Produce Shopping 101

ripe and ready

the spot tells all

I’ve seen you at the grocery store, picking up the fruit, tapping it, smelling it, “pretending” to know what you are doing… well, let’s not fake it anymore. Here is a produce picking guide to the most popular produce:

Watermelon: First, pick up the watermelon, compare it with others. The ripest one weighs the most (due to a higher water content). Second, turn the watermelon over. The ripe ones have a pale yellowish spot on the underside. This is where the watermelon sat on the ground and ripened in the sun. If that spot is greenish white—it is not ripe. Take a pass and move on to the next melon.

Pineapple: Look at it. It should reflect a golden yellow color. The minimum area for this should be on the eyes at the base of the fruit. Never purchase a pineapple that is fully green as it will not ripen well. The higher the color rises up the pineapple, the sweeter it will be. Smell the pineapple. If it smells sweet, then it’s ready. If it has no scent, it’s not ripe. If it smells fermented, it’s over ripe! Touch the pineapple gently. It should be firm to a gentle press and only yield slightly.

Avocado: Give the flesh a soft squeeze and it should yield to moderate pressure. However, sometimes a soft avocado is actually bruised. Since there’s nothing more disappointing than slicing into a browned avocado, I’ve got another way of testing for ripeness. Flick the small brown stem off the top of the avocado. If it comes off easily and you can see green underneath it, the avocado is ripe! If the stem doesn’t come off or if you see brown, the avocado is not ripe.

Apple: Look at the skin of the apple. Often the shinier the skin, the juicier and crisper the apple. Pick up an apple and squeeze it. Hardness is a good indication of crispness with apples. An apple should barely be squishy. An overly squishy or mushy apple will likely be overripe. A ripe apple should have a sweet, fresh smell. Hold the apple up to your ear and tap the apple with one finger. If you hear a hollow sound, the apple is ripe and crisp. If you hear a flat or thud-like sound, the apple is not crisp.

Cantaloupe: Press on the end opposite the stem end. (Don’t press on the stem end–which has an indent–press on the end on the OPPOSITE side of the stem end.) That side of the cantaloupe should give a little. However, be careful! You don’t want a lumpy or mushy melon that means that it is past its prime or over ripe. At that point you will no longer have a flavorful cantaloupe but one that is more water than flavor.

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Posted on July 1st, 2016 at 9:06 am [ssba]