I have a fantastic grocery store right near my house, one that carries an abundant selection of fantastic produce. Miss O eats a lot of fruit. Every day after her nap, she has a bowl of fruit that I have cut up for her. She has her favourites but fruit is the one area I can usually convince her to try new things. Taking her to the grocery store is also a surefire way to get her interested – if she gets to see, smell and touch the fruit when it is whole and she finds it fascinating then there is a good chance I can get her to eat it. The most recent adventure was oranges. She was adamant that I give her one to carry around the store. It’s now her new fave! But with things like oranges, it can often be hard to tell which one will be sweet and juicy unless you know the secrets. I have compiled a list of some of the more common fruits that can be hard to choose due to a variety of rinds, skins and otherwise. There’s even a free printable list at the bottom! Simply tuck it into your purse or save a copy to your phone!
How to Select the Best Fruit
- Apples are fairly easy to choose: pick one that is unblemished. Avoid bruises, soft spots and other dents & divots in the flesh.
- Choose a shiny apple over a dull one; choose an apple that feels heavy for its size
- Firm apples (ideal for baking): Granny Smith, Empire, Braeburn
- Softer apples (ideal for toddlers): Honeycrisp, McIntosh, Red & Golden Delicious, Cortland, Gala
- Try something new! Pink Lady apples are pretty tasty
- Choose your bananas based on when you plan on eating them and how you plan on using them
- Green bananas are very underripe and will take a long time to ripen on your counter
- Slightly green bananas will last about a week on your counter but will need another day or two to ripen
- Bright yellow bananas are perfect for eating right away
- Try to avoid bananas with black marks on them – they are bordering on overripe and will often be bruised; however, these are best for baking
- Black bananas are incredibly overripe; if you have 2-3 of these in your home, make some banana bread!
- With all berries, check the bottom of the clamshell container to ensure they are not mushed or mouldy
- Strawberries should be bright, bordering on a deep red
- Raspberries should be a deep red; however, too deep and they are bordering on overripe
- Blueberries should be firm and blue (as opposed to reddish or even green – these were picked too soon)
- Blackberries should be relatively firm and deep in colour – if they are red they will be bitter
- Tasting them will give you the best results!
- Choose grapes that are vibrant, unblemished and still firmly attached to the stem
- I advise leaving the grapes on the stem when storing them as they will remain ripe longer
- Kiwis are similar to mangoes: not too firm, not too soft
- Too firm will give you a bitter, crunchy kiwi
- Too soft will give you a mushy kiwi that is difficult to cut and not very tasty
- My mother gave me the best advice when it comes to choosing a mango: colour is not overly important; however, when you press your thumb into the flesh, it should feel like the meaty part of your hand under your thumb – soft but not too soft.
- If the mango has no give, it will be hard and bitter
- If the mango is incredibly soft then it is overripe and likely bruised and not very tasty!
- Watermelon should sound hollow when you knock on it; the “white spot” should be yellow – a white spot means it was picked before ripe whereas a yellow spot means it was left to ripen on the vine and will be sweeter
- Canteloupe should be creamy in colour, not green; they should smell sweet at the stem end and not have any soft spots
- Honeydew should smell sweet at the stem end – if there is no smell then it will not be very sweet; the melon should not have any soft spots
- I’m pretty picky when it comes to oranges and I prefer Navel
- When choosing a Navel Orange, look for a large navel! Like I tell Miss O: a big belly button means a sweeter, juicier fruit
- You don’t want your oranges too soft or too firm
- If it smells strongly of orange then chances are it will also have great flavour
Free Printable / Download
Download a simplified list which is yours to print or save to your phone! This way you will always have the list handy for that trip to the grocery store.
Andrea can always be found with a new craft in front of her, a form of technology on her right and a coffee on her left. This is how she survives suburbia with her two crazy toddlers in tow.