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Garden-fresh cooking

woman at farmer's market Hand-picking produce from your garden or local farmers market is a great way to enjoy fresh and delicious food. If you have a bumper crop of tomatoes — or a bag full of veggies from the market — you want to prepare this food while it’s ripe, delicious and most nutritious.

When shopping at your farmers market, look for brightly colored fruits and vegetables that are free of blemishes. Avoid odd or irregular shapes and sizes. When you return home, pick through your purchases and toss any damaged pieces, as bad spots will only spread in close quarters. Store ripe items in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator (with the exception of tomatoes) and let green produce ripen on the countertop, away from sunlight.
Try to incorporate all colors of produce into your diet to ensure that you receive a range of healthy nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fiber and disease-fighting phytochemicals. Each color offers something unique:

  • Green. Broccoli, peas, kiwi, leafy greens, etc., can be a source of vitamin K, potassium, indoles, lutein and zeaxanthin.
  • Yellow/orange. Carrots, sweet potatoes, oranges, bananas, peppers and other
    warm-colored produce can provide vitamin C, potassium, beta-carotene and vitamin A.
  • Red. Cranberries, raspberries, tomatoes, beets and apples can contain vitamin C, lycopene and anthocyanins.
  • Blue/purple. Blueberries, grapes, eggplant and other dark fruits and vegetables offer vitamin C, anthocyanins and phenolics.
  • White. Garlic and onions provide strong flavor and a healthy dose of phytochemicals allium and allicin.

Here’s an easy green bean recipe to help you kick off the summer season!