Tips from the market: How to choose the best ingredients


  • Artichoke: The plump ones have the most meat and taste. It should be fresh and green all year around. Not dark brown or black at the tip.
  • Aubergine/Eggplant: Should feel heavy or else it’s too old. It’s important that the stalk is fresh and green.
  • Avocado: An avocado can be green or brown, shiny or granulated (rough) without it affecting its quality.
  • Broccoli: Bursting with health and grass green. A dull head of broccoli is like a dull dinner guest-not worth inviting
  • Carrots: Potent orange coloured carrots are the ones with the best quality. It’s best to buy a lot of small ones rather than a few large ones.
  • Cauliflower: Look for fresh leaves. The head should be white or ivory.
  • Cucumber: Shiny and dark green skin. A pale, soft spotted cumber isn’t worth buying.
  • Lettuce: Should burst with freshness. Although outer leaves may be limp don’t let that discourage you, usually the head is solid and crisp underneath.
  • Peppers: The bigger the fruit the milder the taste. The red peppers are the sweetest. If a pepper is really fresh is it void of tears, scratches or spots. The surface should be shiny and smooth.



  • Figs: Fresh figs should ”perspire” with small drops of juice that makes the skin gleam.
  • Grapefruit: The thin-skinned ones are the juiciest.
  • Kiwi: A ripe kiwi should yield a little if you press gently where the stem is. If the fruit is too soft, it’s probably already fermenting.
  • Lemons: Round lemons are juicier than the oblong shaped. The more yellow the lemon, the more vitamin C it’s packing. The green ones should be avoided or disposed of. They’ve been added for ripening purposes.


  • Beef: Should be red. Should not be brownish.
  • Chickens: Forget the butcher, forget the supermarket, drop the market, and drive out to the country to a local farmer that has free-range chickens. These are the tastiest.
  • Duck: Choose female duck, they have the most succulent meat. The fat should be white rather than yellow.


  • About fish generally: Must have a nice fresh smell of the sea or seaweed. Fish eyes should be clear (and bulging) and the skin glistening with scales adhering firmly to it. The skin should be firm to the touch and “bounce back” when you press it with your fingers. Check that gills are red and not pale or slimy.
  • Cod: Cod is best bought during the colder months. Cod meat gets looser in the warm months when it feeds the most, as opposed to the winter and the shedding periods in the spring.
  • Flounder (Plaice): If there is any doubt about the freshness of flounder, fry it. Fresh flounder shrinks in the pan.
  • Herring: Silvery in the skin. It’s ok if its soft at the belly bust it should not be porous. Avoid long skinny herring.
  • Mussels: Prepare live. You can check this easily by placing them on the kitchen counter where they’ll open if they’re alive. You can tap them gently on the edge of the sink if you’re still in doubt. If they close immediately, they’re definitely still alive.
  • Smoked herring: Should be uniform in colour and uncut to prevent the dark brown skin from coming in contact with the meat- it makes it taste of soap.



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