Radical Cooking - Take Back Bad Produce

By Karla Jones Seidita, Home Economist

Better, fresher, quicker, cheaper, healthier 
Cooking - the new, old fashioned way 

I just got back from returning produce I bought last week at the grocery store.  

It doesn't matter which grocery store because they're all to blame.  

They sell produce that looks beautiful but winds up being terrible.

Last week, I bought some gorgeous looking (and wonderfully fragrant) peaches.  I thought they'd be great.  I cautioned the clerk not to bruise them as he put them into my bag. I brought them home to lovingly, slowly ripen. 

Two days later, the peaches were the perfect stage of ripe-ness but when I bit into one, it was pulpy and dry.  Not a speck of juice ran down my chin!

Thinking it was just a bad peach (that can happen), I cut into another, then another and, by the forth peach, I realized it was going to be the whole batch.  They were AWFUL. It didn't matter that they were on sale....they were awful at any price!

We live way out in the country and I don't get to the grocery store every day, so I put the peaches into the fridge till I was able to make a trip to town.

A week later, I took them back to the store, receipt in hand.  

The clerk cheerfully took them back never asking why.  
I thought it was important for her to know why I returning the peaches so I told her.  I asked her to be sure the peaches got back to the produce manager so he (or she) could see what was going on with their produce.

I never used to return produce - or much of anything for that matter - but now I seem to be spending 2 days a week at the grocery store - 1 day shopping and the other day returning.

Grocery stores (and I shop them all) spend lots of time displaying their produce attractively and keeping it fresh looking but they should also be sampling the produce to see exactly what they're selling.  

Shoppers around the world taste produce before buying.  It's expected.

We used to taste before buying but, somewhere around 1960 as small stores and farm stands gave way to super markets, the practice stopped.  

Now-a-days, tasting a grape or a bit of lettuce is considered shop lifting. So, we buy good looking produce expecting it to taste as good as it looks.

When it doesn't, we throw it out.
What we need to do is return it.

Bananas that never turn yellow but rot inside their green peel.
Bitter, tough to chew lettuce, cucumbers, kale, and collards.
Pulpy, juice-less peaches.
Plums that never ripen.
Strawberries that are moldy the day after you buy them.
Stringy, dry green beans.
Onions that look good on the outside but are rotten at the core.
Apples without taste.
Bags of potatoes that contain a few mushy ones.
The list is endless.

If the produce you buy isn't what you expect, take it back. 
Don't be afraid.
It's the only way stores will know you're not happy.  


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