Picking yummy fruit can be a challenge. The summer makes it a little easier, though. Most fruits are in season during the summer months which makes choosing a good piece of fruit pretty well guaranteed. The best indicator of ripeness is the “smell test.” Fruit should smell the way you want it to taste. Color is also a good indicator. The darker the color of the skin, the riper the fruit inside is. Some fruits, like peaches and plums, will continue to ripen even after they are picked, but most will not. This makes choosing a good fruit at the time of purchase very important.
As a general rule, all fruits should be smooth and free of mushy, dark spots. (darker colors in a peel or skin are fine as long as they aren’t soft) Most fruits should feel firm to the touch while giving under slight pressure. You don’t ever want to buy a rock-hard fruit hoping that it will soften. If the selection doesn’t seem to have a riper choice, use that time to try a new fruit! Here are a few guidelines that I use…
- Berries: should be firm and dark in color. These are most easily chosen by the smell test. Even pretty berries can be tasteless if they don’t smell delicious.
- Pineapple: always go for a “gold” pineapple. You really can’t go wrong. No matter what, these always seem to be sweet.
- Melons: These should be smooth skinned with no mushy spots. These also are best identified by smell. They should smell sweet. The exception is watermelon. (You can’t smell that until you cut it open) The thump test is the one I use. The melon should sound hollow and the rind should be dark green.
- Stone fruits: they should be firm, while yielding to slight pressure. No mushy spots which might indicate abuse by a previous shopper. These fruits should also smell sweet. If they have no scent, they probably won’t taste like much.