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Farmers' Market Picks

Six high-fiber, vitamin-packed foods that deserve a place on every guy's plate

Whether you're buying because the food is healthier, because it tastes better, or because it's good for the environment, you can't top the produce from a farmers' market. Once you've got your tomatoes, berries, and corn, consider picking up these other fruits and veggies.

Zucchini

How to choose them: Buy smaller ones; bigger zucchinis tend to have seeds that taste like wood chips.

How to store them: Zukes last for up to a week in the fridge. Be sure to toss them in a paper bag first.

How to eat them: "People call zucchini the great pretender because it adapts to nearly any recipe," says Christine Gerbstadt , M.D., R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Cut the squash lengthwise for a dipable, low-cal snack, or to toss in a stir-fry (cutting it in round slices can leave the center vulnerable to falling out). Raw, it's great in salads. You can also grate it and mix into scrambled eggs, casseroles, even bread or cake.

 

Rhubarb

How to choose them: "Look for firm, evenly colored red stalks," says Gerbstadt. For convenience, she prefers rhubarb with the greens already cut off.

How to store them: Covered rhubarb will last up to two weeks. If you have spare stalks, dice them and freeze for later.

How to eat them: Although this tart vegetable is most commonly used in pies, you don't have to bake anything to enjoy it. Try a few thin raw slices in salad. Or to make a sauce for chicken or fish, just dice, mix with a bit of water and a sweetener (brown sugar, honey, or a sweeter fruit, like berries), and simmer until the mixture is thick.

 

Blackberries

How to choose them: Look for firm, dark-colored fruit. You should also always check to make sure that the carton bottom isn't super juicy. If it is, the berries are likely to be moldy or to spoil soon after purchase.

How to store them: Never soak in water; just rinse lightly, drain, and let dry in a colander. Eat within a couple days or they turn to mush.

How to eat them: Devour plain or with Greek yogurt. You can also toss them in salads or cereal, or snack on them instead of candy. For a low-cal, mixer-free cocktail, smash them into a glass and add lime, Equal, and liquor.

 

Collard or Mustard Greens

How to choose them: Look for large, whole dry leaves without any brown edges or unusual odors.

How to store them: Keep for a few days at most.

How to eat them: Think spinach, but with a lot more bite. The big difference: These greens almost never come prewashed so you'll need to soak 'em in a bowl of cold water and then rinse until clean — just don't do it until right before you're ready to eat. To cook, boil for 20 minutes, or until tender. "Tradition calls for a little bacon or ham flavor, but soy or turkey bacon will work well too," says Gerbstadt.

 

Crenshaw melon

How to choose them: Pick a melon that has a yellow skin (a greenish tint is ok if you don't plan to eat it for two or three days). Unlike its cantaloupe and honeydew cousins, it doesn't give when you squeeze it, and you can't smell it. The best way to know that a Crenshaw melon is ripe is to choose one that's already been halved and wrapped — you know that it has been tasted for freshness.

How to store them: if uncut, you can keep it in the fridge for about a week; a cut melon will last a few days in the fridge.

How to eat them: Enjoy fresh-cut slices or cut them up and put them in fruit salads or platters.

 

Edamame

How to choose them: these young soybeans can be sold in the shell or pod, or already shelled (like peas). If you're buying it fresh, avoid soft shells or darkened edges.

How to store them: Edamame will last in the refrigerator for about two to three days after defrosting.

How to eat them: Boil the soybeans in a couple of inches of water for 15-20 minutes, then drain. It's a great snack alternative to chips, and a delicious addition to salads. Edamame is also a unique addition to a multi-bean salad, perfect for summer BBQs

 

Find a farmers' market in your area:
http://www.localharvest.org

 

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