What’s the best way, the simplest way and and smartest way to make everything you prepare and eat at home taste delicious? Finding and preparing your meals with the freshest food. That’s it! It is “THE SECRET!” No special techniques, not even an exotic ingredient in the mix. Just simply the freshest food you can find.
With the exceptions of certain wines, some cheeses, etc., the fresher the food, the better the taste. And, oh yes, did I mention that most of the time, the freshest food is a lot more nutritious, too?
8 WAYS TO FIND THE FRESHEST, BEST-TASTING FOOD
So, how do we go about implementing this little trick of finding the freshest food? How can we do our best to get all that fresh goodness in our kitchen and on our plates? I have several suggestions for you to do just that:
1. Grow your own.
Can’t get any fresher than opening your back door and picking the ripest tomatoes or green beans for dinner! I know we all do not have space or sunny yard to do this, but it really is so cost efficient and best tasting if possible. There are no concerns over pesticide use or contamination, either, if you choose organic gardening. If space is an issue, try container gardening for your favorite herbs and vegetables.
Don’t miss this: Super tips on how to grow your own food in containers.
2. Mingle with foodies.
Pick the brain of your foodie friends, neighbors, co-workers and acquaintances. They will tell you the great markets, the wonderful growers at the farmers markets or food stands, yummiest bakeries or the best places to buy fresh fish in your area. They love good food and spend time finding it.
3. Smile and make friends.
The ones behind the counter know! Form a relationship with your local grocer, produce manager, fishmonger, bakery staff, etc. Ask them what days they receive fresh fruits and vegetables, when they get their shipments in, what day the fresh bread in the bakery is made, etc. Get to know those faces, learn something and make friends.
Don’t miss this: great questions for your fish monger to get the best.
4. Outdoor shopping is more fun.
If you live in an area that has farmers’ markets, this is where you must hang out once a week or more. Walk around and notice the fresh everything — fresh meats, cheeses, and amazing produce to eat seasonally. Check out my tips for farmers’ market buying here with the right questions and get to know your growers, too. Find out how the food has been grown or raised and the practices the farm uses. Also, ask the farmers where they are during the winter months, as many find indoor markets to participate in during the cold weather, as well.
Don’t miss this: six greens to shop for and how to prepare them.
5. Turn it over.
Simple, but yes, check the bottom for the expiration date on refrigerated items and pantry items too! Pick the items with the furthest date in the future to ensure you get the longest use from your purchase.
Don’t miss this: how to ensure that expensive olive oil is your best bet.
6. Experiment with a local group.
Sign up for a community-supported agriculture (CSA) association to provide your support to one or more local farms at the beginning of a growing season. It is fun to see what produce, meats and goods like homemade jam or eggs come in. By purchasing the farm’s products before the growing season, you are allowing the farmer to know exactly how much he or she needs to grow for the amount that is already purchased. Customers receive weekly or monthly shares with super fresh and delicious varieties.
Don’t miss this: How to find a CSA in your area.
7. Learn the seasons.
This varies a bit by region, but learn when your favorite produce hits their peak and buy accordingly. Get out those favorite recipes that highlight them and you will be amazed at the improvement over a hothouse or “shipped in from other parts of the world” taste. Supply and demand applies as well as when foods are in season and more abundant, they’re significantly cheaper.
8. Shop often.
Not buy more, but buy less actually. Don’t overbuy fresh produce that you won’t use over the next few days as the longer it sits on your counter, the less fresh it gets. Stop by the store more often for a few quick things to choose the freshest possible and keep that taste and nutrient value the best.
WHY DOES FRESH FOOD TASTE SO MUCH BETTER?
Here are two reasons why fresh can be a much better choice and why it usually tastes so much better:
1. As soon as you harvest any food, the crop begins to lose its nutritional value and the food’s enzymes begin to break down the nutrients over time. Fresh produce at your supermarket usually has traveled for days to get there and sat on the shelf or in the back of a truck for a while. It has, thus, lots of extra time to break down. Not good for taste or nutrient value.
2. Taste consists of texture, flavor and aroma. If any of these are affected, the taste of that food is compromised. Older food has lost lots of moisture sitting there and the aroma has often dissipated, too. For example, fruit on the store shelf and stale bread both have lost moisture affecting both texture and aroma.
Do you try to shop for fresh food as often as I do? Any suggestions to add to how to go about it best?
Need a bit more?
- More smart shopping tips right here.
- Easy and healthy entree ideas to make tonight.