A Little Food...How to Pick Produce

Ever picked a huge, shiny, Snow White killer apple, only to have it taste like styrofoam? I love flavorful fruits and veggies, and have spent the last ten years of my grocery life trying to learn to pick succulent fruit. Not only are fruits and veggies healthy for us, but when they taste great to boot, our perspective changes. We relish the food, we dine instead of eat, and healthy eating regains its pleaure. Here are some tips to get great produce:

Oranges- This is the one I can say I actually get right most of the time. Always pick the heavy orange; weight=juice=sweet goodness. Smoother skins tend to be sweeter. Weight them in comparison to one another in your hand.

Melons-Look for little Frankenstein-like criss cross marks on the fruit. This tells you bees have been at it, and the fruit is sweeter. Smell the navel of a canteloupe; if it smells overripe, then it is.

Pineapple-Pull the top leaves. If they come right out, it may be too ripe. If it has a little resistance but still comes out, it is probably ready. If it smells very pineappley, this is a sign that it may be great but must be eaten by the next day.

Asparagus- Look for tops that are not bent over. If the tops are bowing, the stalk is dried out.

Peaches- They can smell good but still be grainy on the inside. Usually fruit is sold in batches, so ask the grocer if you can sample one, and if it's good, then usually the rest are too.

Fruit in season tastes bushels better that the chemically ripened varieties off-season. I give myself permission to gorge on melons, peaches, berries and asparagus when they are naturally ripened.

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