To me, summer is synonymous with fresh, ripe fruit! It’s the season to enjoy rings of sweet, golden pineapple, or the chance to get out of the city and go strawberry picking. And snacking on wedges of cool cantaloupe on a warm night? The best! You can even chop up all three, throw ’em all into a bowl, and you’ve got yourself a fabulous fruit salad!
But before you start salivating, you gotta know a thing or two about picking the right fruit so you’re not disappointed. Spoiled, or unripened fruit is a drag! Get the best bang for your buck, and save yourself the hassle by learning these quick tips to help you scour the grocery store for the best fruit you can have!
Here are a few simple tricks for taking home a perfect pineapple, the coolest cantaloupe and the longest lasting scrumptious strawberries!
HOW TO PICK THE PERFECT PINEAPPLE
These sweet and tangy tropical treats are the best when you find a good one. Take a minute with this, it’s worth it in the end!
1. Colour First
Look at the color of the body. If it’s green, it still has some maturing to do. Make sure it’s bright yellow.
2. Leaves Second
Next, give one of the leaves a tug. If it comes out too effortlessly and falls off, its too ripe and could be mushy inside. If it requires pulling and there’s strain involved, it’s not ripe enough. Right in the middle is where it’s perfect. Only a firm tug should be enough for a leaf to come out.
3. Give It A Good Squeeze!
Get a handle on your pineapple! Feel around to make sure it has a little give. Too hard on the outside will be too firm on the inside. It should feel plump, and the skin shouldn’t appear wrinkled or squishy. Also, be on the lookout for soft spots too – those aren’t good either!
4. Get To The Bottom Of Things
Flip your pineapple, and smell its bottom. If it’s pleasant and fresh, you’re good to go. If you can’t smell anything, it’s not ready yet, and if it smells overpoweringly sweet, it’s past its time.
HOW TO PICK THE COOLEST CANTALOUPE
Chances are, you’ll see a whole whack of them on display, but you want the best one of the bunch – the cooooooolest one of the pack!
1. Pristine Condition
Check the rind for any defects – spots, cracks, bruises, dark and moldy patches. Try to get one that’s void of all of these.
2. Skin Colour
While it’s delightfully coral on the inside, the skin color on the outside should be a soft beige, sometimes with a very faded green undertone. Otherwise, any other sign of green is a no-go and is an indication that the fruit needs more time to ripen.
3. A Weighty Matter
Compare and contrast a few melons, but generally, the heavier, the better!
4. Push Blossom End
To ensure the right pulp and meatiness, use your thumb to press the bottom and test the strength of the skin. The fruit should have some give. Too much, and the inside will be too soft.
5. Tap It
Use the palm of your hand to gently hit the rind a few times. A hollow sound is a good sound!
6. Get Up Close And Smell
Put your nose right up there and it should give off a sweet smell. If the scent is overwhelming, the melon is past its ideal date to consume.
HOW TO ADD MORE SHELF LIFE TO STRAWBERRIES
Strawberries are so good in salads, on ice cream or by themselves! They’re everyone’s favorite, but their shelf life just doesn’t cut it. Here’s how to make them last.
1. Simple Ingredients
Grab white vinegar, water, and a colander or salad spinner.
2. Quick Solution
Pour 1 part white vinegar and 5 parts water into a large bowl. About 1/2 cup of vinegar and 2 1/2 cups of water is a good start.
3. Super Soak
Time to soak your berries in the mixture. The vinegar will wash away any moldy spores or bacteria that spoils the berries more quickly. Just try not to be too grossed out with what you see floating in the bowl after! Leave them floating for a few minutes
4. Dry ‘Em Off
Lay out your berries on a paper towel, or line your spinner with a paper towel and gently spin. You can even dry them in a colander. Make sure ALL the moisture is gone – once they’re fully dry, they won’t have a vinegary residue!
5. Keep The Green Hat
Their little green stems ensure they stay fresher longer. Don’t take them off until you’re ready to eat.
6. One Will Ruin All
Notice one strawberry in the pack with mold? Remove immediately to avoid spreading and contamination!
What are some of your tips and tricks to picking the right fruit and keeping it as fresh as possible once you bring it home? Share some of your best practices with us in the comments below!