Picking Fruit Done Right
No matter what season it is, we’re always looking for simpler, cleaner, healthier ways to shop, cook and eat. Brightly coloured produce is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to help boost your immune system. For more on this, here is a list of 10 ordinary fruits that have amazing health benefits. However, grocery store-bought fruit often travels a long way to get to its destination. This makes picking fruit that is ripe a little trickier than choosing ripe veggies. The most important thing to remember when selecting fruits is to understand what’s in season.
Here are fruits that are typically in season during North American summers (the best season for picking fruit):
- Peaches: Select deeper blush-coloured peaches that are not bruised, and avoid the green ones!
- Raspberries: Choose deep-red berries, making sure there are no hulls still attached, which means they were picked too early and will taste sour.
- Blueberries: Pick firm, plump berries and make sure to check for signs of spoilage in the container.
- Strawberries: White or green-tipped strawberries have less flavour, so go for berries that are bright red up to the hulls.
- Watermelon: Ripe watermelon should be firm, feel heavy for its size, and have a cream-coloured spot where it sat on the ground to ripen in the field.
Here are fruits that are typically in season during North American autumn (a perfect time for picking apples):
- Apples: Select ones that still have their stem and are not bruised.
- Cranberries: Pick bags that are packed with firm berries! Soft berries mean they could be spoiled.
- Grapes: Again, you want firm grapes that are not bruised.
- Pears: You want the ones that still have their stems, are unbruised, and have a nice smooth texture.
Here are the fruits that are typically in season during North American winters (a very limited selection):
- Rhubarb: Do not pick this fruit based on colour, as it won’t tell you anything about the ripeness. When selecting rhubarb, pick the fruit based on length; you want the stalk to be between 7 and 15 inches.
- Tomatoes: Yes, they are available during the summer and fall months fresh, but greenhouse tomatoes are just as nutritious and available in the winter. Select those that are still on a vine, have no bruises, and are a bright red colour.
Here are the fruits that are typically in season during North American springs (usually fruits are ripe towards the end of spring, as they need time to grow):
- Cherries: Select cherries that are obviously plump and juicy, and that pull easily off their stem.
- Gooseberries: Pick gooseberries that have a smooth texture and are soft to the touch, they should not feel stiff or tough.
- Saskatoon Berries: Find berries that are a deep blue-purple colour with a sweet aroma.
For a more robust list of fruits available during Canadian seasons, check out Foodland’s guide.
Now that you know what fruits to select during the different seasons, here are a few tips for picking fruit better:
- Don’t excessively poke, prod, or squeeze anything as it won’t reveal much about the fruit’s ripeness. We recommend you gently pick up each piece of fruit individually, turning it over in your hand to see if there are any visible signs of spoilage.
- During your visual inspection, we recommend you smell the piece of fruit near its stem, as a sweet aroma means it’s ripe, while no smell means it’s most likely unripe.
- If you’re still unsure after your inspection, we recommend asking a store employee when the fruit arrived, or what days the deliveries for fruit typically take place. This will help you plan out your weekly grocery shop to ensure you’re always going on the best day for the freshest produce.