Determining the Ripeness of Fruits and Vegetables

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Determining the Ripeness of Fruits and Vegetables

Posted on 12th Feb 2019

Choosing which fruits and vegetables at the grocery store are of the highest quality and ripeness can be tricky. To choose the best, follow the “Look, Feel, Smell Test” at each visit. 


Keep an eye out for produce that is vibrant in color and is free from blemishes and scars. Produce that is brightly colored is a sign of freshness. Items that are scarred or have brown spots on them are a sign that the fruit or vegetable is close to going bad. Apples should appear shiny, with no bruising or blemishes, and the skin should be strong. You can check this by slightly pressing on the skin of the apple. If the skin ripples upward, it may not be the freshest apple. Bananas should be bright yellow with no brown spots. If you want bananas to last longer, choose ones that are still slightly green!


When choosing fruits and vegetables in the store, don’t be afraid to pick them up and give them a feel with your hands. In general, feel for fruits and vegetables that are firm, but not too hard. Also watch out for produce that is too soft, which can be a sign that that item is close to going bad. Melons should be firm but will also sound slightly hollow when you knock on them. Potatoes should also be firm, with no soft spots or broken skin.


Although it may seem strange to put your nose up to a fruit or vegetable in the store, doing so can help you determine if an item is good or bad! Steer clear of fruits or vegetables that have foul odors or smell overly sweet. Pineapples will smell sweet when they are ripe, have no scent when they are underripe, and smell vinegar-like when they are overripe. Onions, however, should have no smell when they are ready to eat.

For more information on every different kind of fruit and vegetable, visit:

By: Evan Burrowes, SRMC Dietetic Intern

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