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Ripe for the Picking:

A Guide to Picking Ripe Fruit

By: Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD,LDN

For Ripe: Try These Tips For The Best Picks:

Apples

Choose firm-to-the-touch, hard apples.
Bananas Color is key. A banana with green tops is the top banana for grilling. Yellow bananas are ready to peel and enjoy. Those with lots of speckles are ready for banana bread.
Cantaloupe Melon You'll need your eyes, nose, and hands to find a sweet one. Look for a cantaloupe laced with a golden colored background. Sniff around for one with a light fragrance and that is a tad soft and will yield to pressure slightly at the bottom.
Grapes Choosing grapes is a no-brainer, since they are ready to eat as soon as you buy them. Just rinse and enjoy.
Honeydew Melon Unfortunately, shaking it like a maraca won't tell you a thing about its ripeness. Rather, look for a melon with a creamy white to yellow color to tell if it is ready to eat.
Mangoes Look for mangoes that will yield to pressure when you touch them. They should have a fruity fragrance.
Papaya Scout out papayas that are mostly yellow and are also a little soft. Forget about smiffing them as their fragrance can't be detected until you slice it open.
Peaches Your nose will know. Peaches should have a fragrant aroma and be soft when you touch them. Don't be fooled by their color. Peaches that are redish pink aren't necessarily any sweeter than lighter colored ripen, peaches.
Pears When hunting for pears, you may have to do some of the ripening at home. Look for firm ones that are free of blemishes. Your best bet is to press gently near the stem to see if they are soft and you're good to go.
Pineapple Contrary to folklore (and my mother), color is NOT an indicator of ripeness. A green-looking pineapple can be as sweet tasting as a golden-colored one. If you can pull out one of the leaves, slice and dice.
Strawberries Color is the key. Buy bright red ones with fresh, green tops.
Source:CDC, 2005.
Last Updated: March, 2008.