Tips and Tricks to Finding the “Ripe” Produce

Jennifer Carland, RD, CDN

Have you ever bit into a peach only to find that it wasn’t as soft and juicy as you hoped it to be? Or perhaps you experienced a “chalky taste” when you crunched on some corn on the cob? While summer offers us an abundant array of seasonable fruits and vegetables, they are best when you can identify whether or not they are ripe and ready to enjoy.

Cantaloupe
• Should be heavier in weight
• Smells sweet, but not too sweet (overripe)
• Should be able to gently push into the stem end

Corn on the Cob
• Husk should be green in color; if not, it may be dried out
• Kernels should appear to be “plump”

Peaches
• May vary in both red and yellow colors; the red coloring signifies that it was the side facing the sun during growth
• If there is green around the stem, it is not ripe yet
• The fruit should “give a little” when you gently touch it

Pineapple
• Color should be golden-brown
• There should not be too much green at the bottom of the fruit
• Smell is important; it should smell sweet
• If you don’t smell anything, it is not ripe yet
• If it gives off a vinegar-like smell, it is overripe

Strawberries
• Smell is the best indicator of ripeness for a strawberry; it should smell the way you would like it to taste
• If you do not smell anything, it is not ripe yet
• Color is not always the best indicator for ripeness of strawberries

Tomato
• The tomato should be able to “give a little” when you touch it
• If it feels too hard, it is not ripe
• If it feels too soft when you touch, it is overripe

Watermelon
• Should feel heavier in weight
• If you tap on the watermelon, it should sound hollow
• Look for a yellow spot on the bottom
• If stripes go all the way around the fruit, it is not ripe yet

Be sure to use this as a guide when grocery shopping or at your local farmer’s market. Find farmer’s markets close to your neighborhood.