Is it Ripe?: A Guide to Picking Produce

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Don't pick a bad pineapple or a mealy watermelon again. Know the secrets to fresh and ripe foods before you go wrong at the produce aisle.

Get all the ripe produce you could want at the Ochsner Farmer's Market! Click here to learn more. 

Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe should feel heavier than it looks and smell musky and sweet. You should be able to press your thumb in slightly on the bottom and there shouldn't be a lip around the stem.

If it smells too sweet, it's most likely over ripe.

Pineapple

It should be firm. Not mushy, but not rock hard either.

The most important thing, however, is smell. An unripe pineapple won't smell like anything. An overripe pineapple will smell vinegary. A ripe pineapple will smell sweet.

You can also test if a pineapple is ripe by trying to pluck out one of the leaves near the center. If it comes out easily then the pineapple is good to go. If it's hard to pluck, it's not yet ripe.

Watermelon

There is no fool-proof way to determine 'ripeness' without taking a slice out of a watermelon. The best you can do is look for certain signs. Ripe melons have a hollow sound when you tap or slap the outside

You can also look for the patch where the melon would have been on the ground (called the field spot). If it's a yellow color it’s probably ripe. If it's white, it's probably not.

Avocado

If you can squish an avocado in your hand, it's too ripe. You want one that's still firm when you buy it, and after a few days in the fruit bowl with the apples, it will become a nice constancy.

Mango

The color of a mango is not indicative of ripeness. The only way to know when a mango is ready to eat is by touch. If it gives slightly when touched, it's ready. Sometimes the mango will also give off a fruity aroma at the stem end when ripe.

Strawberry

You can tell a strawberry is ripe by its scent -- it should smell exactly like you want it to taste. If they don't smell like anything, they probably doesn't taste like much.

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