The Most-Common Summer Produce Mistakes

Avoid these common summer produce mistakes and you'll be on your way to better meals.
Related To:

Photo By: Verdina Anna ©2013 Anna Verdina

Photo By: Fotosearch ©This content is subject to copyright.

Photo By: Westend61 ©This content is subject to copyright.

Photo By: 1MorePhoto ©1MorePhoto

Photo By: Maximilian Stock Ltd. ©This content is subject to copyright.

Photo By: Westend61 ©This content is subject to copyright.

Photo By: Roberto Westbrook ©This content is subject to copyright.

Photo By: Nadezda Verbenko

Photo By: Kristin Lee/Tetra Images ©This content is subject to copyright.

Photo By: Janchisa Puangthong / EyeEm ©This content is subject to copyright.

Photo By: tsvibrav ©tsvibrav

Photo By: Julie Holder ©Julie Holder, Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

Photo By: Southern Stock ©Southern Stock

Photo By: Holger Langmaier / EyeEm ©This content is subject to copyright.

Photo By: Wolfgang Feiler ©This content is subject to copyright.

The Top Taboos

It's the height of the season for fresh summer produce. To help keep fruit and vegetables tasting their best, avoid making these common mistakes.

 

Photo: Verdina Anna/Getty Images

Cutting Melon Without Washing the Outside

Make sure to wash watermelon, honeydew and other melons before slicing. When slicing dirty melon, you can transfer dirt and dangerous bacteria from the outside to the edible portion.

 

Photo: Fotosearch/Getty Images

Refrigerating Tomatoes

Ask any tomato lover — the chill of the fridge will ruin the texture and flavor of juicy summer tomatoes. Keep them at room temperature, pretty please.

 

Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

Washing Berries Prematurely

Delicate blackberries and raspberries are much more likely to get mushy and even moldy if they’ve been washed and then stored; instead, wash them right before you're ready to eat them.

 

Photo: 1MorePhoto/Getty Images

Peeling Summer Squash

The delicate skin of zucchini and yellow squash is full of flavor and nutrients, so don’t let it go to waste.

 

Photo: Maximilian Stock Ltd./iStock

Chilling Peaches

Much like tomatoes, peaches should be kept out of the icebox. Once they are very ripe, you can store them in the fridge for a few days, but for best flavor, sink your teeth in at room temperature.

 

Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

Keeping Corn Too Long

Corn on the cob is best enjoyed the day you bring it home from the market (or a day or two later, at most). Make sure to store it unshucked to help preserve its freshness.

 

Photo: Roberto Westbrook/Getty Images

Throwing Out the Greens

Waste not, want not! The leafy green tops of beets, fennel, turnips and even carrots can all be enjoyed. Buy these seasonal veggies at their peak of freshness (at a farmers market or farm stand if possible) and enjoy those delicate greens ASAP.

 

Photo: Nadezda Verbenko/iStock

Peeling Cucumbers

Locally grown cukes won't have that waxy coating. Take advantage of all the nutrients and antioxidants cucumbers have to offer by leaving the skin intact. 

 

Photo: Kristin Lee/Getty Images

Blanching Tomatoes Before Freezing

You can freeze whole tomatoes unpeeled! When you're ready to use them, run them under warm water to remove the skin. Then chop and add to your favorite soup and sauce recipes.

 

Photo: Janchisa Puangthong/Getty Images

Suffocating Fresh Herbs

To avoid bruised and mushy herbs, store them in a glass of water on the counter (like flowers) or wrapped loosely in paper towels and a plastic bag.

 

Photo: tsvibrav/Getty Images

Exposing Potatoes to Sunlight

Store those spuds in a paper bag to prevent sprouting. 

 

Photo: Julie Holder/Getty Images

Washing Lettuce Only Once

Heads of fresh lettuce are dirty, especially between the leaves. Place the leaves in a large bowl of cool water and shake gently to allow the dirt and grit to fall to the bottom — and then REPEAT to ensure all the grime is removed.

 

Photo: Southern Stock/Getty Images

Ignoring the Effects of Ethylene

Common fruits like apples, bananas and cantaloupe emit ethylene gas, which can expedite the ripening of other items nearby. On the other hand, if you want those avocados to soften quickly, place them right next to the apples. 

 

Photo: Holger Langmaier/Getty Images

Getting Stuck in a Rut

Don't be afraid to try new things. Squash blossoms, broccoli leaves and garlic scapes are just a few of the summer treasures you can scoop up for a short time  — don’t miss out on the chance to enjoy them!

 

Photo: Wolfgang Feiler/Getty Images