Choosing Your Produce

Do you have any tips or tricks for choosing produce?  I have a few tips that I use that I have accumulated along the way, perhaps mostly by asking the produce clerks as they are stocking and sorting through their produce shelves.  I would appreciate your input on how you choose your produce too.

Apples – No soft spots, nicks or bruises.  I do not like apples that seem like they have a waxy film over them.

Avocados – beginning to turn dark, firm but slightly tender when you press and squeeze the fruit, you do not want it to be too hard (not ready) or too soft (over ripe).

Bananas – No nicks or bruises, green but turning yellow.  You need to make sure it is starting to turn.  Insider info:  Bananas are delivered to grocer’s wearhouse green and put into a nitrogen chamber to ripen.  It has to be done properly or the bananas can be over or under ripened.

Berries – I prefer organic so I save purchasing them for the summer seasons when they are in season (sweet, firm and juicy). I buy organic frozen during the winter.

Broccoli – A nice dark green and firm.

Cantaloupe – Smell the stem area and if it has a sweet odor, it is ripe also, the more orange colour showing through the rind, the better.  Make sure you wash the rind before you eat!

Corn – Pull back the green husk slightly to reveal the kernels cover most of the cob.  Kernals should look smooth and healthy.

Cucumber – no soft spots, not limp

Grapes – bright, firm (stems are fresh and not beginning to dry up)

Grapefruit – heavier the better.  Heavy means more juice.  Avoid fruit with prominent dents (obvious drop marks)

Honeydew Melon – the more yellow the skin the better.  Make sure you wash the rind before you eat!

Kiwi – firm but slightly tender when you press and squeeze the fruit, you do not want it to be too hard (not ready) or too soft (over ripe).

Lemons – Heavier means more juice.  Choose a healthy looking fruit that is noticeably heavier than the next.

Lettuce – Good texture, not wilting and without blemishes.

Mango – firm but slightly tender when you press and squeeze the fruit, you do not want it to be too hard (not ready) or too soft (over ripe).

Mushrooms – Few or without marks and dry.

Oranges – heavier the better.  Heavy means more juice so I prefer to hand pick my mandarins too.

Papaya – a damaged, ‘ugly’ skin is not a bad thing for papaya, but it should be firm but slightly tender when you press and squeeze the fruit, you do not want it to be too hard (not ready) or too soft (over ripe).

Pears – few blemishes, firm but slightly tender when you press and squeeze the fruit, you do not want it to be too hard (not ready) or too soft (over ripe).

Pineapple – should smell sweet, pull out a leaf and it should come out readily.  Firm but slightly soft when squeezed.

Potatoes – Should appear fresh and firm and without the sprout.

Spinach – Good texture, not wilting and without blemishes.  If you intend to be cooking the spinach, it can be ‘slightly’ wilted. 

Tomatoes – firm, without soft spots

Watermelon – Tap and if it sounds hollow it is ripe.  Make sure you wash the rind before you eat!

It’s bizarre that the produce manager is more important to my children’s health than the pediatrician.  ~Meryl Streep

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