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Enjoy Summer’s Bounty
Tips on Maintaining Quality and Safety of Produce

Summer brings an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. Remember these tips when purchasing produce at the grocery store, nearby farmer’s markets or picking from your garden.

•    Select fruits and vegetables that are not bruised, shriveled, moldy or slimy. If
      vegetables or fruits are pre-packaged, be sure the surfaces are not bruised
      or slimy.

•    Buy only what you need. For optimum flavor and nutritional value use fruits and
      vegetables within a few days.

•    Promptly store any produce that needs to be refrigerated.

•    Wash produce under cool, running water just before you use it. This applies to all
      fruits and vegetables, even if you don’ eat the rind or skin, such as melons and
      oranges. Washing a melon can help remove any bacteria that could be
      transferred onto the inside fruit when the melon is sliced open with a knife.

•    Leafy greens, such as lettuce, should be rinsed before refrigerating to maintain
      crispness. Paper towels placed between the greens will slow deterioration.

•    Do not use detergent when washing fruits and vegetables. Use a vegetable brush
      to scrub hearty vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots, if you want to eat the
      fiber- and nutrient-rich skin.
•    Keep refrigerators clean and cold. Cover and refrigerate produce you have cut.
      Refrigerator temperature should be between 37 and 39 degrees F.

•    Clean surfaces, utensils and hands before handling fresh produce.

•    Wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom, changing diapers and
      before preparing food.

•    Read and follow label instructions such as “keep refrigerated” or “use by” dates.

•    Keep prepared fruit salads and other cut produce items in the refrigerator until just
      before serving. Discard cut produce items if they have been out of the refrigerator
      for four hours or more.

North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension Successful Family


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