What are fruits and Vegetables
In botany, a fruit is referred to as a seed-bearing structure that develops from the ovary of a flowering plant, whereas vegetables are all other plant parts, such as roots, leaves, and stems. By those standards, seedy outgrowths such as apples, squash and, yes, tomatoes are all fruits, while roots such as beets, potatoes, and turnips, leaves such as lettuce kale and spinach, and stems such as celery and broccoli are all vegetables. 1
Why fruits and vegetable are important
Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber. They also contain important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. A diet high in fruit and vegetables can help protect you against cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Eat five kinds of vegetables and two kinds of fruit daily for you to stay healthy. 2
In order to be healthy, you need to incorporate healthy food into your diet. This means you need to eat fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid junks as much as possible. However, it is not easy to distinguish good fruits or vegetables from bad ones. Sometimes, vegetables like Eggplant/aubergine may appear to be normal on the outside only to greet you with insect holes once you cut open them to eat.
On the other hand, some fruits like banana may have some spots on the outside but will be perfectly healthy to eat. Thus, before buying anything from the grocery store, you need to examine them properly.
Also, don’t wait too long to buy fruits like mango, strawberries, pineapple, cranberries during their season. This will ensure you get the best quality fruits.
Quick tip – Try to eat organic food whenever you can. Organic fruits and vegetables are devoid of fertilizers, synthetic chemicals, and harmful pesticides.
Here are some tips for choosing fresh fruits and vegetables –
Inspect them with your eyes
Before buying any fruit or vegetable, make sure to inspect them properly. Avoid buying vegetables or fruits which have visible insect holes, cuts, molds, or severe bruises on their skin. Green vegetables like lettuce, cucumber, celery or cabbage should look fresh vibrant. They don’t have to be glossy or colorful, just soothing.
Fruits like banana often have spots or specks on their skin. Don’t be afraid of buying them as long as they look healthy. You can also judge their taste based on their color. Use this to your advantage. Green mangoes will be unripe, so they will taste sour. On the other hand, ripe mangoes will be yellow to orange in color and will taste sweet.
Feel them with your hands
Always feel the fruits or vegetables that you want to buy with your hands before you purchase them to cook or eat. Their texture should not be overly soft or hard. Fruits like mangoes, apples, bananas, and oranges should feel firm when they are at their best.
Generally, unripe fruits will be a little harder than fruits which are ripe. Select your fruits based on how ripe you want them to be. Avoid fruits that are soft on some spots. Leafy vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower should feel springy or crisp when you touch them. Fruits or vegetables with high water content like watermelons and pumpkins should feel heavy and full.
Check how they smell
The smell of a fruit or vegetable can tell a lot about its quality and how healthy it is to eat it. Never buy anything if they emit an unnatural or foul smell. The ability to determine the freshness of a fruit or vegetable by their smell can take some time to develop.
It can be easy to choose fruits like banana or orange which have a strong aroma. However, it is not easy to choose apples based on their smell as they are not very fragrant
Avoid vegetables that emit no smell at all or smell like their packaging. As a rule of thumb, choose vegetables that smell fresh or earthy.