TODAY   |  August 04, 2013

Tips for keeping farmers market produce fresh

Here's what to look for when buying carrots, lettuce and other popular produce, and ways to keep berries, corn and tomatoes fresh once getting them home. TODAY’s Janice Lieberman reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> some of the pictures here that you sent us of your trips to the farmer's market. thanks for sending those to us on instagram. if you are like a lot of people nothing says summerlike all the fresh fruits and vegetables whether it's the juicy peach or an amazing ripe tomato and one of the best places to find those are at farmer's markets which there seem to be more and more of, which i think is a fantastic trend.

>> so exciting. farm to table is what everyone is striving for. but it is a little pricier when you buy from the farmer's market, so how do you keep your investment fresher? i went to the folks at america's test kitchen to find out the tips. there's nothing like shopping at the farmer's market where the produce is pristine. to get the most bang for your buck , you need to know how to pick them.

>> if you love vegetables and fruits, this is the best time of year.

>> we asked jack bishop of america's test kitchen to take us shopping. first up, summer squash and cucumbers. jack says think small.

>> i think the smaller ones are better. they have fewer seeds in them and the flesh is a little bit firmer and they cook up nicer.

>> they don't taste like anything when you buy them at the supermarket.

>> they're covered with wax. one of the great things about buying at a farmer's market it hasn't been covered in wax. you don't even need to peel them.

>> next up, carrots.

>> whenever you can buy carrot is healthy greens attached it's a sign they're fresh. you know these were in the ground probably yesterday.

>> and for those heads of lettuce that never seem to last --

>> what i'm looking for is obviously bruising, no rotting, i want to see that it's moist, but i don't want to see that it's swimg in water.

>> the most popular is corn and potatoes. it's all in the touch.

>> you can feel the kernels go all the way to the tips and the silk should not be rotting and black.

>> what about tomato shopping?

>> this is a place are where you really need to shop with your eyes closed.

>> really?

>> i want to feel that they're fairly soft. if they're too firm, they're going to be mealy and really not great for salads.

>> make sure you smell them, too. they should remind you of basil. and for those expensive summer berries, look underneath the container to make sure they're not discovered or that the box is full of juices. but once you have them home, how can you keep your goodies fresh? first, the tomato.

>> never, ever put a tomato in the refrigerator. the flesh turns to mush. you can double shelf life if you store them upside-down.

>> with corn, brown bag it.

>> the secret, believe it or not, is a damp paper back. an old-fashioned groecery bag. i put it underneath running water so it's damp. put the corn in the bag.

>> and don't clean the corn until you're ready to cook it. when it comes to your lettuce, jack says wash it and leave the leaves partially wet. then wrap them in a paper towel . it will stay crisp up to five days. finally a tip to keep the berries fresh and sweet.

>> put a little bit of vinegar --

>> vinegar in my berries?

>> in the water. so put like a tablespoon of vinegar. what the vinegar is doing is killing any bacteria which is what's going to cause mold to happen.

>> ah. and when you're shopping for tomatoes, pick ugly ones. they're really delicious. they're so yummy.

>> i love every tip in