Each delicious garden veggie has its own ripeness indicators, but there are some general rules of thumb that apply to most vegetables:
Armed with that knowledge, look for some of your favorite veggies using these specific ripeness tips:
The hairy silk will help you find the tastiest cobs. The silk on the outside of the husk should be brown and dry, while the silk touching the cob should be white and silky. Peel back the husk and press a kernel with your thumb. Look for a milky white — not clear — discharge and cook it up tonight. The sweet sugar flavor will decrease with each passing day.
Contrary to popular opinion, a tomato does not have to be blood red to be ripe. In fact, the sugars and acid that give a tomato its flavor may decrease if it stays on the vine until completely red. Buy tomatoes when they're orange and just turning red. Don't refrigerate them — that will kill the flavor. Instead, ripen them at room temperature until they are a nice light-red hue.
The rule for picking fresh, crunchy cucumbers is half a rule... or about six inches. At that length, a cucumber should boast a medium- to dark-green color, indicating that peak ripeness has been reached. If you intend to pickle your cucumbers, pick them when they're a bit younger (and about four inches in length).
It's the floret that we love, and it's the floret that gives us the best indication of whether our broccoli is ready to eat. Look for a flower that's compact, dense and firmly closed. If you bend the floret away from the stem, it should snap crisply. If it bends like rubber, it won't be tasty.
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