Harvesting Good Nutrition

Grocery stores today have a bountiful array of fresh fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber, and low in calories. When you take them out of the store, the rest is up to you. Do you realize how important it is that you choose, store, clean and cook them properly?

Here are some tips on how to get the most value from your fresh vegetables:

· Buy only as much as you can use in a few days. Longer storage loses vitamins and allows natural sugar to turn into starch.

· When you buy, remember darker and more colorful is better when it comes to nutritional value – the bright orange carrots and dark greens have more nutrients than those with lighter colors.

· To prolong the life and nutritional value of fresh produce, seal it in plastic bags or containers and store it in the refrigerator or other cool, dark, dry place. Wait until just before preparation to wash or immerse in water; this will prevent lost water soluble nutrients and vitamin C. Cook with skins on when possible and peel afterwards. Nutrients escape through exposed surface areas during cooking.

· Cook until tender but still crisp by stir frying, microwaving or steaming in a container where vegetables are held above water level.

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