How to Pick Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

When choosing fresh fruits and vegetables, a few common rules apply. Avoid fruits and vegetables that have brown spots, wrinkled skin, mold, or don’t look . . . well . . . fresh! Here are a few other produce rules to live by:

  • Onions, shallots, garlic, and potatoes: Should feel very hard with no sprouts. Soft ones are probably overripe or dried up.

  • Avocados and melons: Should feel slightly soft. Smell the stem-end of a cantaloupe, and if it smells like cantaloupe, it’s ripe. If it smells like nothing, it’s not ripe yet.

  • Apples and Bosc pears: Should be crisp and hard.

  • Summer fruits: Includes peaches, nectarines, and apricots. Are ripe when they give just a little when pressed and are very fragrant.

  • Grapes: Look for ones with a bloom or white powdery finish, which indicates freshness.

  • Lettuce: Don’t buy slimy lettuce! (But you knew that, right?) Make sure your lettuce is not discolored and has crisp, unblemished leaves.

  • Citrus: Should feel heavy for its size.

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