Walk into a supermarket and within your visual range is that dazzling array of colors and shapes. Your eyes have feasted upon the produce department.
Marketers want to attract your senses because:
- Highly perishable products need to be sold in a short period of time
- They are profitable items
- Shoppers tend to over purchase fruits and vegetables. How many times have you had to toss out rotten produce? Studies show that at least 30% is thrown away.
- This prevents purchase of frozen varieties which are generally more nutritious and less expensive. Frozen is less profitable for the store than fresh.
Renovating Your Mind found some behind the scenes produce secrets that food stores don’t advertise.
Observe the numbers called PLU on the stickers of fruits and vegetables. They are called Price Look Up numbers.
There are three general types in the U.S which are:
One. GMO (Genetically MOdified) numbers start with an 8 and have a total of 5 numbers.
Two. CO (Certified Organic) numbers start with a 9 and also have 5 numbers.
Three. Regular produce also called conventional starts with the numbers 3 or 4 and have only 4 numbers.
1. Weigh pre-packaged produce because poundage sometimes will differ dramatically. Bags are filled by volume and not always by weight.
2. Organic is worth the cost. First check out which types are the most likely to be contaminated from a previously written article. See link below:
3. Some produce is regularly sprayed with water. Shake or paper towel this moisture off before bagging. You lower your pound weight costs (water is heavy) and decrease chances for early spoilage.
4. Apples are stored for up to 14 months in cold storage. All the antioxidant activity in these fruits starts rapidly decreasing over 3-4 months. At 12 months, almost none of the antioxidant is left in the produce. Apple season is from spring to late fall. If the fruit is out of season, it doesn’t matter if its organic.They both have almost no nutrient levels available for absorption. Their taste is mealy and nasty.
5. Buy local apples from Farmers Markets or supermarkets. Also available as dried or frozen off-season.
Environmental Working Group (EWG) 2013 Shoppers Guide to pesticides in produce. This site link below is valuable to protect your health:
6. When picking out greens in pre-packaged bags, pick from the front. Store lights allow the foliage to keep producing valuable nutrients within the packaging. Bags in the back, hidden from the light, degrade faster even if they have a longer expiration date. The nutrients levels start to decrease dramatically without light.
7. Tomatoes are another fruit/vegetable, really a fruit that sometimes tastes a lot better canned. This is especially true for the San Marzano species from California and Italy. Expensive but well worth the quality and sweet taste. Look for brands without BPA in the can linings.
Watch out for this group of produce from the wrong side of town.