The Most-Common Summer Produce Mistakes

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

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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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. 


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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.


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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.


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Exposing Potatoes to Sunlight

Store those spuds in a paper bag to prevent sprouting. 


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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.


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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. 


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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!


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