I thought it might be nice to start a thread on how to choose the best produce. For instance, I’d really like to know how to choose a good pineapple. Here… I’ll start with some tips I know: When choosing lemons, oranges or limes, choose ones that have the smoothest skin, not pitted. From personal experience, the rounder the avocado, the better it is. Shake thai coconuts, and if you hear the water, don’t buy it. It should be so full of water you can’t hear it. Look on the bottom especially for purple areas which indicate it’s not good.
Here’s a list of produce to avoid buying from Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson. Many of these are intuitive, but I’ve known people who buy bad produce. Avoid buying:
Asparagus with spread out tips or vertical ribs or ridges
Beets that are elongated with scaly areas at the top
Broccoli with a yellowish-green color, or open or large buds
Cauliflower speckled with black or brown spots
Cucumbers that are mushy and bruised or are too large (as they may have too many seeds)
Mushrooms with caps that are not closed to the stem or, if they are open, that show dark, discolored gills instead of pink or tan gills.
Onions that have thick, woody centers at their tops or are sprouting green shoots
Peppers with very thin walls
Potatoes that are sprouted or shriveled or green
Tomatoes with cracks around the stem or shriveled skin. Green or yellow areas indicate that the tomatoes are not fully ripe.
Turnips with a lot of leaf scars around the top. An old turnip will be woody and fibrous instead of firm and moist inside. If turnips seem light in weight for their size, this is a sign that they are woody.
Winter squash and pumpkins without at least an inch of stem (as they will rapidly decay).
Fruits. Avoid buying: Avocados with dark, sunken spots or cracked surfaces
Cantaloupes that combine very yellow base skin on the rind with softness and large bruises. A ripe cantaloupe will have a frim rind and yellow base skin. Avoid cantaloupes with mold near the stem scar.
Grapes with brown, brittle stems
Honeydew melons that are dead white or green-white are underripe. They are ripe when they are yellow-white to creamy in color.
Citrus fruits that feel lightweight for their size. Juicy citrus fruits should feel hefty in your hand. Note that a greenish cast does not necessarily mean that an orange is unripe.
Nectarines that are hard or shriveled.
Things that don’t matter: With apples you don’t have to worry about scald, those tan or rough brown patches of bruised skin.
On grapefruits you don’t need to worry about scars or discolored patches other than bruises.
*Florida or Texas oranges that show tan, brown, or blackish speckling are fine. Some of the best tasting oranges have these marks.
To choose a good watermelon, look for a pronounced yellow/white area on the watermelon. That’s where it layed on the ground when it was growing. I can’t remember why, but it’s important that it be very noticeable. I think it’s an indication of ripeness.