How to choose and prepare the freshest produce
Just like that, summer is winding down and kids are heading back to school. Parents across the country are packing lunches with the best fruits and veggies they can find. However, when shopping for fruits and vegetables, it can sometimes be a gamble guaranteeing the overall freshness and quality of the produce your little one is bringing to school. Searching for the freshest, ripest and tastiest fruits and vegetables isn't as instinctive as it may seem, regardless of what you’re shopping for. Picking the perfect produce will guarantee an A+ from your student!
Below are some tips and tricks on how to choose and prepare the freshest produce from our friends at Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., one of North America’s leading marketers and distributors of high-quality fresh and fresh-cut fruit and vegetables.
- Apples: When picking apples, select one that is firm with smooth skin. The apple should smell fresh. Get creative when preparing apples for a kid, rather than cut up slices, cut them into animals like a duck for a fun lunchbox surprise.
- Bananas: Select a banana that is firm and without any bruises. Please note that the greener a banana is, the longer it must ripen on the counter. Best to keep bananas in a paper bag or unsealed produce (plastic bag) to aid ripening, but avoid placing in an area that received direct sunlight. Bananas can be used in homemade Acai bowls. Blend up the banana to create your base, you can also add berries and sliced bananas to the top for a fun design.
- Avocados: Select a firm avocado that has a gentle pressure when ripe. Unripe avocados can be ripening at home the same way as a banana. You’ve heard of ants on a log, now get ready for ladybugs on a stick! Spread mashed up avocados on a piece of sliced celery and top with halved cherry tomatoes!
- Pineapples: Select pineapples that are hard or firm (not soft) and that have fresh green leaves. Pineapples should not have soft or dark spots, and they are ready to eat when purchased (no need to ripen at home). Have a hard time getting your child to sit down for breakfast? Make your favorite pancakes and before flipping over, add a sweet pineapple slice. Cook evenly and enjoy!
- Melon: Select melons that look spherical and that have a good shape. The melons should feel waxy and feel heavy for size, and should be firm (not soft). Please note, the melons color does not affect quality. Cut your melons into balls and add them and your little one’s favorite fruit to a stick for a quick and easy kabob!
For more information on Del Monte Fresh Produce, including products, recipes and promotions, visit www.delmontefresh.com, or keep up with the brand on Instagram or YouTube @delmontefresh.