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Choosing your fresh produce

Published Dec 28, 2016

Summer is a perfect season to enjoy the juicy fresh fruits that you can get from your local fruit markets or get your best fresh veggies from your local grocery stores. However, you need to know how to pick the best produce. So here is some tips and tricks from Mickey Davis, the produce manager at Greene Grape Provisions in Brooklyn.

3 characteristics to be taken into consideration:

1. General Appearance of the produce

You might need to look for different specific things for each kind of fruit and veggies, but you might consider these few examples:


Look for sugar spots, as shown in the picture below. These darkened spots on a peach are not bruises; on the contrary, they are the particular places where the peach was hit by the sun – so there are lots of sugar collection in these area. Peaches with these sugar spots are the sweetest and most delicious!

Sugar spot

courtesy of Kelly Dickerson

Look for a stripe across the stem like the one shown below. According to Davis, peaches like these were allowed to ripen longer on the tree and actually swelled up against the branch they were hanging from. When allowed to ripen longer, the peaches will definitely taste better.

Peach stripe

courtesy of Kelly Dickerson


Find a well-defined ground spotlike as shown in the image below. A melon without such ground spot means it was not allowed to ripen long enough on the vine.

Melon groundspot

courtesy of Kelly Dickerson

Look also for a withered stem on melons, which acts as a sign of maturity and highly likely means the melon is more ripe.

Withered stem

courtesy of Kelly Dickerson

One more last trick to choose your melon is by knocking your knuckles on the melon, Davis mentioned. When the melon produces sounds as if you’re knocking on your own forehead, then its under ripe. If it sounds the same as thumping your stomach then its overripe. Melon with perfect ripeness should sound the same as thumping your chest cavity when knocked.

2. Timing matters.

Always check what produces are in season – they will taste better. You must also know which kind of produce are OK to buy when they are not ripe yet. For instance, bananas are climacteric foods which will continue to ripen after harvesting. However, other kinds of fruits like strawberries, are nonclimacteric – the green strawberries harvested will not ripe no matter how long you wait.

Here’s a list of climacteric and nonclimacteric fresh produce, according to Postharvest Fresh.

Climacteric (will continue to ripen after picking):

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Pears
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Mangos
  • Kiwis
  • Apricots

Nonclimacteric (will NOT continue to ripen after picking):

  • Most citrus
  • Most berries
  • Grapes
  • Watermelons
  • Pomegranates
  • Peppers

Click here to check Australia’s seasonal fruits and veggies.

3. Consider where the produce is coming from.

Generally, buying local products from your local market is the best. However, ask the grocery store you visited where they get their produce from as they might come from far places.  Most of the times, places that sells produce grown nearby get the ripest bunch of the harvest.

Davis mentioned that in some cases, location can affect the taste of some kinds of produce. For example, the location where certain peppers are grown affect their level of spiciness – those grown in hotter, more humid places will taste spicier than those grown in cooler places.

Next time you shop at your local grocery store, make sure to get the best produce!

Source: Business Insider Australia