How to select fresh vegetables -

Selecting and storing fresh veggies

Lots of people are drawn to the luscious looks of fresh fruit at farmer's markets. But did you know vegetables give you more bang for your buck? They sure do! So here are some expert tips for buying great veggies and making them last once you get back home.

When he's not traveling the country for his TV show "Good Food America," Chef Nathan Lyon loves shopping for fresh produce at his favorite farmer's market in Hollywood, California.

"As far as price point, fresh vegetables are going to be less expensive than fresh fruit," Nathan explains. "They hold up a lot better. You can't throw fresh peaches in a cardboard box and drive it four hours like you can with, say, potatoes or carrots. So when you want to save some money and get lots of flavor, fresh vegetables are where you'll find it." 

When you get carrots at the farmer's market, you want to rip off the top portion, because the carrot doesn't know it's out of the ground and will keep growing. But you do want all the sugar to stay in the carrot, so Nathan says you should tear off the greens and store them in the crisper drawer. It should last about 2 ½ to 3 weeks.

What about beets? Fresh beets. Nathan says, "Don't tear off the greens. Don't let them take it home. You take it home. You pay a lot of money for these in a restaurant, so you'll tear them off, soak them and you saute them really quickly with fresh thyme, salt and pepper and a little olive oil. The whole thing costs less than $2.00."

Sometimes you can wind up with more vegetables than you can use right away.

"Homemade stock. That's the answer," says Nathan. "When you go in the grocery store, the pre-made stock has artificial colors; it has a lot of sugar. Why even have that when there's already plenty of flavor here? You'll take onions, celery, carrots, some fresh herbs. Cook it down for about five hours and you'll have plenty of fresh stock that stores in the freezer. You'll have it all year long!"

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