Many could easily argue that summer is the best season of all! If you are like most people, eating is high up your list of must dos and summer is great for a lighter appetite and the light, fresh fare that quells it. Fruits and veggies never seem to taste quite as satisfying as they do in the summer. You can go to the produce aisle, take in all the smells and colors - feel your wallet give a little shudder - and pick out that special something - be it avocado or pineapple. With all of this anticipation, naturally, a bad piece of produce can really be disappointing – here are some tips and tricks for ensuring that biting into that pepper or papaya is everything you hoped for and more!
On a hot summer day, nothing beats a bite into a juicy, cold fruit. Color, firmness and smell are all clues that can be used to determine a ripe, unripe or past ripe piece of fruit.
Apricots are an often under-appreciated, yet highly yummy, fruit for the health benefits they provide at such a low calorie intake. Your best bet it is to pick out an apricot that is a soft orange color and plump. It should give a bit when you squeeze it, but not too much. Greenish apricots will not ripen at home like bananas.
Unless you plan on eating a plum immediately upon buying it, it is best to select a smooth, firm fruit and ripen it at home. Ripening a plum (or two) is as easy as putting them in a paper bag and letting them sit for a day or two at room temperature until they have softened and therefore ripened a bit.
Pineapples are a great summer food, whether for grilling, garnishing or eating all by their lonesome. Determining the ripeness of a pineapple is all about smell. Though a slight give is good as far as firmness goes, the best way to tell if a pineapple is ripe is to take a whiff. Ripe pineapples will be fragrant - they will smell good enough to eat. Careful sticking your nose too close, pineapples bite or scratch.
Papayas, like all passion fruits, make for a sweet summer treat. They start out with greenish- yellow skin, and as they ripen, their skin becomes yellow-dappled. As with most fruits, they should have a slight give when squeezed. Interestingly enough about papaya is that even if it’s slightly moldy on the outside, this is an indication that they are just perfect to eat. But don’t let it get too moldy because the insides can rot quickly.
Avocados, which are indeed a fruit, should have a black, bumpy skin, and give slightly when pressed upon. You can also use your thumbnail to flick off the bit of stem at the top and check the color underneath: brown is over ripe, yellow green is not yet ripe and green is perfect! If you won’t be eating your avocados for a day or two, grab hard ones and ripen them in paper bags using the same technique as ripening plums.