The Surprising Reason That "Fresh Is Best"

Apple Display - Source Wikimedia Commons

Did you know that apples taste better in the Fall & Winter?

Have you ever heard that “Fresh Is Best” when it comes to fruits and vegetables?  It’s true!  But one of the reasons may surprise you.

You probably know that fresh vegetables DO NOT contain the unnecessary salt, fat, sugar and preservatives that most canned and pre-prepared items do.  And the fresher the produce, the greater the nutrient value.  So “Fresh Is Best” in terms of health benefits.

But you may not have considered that “Fresh Is Best” when it comes to taste!  That’s right, eating fresh fruits and veggies is actually more enjoyable.

And that’s one of our first concerns here at 2 Your Health.  We want you to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.

Fresh Means Flavor!

Buying vegetables and fruits outside of their normal growing season means that the flavor is not as rich. So, when people tell me that they don’t like fruits and vegetables, one of my responses is to ask people to focus on eating in-season foods.

So, how do you know what items are in-season?

Buy Local

Summer is approaching and with it arrives the season for local, fresh produce.  It doesn’t get any fresher, or tastier, than the local farmer’s market.  It’s a no-brainer.  If it comes from the local farmer’s market, it’s right off the vine and super-fresh.  The shopping experience itself can be enjoyable and you know without a doubt that you are buying good stuff that is at the peak of freshness and flavor.

In-Season At The Grocery Store

Many fruits and vegetables are available in your grocer’s produce section year-round, but some of them may have been harvested many months ago and are not as fresh and flavorful as they would be in-season.

Apples, for example, are predominantly grown in the Northwest and Michigan and are harvested in the Fall, then stored in a controlled environment most of the year.  The USDA has approved this procedure and the chemical used (carbon dioxide), so you’re in no danger with apples out-of-season.  But you may realize that as we approach summer, apples by variety and quality are less available, less flavorful, and often “mealy” in consistency (softer and dryer).

Even though strawberries are now available to some degree year round, they are at their peak in the late Winter coming from Florida and then again in late Spring from Texas and California (along with local sources) and have far more flavor than at other times of the year.

And one last example: citrus fruits are harvested in the Winter and thus their availability and flavor increases.  The opposite is true in the summer as quality and availability of varieties declines.

So talk to your local grocer about which fresh foods are in-season and more flavorful the next time you go shopping.


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Author: Carla Spencer

Carla Spencer is a Registered Dietitian and founder of 2 Your Health. Her extensive career working with individuals with health challenges led her to create this site dedicated to helping people enjoy their lives while working to prevent or minimize the impact of kidney disease.

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