Beans Pay attention to your pods. Fresh, juicy, bright green pods indicate tasty broad, lima, and green shell beans. Snap beans should snap easily and have crisp pods with pliable tips.
Broccoli and Cauliflower
Crucifers need to chill out for the best flavor. Pick them in the morning, cool them down immediately with ice or ice water, and then refrigerate, says Helen Harrison, Ph.D., professor of horticulture at the University of Wisconsin.
Cut cabbage heads off the stalk when they feel solid and hard to the touch.
Here's a crop that can get better with age. Sugars increase in growing carrot roots for up to four months. This means tasty carrots can be harvested well into autumn in most areas. "You do have to watch out for splitting when it's real hot and dry or when it's too wet," says Pete Cashel of Terrapin Hill Farm Organics, in Harrodsburg, Kentucky.
Sweet corn—one of summer's most perishable crops—tastes best fresh from the garden (we're talking minutes here) and dripping with butter. If you can't prepare it directly after harvest, cool the ears on ice and then refrigerate them.
Harvest sweet corn about three weeks after the first silks appear. You'll know the corn is ready when the ears fill to the end with kernels and the silks and green husks become dry. An opaque, milky juice will seep out of punctured kernels.
Frequent harvesting of cucumbers helps the vines produce new fruit. Why? Because one actively growing cucumber needs 40 percent of the plants photosynthetic output, says research from North Carolina State University.