4590 - Fruits and Veggies 101

State of Illinois
Department of Human Services

Tips to make the most of your Fruits and Veggies


  • Shop early - This will allow you to find the best selection of fresh produce.
  • Choose in-season fruits and vegetables - The closer you are to the growing season, the fresher your produce and the better it tastes.
  • Check for freshness - Look for brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Leaves or greens should be crisp, not wilted.
  • Large does not mean better - Larger sized vegetables may be too mature and have little flavor.
  • Bag properly - Place the heavier, firmer produce at the bottom of the bag or basket.


Store produce right away to prevent spoilage.

  • Most fruits will not continue to ripen if they are refrigerated. This is true for tomatoes as well.
  • These fruits should be refrigerated:
    • Apples
    • Berries
    • Grapes
    • Melons
  • Potatoes and onions will lose quality in the refrigerator.
  • Punch holes in plastic bags before storing.


  • Just before preparation give your produce a good washing in cold water.
  • When cooking firm produce with tougher skin, scrub with a brush.
  • Allow leafy greens to float in clean water.
  • Soaps or cleaners are not needed -water does the job.


Heat and too much water can destroy important vitamins. Limit cooking time and water.

Speed up the Ripening process

  1. Place fruit in a large paper bag.
  2. Punch several holes in the paper bag.
  3. Do not stack pieces of fruit on top of each other.
  4. Fold the top of the bag.
  5. Leave the bag on the counter top.
  6. Check on fruit daily.

Food Safety

  • Wash your hands before preparation.
  • Keep fresh fruits and vegetables stored away from raw meats.
  • Wash cutting board, utensils, and counter tops with hot soapy water.

Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables

Buying fruits and vegetables at your Farmers' Market provides you with healthy foods,

physical activity and fun for the family. Ask your local WIC agency for more information

about Farmers' Market coupons and locations.

Farmers' Market List

Fruits Veggies

Agency use:

For more information:

For Kids (eatright.org)

Discover MyPlate: Look and Cook Recipes |

Food and Nutrition Service (usda.gov)

Freezing Vegetables - Selecting, Preparing,

Freezing and Storing | WIC Works Resource

System (usda.gov)

Recipes, Cookbooks and Recipe Videos | WIC

Works Resource System (usda.gov)

Agency use:

Visit our website at: www.dhs.state.il.us

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

IDHS 4590 (R-05-22) Fruits and Veggies 101  Printed by the Authority of the State of Illinois.  15,000 copies PO#22-1063.