Sometimes when you have questions, the answers seem to come out of nowhere. It was perfect timing this week, while we’re right smack dab in the middle of fruit picking season, that I found an article on how to choose the ripest and best fruit while I was stuck in my ultra-comfy lounge chair during my latest rheumatology treatment this week in the clinic. It seems fruit is rich in nutrients that help fight inflammation and do all kinds of good things for your body, and arthritis patients should eat more of it. To make it easier to make choices, they provided a short list of fruits in season and easily available in food stores now.
We had bought a pineapple from Costco the day before. Hubby had asked me how do you tell when it’s ripe? I didn’t really know, but I’ve always chosen my pineapple by the smell and how hard it feels and the results have been mixed. So I decided to share the fruit listing in Wintersong so that I’ll always be able to find it to refresh my memory now and then. I may be one of the few women who’s been discouraged from buying and eating fruit after wasting money on fruit that got too mushy too soon or never seemed to ripen, but in case you’ve been challenged too, maybe you’ll find it useful too. (Back next week with Peruvian adventures.)
BERRIES – stop ripening once they’re off the vine and tread a thin line between ripe and rotting. Staining at the bottom of the container indicates over-ripeness. Go for plump berries with deep color.
ORANGES – the sweetest ones give slightly when squeezed and have shiny, thin skin. It’s OK if Valencias aren’t orange; they can have a green tinge even after they ripen.
MELONS – will ripen after a few days at room temperature. Watermelon bottom will go from white to creamy yellow. Cantaloupes are ready when fragrant.
KIWIS – can be set on the counter to ripen. It’s ready when it yields to a soft squeeze.
BANANAS – should be bought green, when they’re less fragile. Ripen at home to yellow with hints of brown.
APPLES – are already fully ripe when picked. Look for firm, smooth skin without soft spots.
CHERRIES – stop ripening once picked. Buy only plump and firm ones with stems still attached.
PINEAPPLES – should be fully ripe with a yellow hue, deep green leaves and should be slightly firm with a sweet smell.
POMEGRANATES – are shipped ripe. Choose a large, brightly colored one with skin intact.
MANGOES – ripen at room temperature, until slightly soft and very fragrant. A little speckling or bruising is ok.
PEACHES and NECTARINES – are usually sold “ripe when picked” but still fairly firm. Avoid rock hard. Store a few days on the counter until soft and juicy.