How to Choose Produce Effectively

produceWhen fresh food is at its peak ripeness then it is packed full of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Some people may not know how to choose produce, but every fruit and vegetable gives its own clues to freshness, you just have to know what to look for. Here’s a quick guide to help you choose produce at its best.

Fruits

The first step in determining how to pick the best fruit is to hold it in your hands. The surface of a ripe fruit will be smooth and firm but not rock hard. If you feel any dents or pits under the surface of the skin that means this fresh fruit is on its way to rapidly not being so fresh, so pass that one by. You also want to pay attention to the weight of the fruit because the weight can indicate how juicy the fruit is inside. This is especially true with watermelons, lemons, oranges and cantaloupe.

Next, smell the fruit. When you see people doing this they are not, in fact, crazy – it’s a good way to tell if it’s ripe. A strong smell can mean it’s over-ripe and if it’s sour or stinky then it’s no good. You are looking for a light but a sweet smell that indicates it is just right. You can tell a lot about a pineapple or a melon by the way it smells.

As far as color goes, you can’t judge a melon by its color. You can judge tree-ripened fruits this way. Look for an even color and avoid anything that has spots or dark marks. In citrus fruit, white streaks or other obvious imperfections on the surface is an indication that you don’t want it.

Vegetables

You can apply many of the same rules for fruits to vegetables. Look for a consistent color and surface on the veggie, but you also want vegetables to be firm. Any give, even a slight one, can indicate the veggie is no good. If there are soft areas, then it’s rotting.

For the leafy greens, you need to look for firm, plump and crisp leaves with a consistent coloration. You can expect a few tears or discolorations from the shipping, but that is often more an exception than a rule when it comes to judging veggies. Also, make sure the leaves give a good snap when broken.

See? That wasn’t so hard. Now go out and apply what you’ve learned to get the best fruit and veggies you can.

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fresh fruit and veg farm stand by Virginia State Parks is licensed under CC BY 4.0

This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.