avoid buying the. Such lines usually indicate larvae of worms and their movement over leaves. It could cause you indigestion.
  4. Shake the bundle of green leafy veggie, if they remains erect and firm, then it is fresh and you can buy it.
  5. If you observe some transparent spots over leaf of the green leafy vegetable, then do not buy it. This is the sign of degradation which could be due to chemical exposure or anything poisonous.
  6. Do not buy green leafy vegetables, from near a dusty road side as the exhausts from vehicles get absorbed by them making them unfit for consumption.
  7. Always wash these green veggies 2-3 times properly before cooking.
  8. It is advisable to cook them afreah. If you have to store it, then place them in an air-tight container after washing and drying (never dry them under the sun; you may shade fry them under a fan) and keep it inside a refrigerator.

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