Be a pro shopper: selecting the best produce

June 23, 2015

With fruits and vegetables, there are numerous factors you should consider when making a selection at the grocery store. The advice below will help you choose the freshest and most flavourful pears, potatoes and more.

Be a pro shopper: selecting the best produce

Top tips

  • When shopping for produce, look for firm, brightly coloured and blemish-free exteriors. Avoid wrinkled, cracked or broken skin or peel, as well as produce with dry, brittle stems.
  • When buying fruit, choose pieces that feel heavy for their size.
  • When purchasing packaged fruit, avoid packages with juice leaks – this can be a sign that the package's contents are damaged or growing mould.

Determining ripeness

  • Avocados: Skin colour isn't an indication of ripeness. Only Hass avocados change colour from dark green to purplish-black. It's ripe if it feels soft when pressed near the stem end.
  • Melons: A clean, sunken scar indicates that the stem was pulled from a ripe melon. The more intense the smell, the riper the fruit.
  • Papaya: Papaya ripens from the bottom up towards the stem. Look for colour at least halfway up the fruit.
  • Peaches and nectarines: Look for the characteristic red blush with a creamy or gold undertone and a good aroma. Avoid green or hard fruit: once picked, it lacks flavour and usually shrivels and toughens rather than ripens.
  • Pears: Tree-ripened fruit can have a mushy texture. Pears should be picked early and allowed to ripen in storage.
  • Pineapples: Some varieties stay green longer than others, so skin colour is not a reliable guide to ripeness. Go for a fragrant aroma.
  • Potatoes: Avoid those with peeling skin, green spots or with shoots growing from their eyes.
  • Sweet corn: Choose corn with the husk on – a bright-green husk is best; a dry and yellowed husk indicates age.
  • Watermelon: If the melon is ripe, the rind should have a cream or yellowish under-colour and the seeds will rattle when you shake it.

Quick tip: Carry cooler bags in the trunk of your car to ensure produce doesn't deteriorate on the way home. Include some ice packs, too – they will help keep a low, even temperature inside the bag.

The tastiest meals start with the freshest ingredients, so follow these tips to ensure that you are bringing home the best produce from the grocery store.


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