How to Buy Fresh Vegetables

AsparagusRich, green color; tender stalks; closed, compact tips; round spearsOpen, moldy, or decayed tips; ripped spears, excessive sand
Beans (snap)Bright color, tender bean, crisp podsThick, tough, or wilted pods; serious blemishes
BeetsSlender root; rich red color; smooth, round bulbWilted, elongated beets; brown, scaly patches
BroccoliStems not too thick or tough; firm, compact cluster of small flower buds; dark, deep green colorOpen buds; wilted, soft condition; yellow color
Brussels SproutsBright green color, tight outer leaves, no blemishesYellow or wilted leaves, holes or ragged edges
CabbageFirm heads, heavy for size; bright red or green color; fresh; no blemishesWilted, decayed, yellow outer leaves; worn holes
CarrotsBright color; well-rounded, smooth, firm rootsFlabby, decaying roots; patches of green
CauliflowerCreamy white to white head; compact, clean, solid floretsDiscolored spots, wilting
CeleryBright color; smooth, rigid stalks; fresh leavesDiscoloration; flabby or pithy stalks; wilting
CornEars with plump, not overly mature kernels; fresh, green husks; silk ends free from damageYellow, wilted, or dried husks; kernels that are very small, very large, or dark yellow
CucumbersWell-shaped, rounded body; bright green color; firmSigns or wilting, large diameter, yellowing
LettuceBright color, crisp leaves for iceberg and romaine, soft texture for leaf lettuce; no blemishesVery hard heads of iceberg lettuce, poor color, brown or soft spots, irregular heads
MushroomsWhite, creamy color; small to medium size; caps closed or slightly open around stem; pink or light tan gillsBadly pitted or discolored caps, wide open caps, dark gills
– Yellow, White, and RedHard, smooth, and firm with small necks; papery outer coveringWet or soft necks, woody or sprouting areas
– GreenFresh, green tops; well-formed, white bulbsYellow, wilted, or decayed tops
Peppers (bell)Bright color, glossy sheen, firm wells, heavy for sizeThin, wilted; cut or punctured walls; decayed spots
PotatoesFirm, well-shaped, free from blemishes and sunburnlarge cuts, bruises, or green spots; soft and decaying areas; signs of sprouting or shriveling
RadishesPlump, round, and firm; medium size; bright red colorLarge or flabby radishes, decaying tops
– SummerTender, well-developed, firm body glossy skinDull appearance; hard, tough skin
– WinterHard, tough rind; heavy for sizeTender rind; cuts soft, sunken, or moldy spots
TomatoesWell-formed, smooth, free from blemishes, bright red for fully ripe, pink to light red and slightly firmer for ripeningSoft spots, moldy areas, growth cracks, bruises