When you walk into the grocery store, you’re met with a host of fresh fruits and vegetables, all stacked by the dozens in separate bins. How do you choose a few pieces of fruit when there are maybe 10 dozen right before your eyes? If you frequent your local farmer’s market, the growers will often help you pick out the best options and even suggest recipes and ways to use them. All you have to do is ask! If you don’t have the grower by your side when you go to the grocery store, however, employ these secrets for how to pick the best and freshest fruits.
You want these to be slightly soft, but if they’re mushy, put them back and don’t purchase.
Do not buy bananas at the store if they are bruised and brown. Yellow bananas are best, but you can also choose green bananas. They will ripen when you leave them on the counter. Also, you can separate bananas at the top to keep them from ripening quickly.
Look for a nice golden color on the outside rind, not green. The opposite end of the stem should be soft, but there should be no other soft spots aside from that.
Cherries with intact stems have a longer shelf life. Choose cherries that are dark in color and plump.
Forget dry, wrinkly, and cracked figs that will yield no luscious center. Choose soft, plump fruits with stems that are bent and in tact.
Don’t worry about the color of grapefruits. Instead, look for heavy fruits with smooth, thick skins.
Smell them. If they’re fragrant near the stem end and slightly soft to the touch, they’re good to go.
You want fruits that are deep orange and red in color. Don’t worry too much about dark spots; they are probably caused by sunburn and are harmless, unless the flesh is broken.
Choose heavy fruits that have cracks. When it comes to pomegranates, cracks are a good thing. Just be sure to check those cracks for mold. Non-moldy cracks are a good sign that the fruits are bursting with plump seeds, which is the edible part of this fruit.
Look for shiny berries that are uniformly red; do not choose berry boxes if any of them are yellow or green.
You want firm, heavy watermelons. Gently knock it; if you hear a hollow sound, it’s good for purchase. Also, a properly ripened watermelon should have a yellow spot on one side where it sat on the ground.
As a final note, try to purchase organic produce as much as possible to avoid pesticides and genetically modified ingredients.Lead image source: Mervat Salman/Wikimedia