MONEY SAVER: How to Pick Ripe Fruit and Vegetables and Avoid Costly Waste


Is there anything more annoying than paying good money for fresh fruit and vegetables only to get home and discover that your rockmelon is tasteless, your avocados hard as cricket balls or watermelon not sweet AT ALL? With the cost of fruit and veg skyrocketing, we’ve pulled together our hot tips on how to pick ripe fruit and vegetables and save you the costly mistakes of picking the wrong one!

The thing is, sometimes choosing your fruit and vegetables means giving them a bit of a sniff, touch and feel. Just be mindful that you’re in a supermarket and to be GENTLE. There should be no rough handling of produce here!

Shopping list at the ready? Here’s what you need to look out for when you’re grocery shopping next for fruit and vegetables…

Don’t know if they’re any good? Read below for ALL the fruit and vegetable buying tips! via GIPHY

How to pick ripe fruit and vegetables

1. Asparagus, broccolini, snow peas and beans

I group these veggies together because it’s important to note that they should all be gloriously green, have no wrinkles and should not be able to bend real far. If their stems are wrinkly, they’ve been there too long and aren’t fresh. They’ll almost certainly decompose in the time it takes you to get home from the supermarket.

2. Bananas

This is an easy one – avoid bruises at all costs! Look for bananas that are bright in colour, plump and blemish-free. If the skin is just starting to speckle, it’s ripe to eat. The softer and more speckled the banana skin, the riper it is. Over ripe bananas are strong in flavour, that’s why they’re excellent for cooking! Want bananas to last the week? Choose a few slightly green-tinged ones to ripen in your fruit bowl.

grocery shopping fruit and vegetables
Bananas can be eaten from slightly green all the way through to over-ripe. Source: Bigstock

3. Pumpkin

If buying a whole pumpkin, pick a firm one that sounds hollow when you tap it. For cut pumpkins, choose one that’s bright orange in colour with no soft spots.

4. Avocados

Ripe, ready to eat avocados are darker in colour and will have a little bit of flex in the skin when lightly pressed up near the stem. Avoid the super dark, wrinkly skinned avocados, they’re too overripe and will likely be bruised.

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Want an avo for later in the week? Pick a green, firm one and put it in your fruit bowl next to your bananas.

avocado storage hacks
To stop avocados from ripening too fast, store them in your fridge. Source: Bigstock

5. Stone fruit

To pick a ripe and juicy apricot, nectarine, peach or plum, the fruit should have a little bit of give when gently squeezed.

mum centralTIP: Look for less-shiny (though not completely dull) skin on plums and nectarines – their skin loses its shine as it ripens and becomes sweeter!

6. Limes, lemons and oranges

First things first when choosing the perfect lemon for your fish or limes for Mexican night (or mojitos), you want to look for the heavier fruit. The heavier, the juicier. The citrus peel (or skin) is important too – you want blemish-free, finely textured peel for maximum fruit and juice.

7. Mandarins

Is there anything better than a sweet and juicy mandarin? Nope, there’s not! All mandarins start out with tight skin and the skin becomes puffy and loosens as it matures – so a puffy skin is good!

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Like limes, lemons and oranges – the heavier mandarins are, the juicier they are.

grocery shopping fruit and vegetables
How to choose a mandarin? Puffy skins! Look for puffy skins! Source: Bigstock

8. Apples

Choose apples that are firm and with skin free of blemishes and bruises. Apples shouldn’t feel too soft or spongy which is a sure sign that the fruit is overripe.

9. Rockmelon

When choosing the perfect rockmelon, look for a fruit with a deep netting pattern on the skin. If the skin is too smooth, it’s underripe and will be tasteless. Also, pick up the fruit and smell it. A ripe rockmelon will smell sweet even before you slice it open!

10. Watermelon

That stripy skin tells all on a watermelon! The advice is simple from this watermelon farmer, he says to make sure the dark green lines are two fingers wide apart from the lighter rind markings.

grocery shopping fruit and vegetables
Check your watermelon rind for stripe width! Source: Facebook

With any luck, you’ll nail all of these tips next time you’re grocery shopping and will have no more tasteless or overripe fruit and vegetables coming home or turning into food waste. Let us know how you go – or if you have any tips of your own to add!

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Avatar of Lexi Klaebe

South Australian mum and self proclaimed foodie, Lexi can most days be found in the kitchen, apron tied firm and armed with a whisk or wooden spoon!

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