When it comes to buying your weekly supply of fruit and veges, it’s important to know what to look for when it comes to selecting the freshest varieties. While some fruits and veges have tell-tale signs of diminished freshness, there are definitely some sneaky ones where you might just find disappointment by the time you’re slicing them open at home. By selecting the freshest produce, you’re able to harness the many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants on offer and get true value for your money.


Always select heads of broccoli that exhibit an unmistakable bright green colour. If there’s any yellowing, hints of a purple tinge or bruised-brown sections, then the broccoli has been sitting on the shelf too long, or care hasn’t been taken in its transportation or unloading into the shop.

Examine the little florets, are they open or closed? If they are open, then its best to leave them behind as it’s a clear sign that too much time has passed since harvest, and has likely already lost too many of the important vitamins.

Is the stem cut freshly or has it already dried out and hardened? If you’re trying to decide between two healthy heads of broccoli, then this would be the final cut (no pun intended).


A healthy cucumber comes in different shades of green and it really depends on the variety. Whichever the shade, the trick is in looking for a nice even colour throughout.

The surface should be smooth and slightly glossy, which indicates care has been taken from farm to shelf.

If you’re shopping in a hurry, it can be all too easy to check the firmness of a cucumber in the centre, but don’t forget to also check the ends of the cucumber, which is often the first place it starts to go soft and soggy.



Look for the richest shades of red, these are the strawberries that stand out from the rest as they have absorbed maximum sunlight and are at their sweetest. The rich shade of red should be from head to tip.

Trying to avoid a sour tasting strawberry? Make sure you leave behind the ones that have any shades of white. This is the first giveaway that they were harvested too early. Unfortunately white strawberries won’t continue to ripen once picked.

The green tips left on the head of a strawberry should be green and fresh in appearance. If the tips are dried out or dull then it’s best to select another punnet.


 Firmness is not always an indicator of the highest quality lemons! If you lightly squeeze a lemon, you want to feel a bit of softness and spring, as they contain a lot more juice and will be much easier to juice. There is a big difference between softness and sponginess however!

As lemons are so versatile, sometimes you have to shop based on your intended use. For instance, if you’re looking at baking using the rind, opt for a thicker skin (and organic where possible), otherwise for juicing, always choose a thin skinned lemon which is also fairly heavy for its size.

Avoid lemons that have any green tinges, as these have been picked too early and won’t ripen, even when left out at room temperature.


All in all, when it comes to choosing the freshest quality produce at your local grocer, you tend to be your own best judge. There are certainly more obvious signs of fruits and veges that have passed their optimal use time (much like the ones you forgot about in the darkened depths of your fridge!) but we hope the above tips will assist in identifying the more subtle signs of poor quality produce.  

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