In purchasing lettuce, make sure that you obtain the whole lettuce with the outer green leaves untrimmed, for it is in the green outer leaves that the greatest value lies. Heads of salad greens (cabbage, lettuce, romaine, chicory, escarole, and cauliflower) should be heavy, compact, crisp, and unspotted.
Beets, carrots, radishes, and kohlrabi should be bought young and firm with their top greens unwilted and crisp. Beet tops contain valuable food elements, and should not be wasted as they can be cooked and used in salads. However, they contain oxalic acid, and must be used sparingly.
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Spinach, parsley, and watercress should have dark green, crisp, fresh, and unspotted leaves.
Turnips and parsnips should be firm, smooth, and regularly shaped.
Snap beans and green peas should be firm, smooth, and regularly shaped.
Eggplants should light for size, firm, glossy, and unspotted.
Green and red peppers should be firm, smooth, and crisp with deep green or bright red color.
Avocados contain varying amounts of protein and easily digestible fat, and are rich in vitamins and minerals. They provide a delectable treat when added to salads. They should not be used until fully ripened, at which time they will yield easily to the pressure of the hand.
When purchasing celery, select the green knob celery known as Pascal, and avoid the pale anemic-looking bleached type. Celery should be crisp and unspotted. The leaves of the Pascal celery, cut up and served with lemon and oil, make a fine salad component.
Potatoes should be firm, smooth, with unspotted, dry skin.
Tomatoes should be bright red, firm, smooth, regular in shape, unspotted, and unwrinkled. Make sure they have been ripened naturally, not artificially with gas.
Cucumbers should be firm, green, and unshrivelled. Cucumbers, when not sprayed or waxed, Should be used with the peel.
Onions should be firm and dry with thin, brittle skins. They should not have sprouts, defects, or split bulbs.