Pick it up to see if it’s heavy for its size, a good indication that the fruit is mature and likely to be juicier and sweeter. This applies to fruits like pomelos, watermelons, oranges and passion fruit.
CHECK THE STEM
A green stem is a sign of freshness. The greener the stem, the more freshly plucked the fruit is. Especially for mangosteens, cherries and grapes, look for a green stem with firm, ripe fruit.
For fruits that don’t change colour much as they ripen, such as pineapples, rock melons, mangoes and apricots, sniff the blossom end. If it has a full, fruity aroma, grab it!
JUDGE ITS SKIN
In the case of some fruits, the prettier they look, the fresher they are. Choose bright red and green apples that are smooth and naturally shiny, without bruises or holes. Lemons and limes should not be shrivelled. Avoid bruised apricots and peaches, as these sensitive fruits rot easily from bruises and cuts.
BUT… Certain fruits may be sweeter when they do not look pristine. Go for wrinkly passion fruit, bright yellow bananas with brown spots (also called sugar spots), yellow pomelos and Australian pears with yellow-brownish skin. However, such fruits are also very ripe and should be eaten within a day or two.
Lightly squeeze the fruit with your palm – a fresh and ripe one will feel firm, but will yield gently to the pressure. Never press it with your fingers, though. Pressing fragile fruits like avocados, kiwi fruit, plums and nectarines will bruise them and cause them to rot.
A juicy melon gives out a low-pitched hollow sound when you tap it. A high-pitched sound indicates that it’s unripe, and a dead thud means that it is overripe and would probably taste bad. As for apples, crunchy ones make a light, high-pitched sound when they are tapped, while mealy apples give a denser sound.
LOOK OUT FOR MOISTURE
Berries give off moisture when they’re overripe. Check the sticker at the bottom of each box – water spots mean that the berries are too ripe and are probably rotting. Fresh berries should look bright and feel full and firm to the touch.
1 Always buy in season. If a fruit is out of season, there’s a higher chance of it lacking taste and flavour, no matter how fresh it may be.
2 Some fruits don’t ripen after being put in the fridge – these include apricots, avocados, mangoes, kiwi fruit, nectarines, papayas, peaches, passion fruit and plums. Leave them out at room temperature until they’re ripe, then transfer to the chiller.
This article was originally published in Simply Her August 2014.