There’s nothing worse than getting an avo home only to discover it’s already brown and mushy inside. Or biting into a rock hard peach. We’ve gathered all the tricks you need to pick perfectly ripe fruit every time and waste less.
The fact they they can get so expensive just adds to the frustration of picking a bad one. A ripe avocado should be heading towards soft – have some give, but not mushy. The best way of telling an avocado’s not past its best is to remove the stem – if it’s green to greeny-gold underneath it’s still good. If it’s brown put it right back. If your avo is still feeling a bit hard it will keep ripening at home, and if you’d like to speed up the process you can put it next to a banana in the fruit bowl.
Stone fruits are all about the smell – a ripe peach, nectarine, or mango will smell juicy and fragrant. They’ll also be starting to soften to the touch. Colour can vary depending on variety, so it’s often not a great indicator. Keep an eye out for bruises as a sign of overripeness, as super ripe fruits are fragile and easily damaged.
Your nose is a good indicator for picking the perfect pineapple too. An unripe pineapple doesn’t have a scent at all, and an overripe one will smell vinegary. A sweet smelling pineapple is the one for you!
Hidden mould is the biggest peeve when buying berries – it can hide in the middle and spread fast. Choose berries with a vibrant colour that don’t smell musty, and that don’t have any indents from the packaging (a sign of overripeness). Be sure to pick up the punnet and check underneath for visible mould or damp spots.
Bananas are best in the sweet yellow spot between green (underripe, will make your teeth furry) and yellow with black spots (overripe, but perfect for banana bread). If the only ones at the shop are still looking a bit green take them home and they’ll ripen in a couple of days as long as you don’t put them in the fridge.
Citrus fruits generally won’t keep ripening after you purchase, so you’ve got to get it right in the store. Look for bright colours and a firm feel. If citrus has bruises or wrinkles it’s probably overripe, and if it’s looking pale it’s probably underripe.
A ripe watermelon should feel heavy and full of water, and if you give it a tap it should sound hollow. You can also check the light spot where the melon has been sitting on the ground as it grows – it starts of white then turns yellow as the melon ripens. For rock melons and honey dew melons the sniff and squeeze tests are best. Ripe melons give off a soft, sweet fragrance and feel firm, but not rock hard.