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How to Pick Your Summer Produce

Summer is finally here and grocery store produce aisles are full of fresh and vibrant pineapples, peaches, melons and more. But how do you pick the most quality produce? Use these tips from Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services to ensure you select the best fruit available.

  1. Know what fruit is in season.

Produce picked in season is often the most flavorful. If you are unsure what grows when, check the U.S. Department of Agriculture website.

  1. Local fruit may be riper.

Since local produce does not have to travel as far, it can grow for the full season and be picked during its prime.

  1. Buy fruits at multiple levels of ripeness.

This way you will have fresh ripe fruit that remains flavorful and fresh until your next trip to the store.

Read on for specific tips on how to select and enjoy seasonal favorites.

Happy woman buying fruit in grocery

Pineapple

  • A ripe pineapple’s rind is golden yellow throughout the entire fruit. If it is green, it is not ripe yet and if it is orange, it means the pineapple is overripe.
  • The base of the fruit should have a sweet smell. If there is a faint vinegar-like smell, the pineapple may be overripe.
  • To cut a pineapple, cut the top and bottom off first. Next, slice the sides off the fruit with a sharp knife. If little brown pits are left on the sides, use the edge of a peeler to pull them off. For easier, more efficient cutting, look at this unique kitchen gadget that does all the hard work for you.

Watermelon

  • Look for a discolored yellow spot where the melon was resting on the ground; this indicates the melon had plenty of time to fully ripen in the patch. The same is true for all other types of melons.
  • Thump the watermelon. If it sounds deep and hollow, it is good to go. If the thump produces a dull sound, it is not quite ripe.
  • A ripe melon should be dull in appearance (not shiny) and fade lighter towards the stem.
  • If a piece of the stem remains, it could indicate the melon was picked before it was truly ripe.
  • If purchasing watermelon already cut, look for dark red flesh with all black seeds (no white seeds).

Cantaloupe

  • A ripe cantaloupe has a sweet aroma.
  • Press the stem of the cantaloupe with your thumb – it should give a little under the weight of your finger.
  • Melons should feel heavy, even considering their small size. Remember, the heavier the melon, the juicer it will be.
  • Store ripe cantaloupes in the refrigerator to prevent further ripening.

Peach

  • A ripe peach should be vibrant in color. Some areas of the fruit may be discolored, but there should not be any green spots.
  • Press your thumb into the fruit, the more the fruit gives, the riper it is.
  • Store peaches at room temperature with the stem facing down. Stacking peaches on top of each other or with other fruit may cause bruising.
  • Peaches last longer when placed in a sandwich bag and storing them in the refrigerator.
  • To easily remove the skins of peaches, place in boiling water for approximately 20 seconds, then place in ice cold water. Use a knife to remove the skin.

 

Beat the heat with these fresh and fruity summer recipes:

 

Article provided by Haley Billings, intern and dietetic student at Oklahoma State University, and Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.

Categories: Cooper Updates
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