Benefits of apples are countless and their varieties are endless, with their wide range of shapes, colors, flavors, textures, and uses. There are summer planted apples, which should be eaten right away and there are winter apples, which keep longer.
Choose: firm, well-colored apples, without bruises.
At room temperature: for ripening. Keep ripe apples several weeks in a dark, very cool and very humid environment.
In the fridge: a few weeks, in the fruit compartment or in a loosely closed bag.
In the freezer: made into a purée, with or without sugar. Raw apples should be peeled, trimmed, sliced and sprinkled with lemon juice or ascorbic acid to prevent browning.
Good source: potassium and vitamin C.
Properties: diuretic, muscular tonic, digestive and liver decongestant.
Botanically, the fruit is similar to peaches and nectarine. The apricot’s skin is velvety and becomes smoother as it develops. Apricots are orange in color and are packed with beta-carotene and fiber. It is often identified as a fruit that lies somewhere between peach and a plum.
Choose: intact apricots that are neither too firm nor too soft, without white spots, cracks or bruises.
Storing: handle apricots with care, as they deteriorate quickly. Wash before using.
At room temperature: for ripening.
In the fridge: ripe, 1 week.
In the freezer: blanch, peel and pit.
Excellent source: vitamin A.
Good source: potassium.
Arugula also known as rocket, is one of the most nutritious green- leafy vegetables that has high nitrate levels. As in other greens, Arugula is a low calorie vegetable. Its leaves contain adequate levels of minerals, especially copper and iron.
Choose: arugula with fresh, tender leaves that are a solid green color and well defined. Avoid: arugula with limp, yellowed or spotted leaves.
Storing: Use arugula as soon as possible after purchase.
In the fridge: 2-3 days, wrapped in damp paper towel and placed in a loosely closed plastic bag. It can also stand with its stems in a container with cold water, changed daily.
Asparagus is a tasty vegetable that can be enjoyed cooked or raw in salads and in many dishes. Namely, “the young shoot” that emerges the stem called “the crown”. The most common type of asparagus is green but it appears in white, and in purple.
Choose: firm, stiff asparagus with compact heads and a vivid color, with no rust- colored parts, that are a similar size.
Avoid: yellowed asparagus with limp stems and flowering heads.
Storing: asparagus is very fragile.
In the fridge: 3 days, wrapped in a damp cloth and placed in a loosely closed or perforated plastic bag.
In the freezer: 9 months, blanched and placed in a plastic bag.
Excellent source: folic acid.
Properties: Diuretic, and contains vitamin C, potassium, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6 , copper, vitamin A, iron, phosphorous, and zinc. Asparagus is said to be laxative, mineralizing and tonic.
The fruit has high nutrient values and is added to all kinds of dishes due to its good flavor and its rich texture. Avocado’s substance is creamy, and buttery and is grown in warm climates. It provides a substantial amount of monounsaturated fat (the healthy type). Avocados are a naturally nutrient-dense food and contain nearly 20 vitamins and minerals.
Buy: Gourmet, Nature’s gift stores.
Avoid: very soft avocados.
At room temperature: place in a paper bag if you wish to speed up the ripening process.
In the fridge: ripe avocado, 2- 3 days. If the avocado is cut, sprinkle the exposed part of the avocado with lemon juice to avoid the flesh discoloring and keep 1-2 days.
In the freezer: puréed with lemon juice, about 1 year.
Choose: an avocado that is rather heavy for its size, not too hard, and without dark spots or bruises. It is ready to eat when it yields to slight finger pressure.
Excellent source: potassium and folic acid.
Good source: vitamin B6.
Properties: very nutritious and high in energy. Avocado is said to be beneficial for the stomach and intestines.
The artichoke is the bud of a plant from the thistle family, and it tastes best at full maturity. If not harvested from the plant, the bud will eventually blossom into a blue-violet flower, which is not edible. The edible parts of the artichoke are its heart (the base) and the bottom part of the leaves.
Choose: a compact, heavy artichoke with hard, tight leaves and a good green color.
Avoid: an artichoke with discolored leaves or black spots at the tip, or that are open.
In the fridge: 4-5 days, unwashed, in a loosely closed plastic bag. If it has a stem, place upright in water.
In the freezer: cooked artichoke hearts, 6-8 months.
Excellent source: potassium and magnesium.
Good source: folic acid.
Properties: aperitive, blood purifier, antitoxic and diuretic.