Have you ever made your weekly trip to the grocery store on the hunt for fresh fruit, only to come home and find that they aren’t quite ripe enough, or they are too ripe? It can seem like an impossible task to pick out the best in the bunch, especially when you have absolutely no idea what exactly you are supposed to be looking for. Luckily for you, the reader, we have come up with a great list of what you need to look out for when picking your favorite fruits at the market.
I’m going to be honest up front and say that I don’t often buy papaya for my home, but I know that many people enjoy this delicious fruit on a daily basis. With that said, when at the store filling your cart with papaya, you’ll want to find a fruit that is on the heavier side, and also a bit firm. They should also have smooth, yellow skin, which is a key sign that they have reached their peak of ripeness.
The banana is more than likely a staple produce in your home, as a quick and easy snack when you’re feeling hungry. However, I would say that the majority of us are eating our bananas before they are completely ripe. You heard me right. A yellow banana is not completely ripe yet. When at the supermarket, the best thing to look out for is a bunch of bananas that have quite a few brown spots on them, which lets you know that the fruit is ripe and ready to be eaten!
This is a tricky one, right? Because pineapples have a thick outer shell to them, there are different cues that we use to decipher whether or not they are ready to eat. The first is a smell test. Yes, you have to smell your fruit. It might seem silly, but if you smell a sweet aroma coming from the bottom of the pineapple, that is the first sign that it is ripe. You can also tell by the color of the husk; If it appears more yellow in hue, that means there is more sweetness to the actual fruit.
Related: How to Select Fresh and Ripe Fruit – Part 1
I wish I had known these tricks for the past many years that I’ve been buying watermelon at the store. Most people will hit, or knock, on the melon, listening for a hollow sound which is a good indicator, but there is one other trick as well. When you pick up your watermelon, look at its underbelly side, or the side that would have been lying on the ground in the field. If it’s yellow, it means you’ve got a good watermelon, as opposed to white, which means it’s not quite ripe yet.
You will often see people hitting or knocking on a cantaloupe in the store to test it as well, which works some of the time. However, just like the pineapple, the best way to find a ripe cantaloupe is to give it a quick sniff. If you smell a sweet aroma on the blossom side of the cantaloupe, you’ve found a delicious fruit for your home.
When looking at all different types of melons in the market to see if they’re ripe or not, the tell-all signs are similar for each. For example, when looking at honeydew melons, you also smell for a sweet aroma, just as you do with cantaloupes. If the smell doesn’t help you, you can also take a look at the coloration of the melon itself. A ripe honeydew will tend to have more of a pale-yellow color on the outside, as opposed to an un-ripened honeydew which has different shades of green.
Related: How to Select Fresh Vegetables – Part 1
Lemons, and other small fruits that you pick off a tree, can be particularly tricky, because once they come off their tree, they stop ripening altogether. Since you can’t control that aspect when you are shopping for groceries, your best bet for knowing which lemons are better to pick, is by the color. Of course, you’ll want to look for the lemons that are bright yellow in color. You could also pick lemons that appear slightly more yellow-green in color, but there is no guarantee that they will ripen anymore.
When it comes to mangos, the best way to tell if they are ready to eat is just by touch. When you pick up the fruit and squeeze gently, the skin should give just a bit, making the slightest indentation. If the mangos you are looking at are firm, they may need a little bit more time. One tip for mangos is to not rely on the color of the skin as an indicator for ripeness. The only true test to give is a touch test, and it may also have a bit of a sweet aroma to it as well.
Much the opposite of a mango, a grapefruit will be firm to the touch when it is at its peak ripeness. If you are still wanting a few more tests to tell if it is truly ripe, look at the shape. Ripene grapefruits will often be more oval shaped than round. However, don’t get too crazy shape-wise. If you see a grapefruit that is lumpy or severely irregular in shape, it would probably be best to steer clear of it!
Related: How to Select Fresh Vegetables- Part 2
A peach can also be a wonderful eat when you are needing a little pick me up during the day. So, when at the store, you can tell if the peaches are ripe by giving them a gentle squeeze. If the peach has a little give to it, it should be good to eat. You can also tell if the peaches are good enough to eat by the color of the skin. You will want to look for a deep golden color that isn‘t too pale of a yellow color.
Pears are another fruit that can be difficult to determine if they are ripe or not. More often than not, pears don‘t fully ripen while on the tree, and are typically picked when they reach a decent size. So, when you are at the grocery store, give a gentle touch to the stem end of the fruit. If it has a little give to it, it should be about ready to be eaten. Pears are a good fruit to buy that also typically ripen after a few days at home as well.
There you have it! Now, the next time you go grocery shopping at your local super market, you will be an expert in all fruits. Use your new-found knowledge to pick the best fruits for your family to enjoy, and maybe you can teach a thing or two to your family as well.