7 Things NOT to Do with Summer Produce

eaten water melon slices

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eaten water melon slices

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.

Don’t … cut a melon without washing the outside

Make sure to wash watermelon, honeydew and other melons before slicing. If you don’t, you might transfer dirt and bacteria from the outside to the edible portion when you make that first cut.

Beefsteak tomatoes on the vine in various colors.

Beefsteak tomatoes on the vine in various colors.

Don’t … refrigerate tomatoes

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

Don’t … wash berries until you are ready to eat them

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 use.

Stock Photo of Zucchini on Zinc

FN_Stock_Zucchini_Zinc_H

Stock Photo of Zucchini on Zinc

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Don’t … peel summer squash

The delicate skin of zucchini and yellow squash is full of flavor and nutrients, so make sure not to waste it.

One peach

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One peach

Don’t … chill 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.

Corn on cob, high angle view, close up

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Corn on cob, high angle view, close up

Photo by: DAJ

DAJ

Don’t … keep corn around for 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.

Carrot on wooden background

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Carrot on wooden background

Photo by: Nadezda Verbenko

Nadezda Verbenko

Don’t … throw 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. Try Veggie Top Pesto.

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Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

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