Why You Should Avoid Buying Fresh Produce In The Middle Of The Day

Sometimes you need as fresh of produce as possible. Maybe you're making a crisp dinner salad, and wilted lettuce just won't cut it. Or you're trying your hand at a crunchy cucumber-wrapped sushi roll, and "thinly sliced" isn't happening with a mushy or bruised green guy. Perhaps you're making skewered watermelon bites for a cocktail party, and a mealy mouthful would be mortifying.

If you're set on the freshest produce, you'll want to time when you hit the shelves with when the store receives deliveries, and this is typically closer to opening or closing time. Timing your visit will ensure you get access to the most variety and the newest produce fresh off the truck. Many grocery stores stock their shelves on Tuesdays, but you can always ask your local spot when their specific delivery time is. If you've ever been shopping and found yourself reaching over stacks of boxes for an item, you likely have an idea of when they get to work stocking the new supply.

Why is this a good strategy

If you're shopping at a big box store or even a middle-of-the-road brick-and-mortar, odds are the majority of the produce you're purchasing is not straight from the farm to the shelf. It is probably traveling thousands of miles, possibly internationally, to make it to your cart — and the clock on freshness starts ticking the minute produce is picked or harvested.

While what you're grabbing may look fresh, if your store stocks on Tuesday morning and it's Monday evening, the shelf-life of that item in your fridge is already cut by a week. On the flip side, if you're popping them straight into the oven, making a puréed soup, or some other dish where crispness isn't a factor, do your part to help lessen food waste and grab the Monday night stragglers that were left behind. The older produce is perfectly safe to consume, just not as bright and shiny as it once was. Respect your elders and take it home to whip up something delicious.