How to Tell if Fruit is Fresh

Here’s a handy guide somebody emailed to me years ago about how to tell if your fruit is fresh. Feel free to add it to your cookbook. (I should probably add it to our cookbook software!)

Fruit Fruits to choose: Fruits to avoid: Tips:
Apples Firm, well-colored, feels crisp; scald (tan spots) is okay, hardly affects the taste. Shriveled, bruised, yields
slightly to pressure, or lacks color.
Store in perforated plastic bag in refrigerator. Apples soften fast if left at room temperature.
Apricots Plump, juicy-looking,
golden-orange and uniform in color, yields slightly to pressure.
Underripe: pale,
greenish-yellow, very firm; Overripe: soft, mushy, dull-looking.
Ripe: store in refrigerator for up to 1 week. Unripe: ripen in closed paper sack at room temperature.
Avocados Slightly soft when pressed if want to use at once; firm if want to use in 3-5 days. Cracked, broken, or patched with sunken spots. Ripe (soft): use immediately. Unripe: ripen at room temp. for 3-5 days or until soft. Refrigerating slows down ripening process.
Bananas Firm, without bruises or other injury; tasty when peel is specked with brown. Bruised, discolored, or grayish
(exposed to cold and won’t ripen properly).
Ripen green bananas at room temp. May refrigerate, uncovered, for a few days once ripe. Peel will turn
black, but banana still tastes good. Green tipped fruit is not ripe.
Blueberries Plump, firm, deep blue berries with their natural waxy silver coating; dry, uniform. Mushy, soft, or leaky berries or
ones with leaves or stems still attached.
Store in a loosely covered,
shallow container in refrigerator for up to 10 days.
Cantaloupe 1) Stem removed leaving smooth
shallow base. 2) Thick, coarse, corky netting that stands out from skin. 3) Yellow cast to rind. 4) Nice scent of cantaloupe. 5) Yields slightly when
pressed on non-stem end.
Distinctly yellow and soft over
entire rind, watery, largely bruised (small, occasional bruises usually won’t
affect melon), or moldy.
Store at room temp. until it
ripens (juicy, soft, sweet aroma). Then store in a tightly sealed container
in refrigerator away from other produce. Store cut melon, covered, for up to
2 days in refrigerator.
Cherries Very dark in color (deep maroon to black) glossy, plump, with fresh looking stems. Shriveled with dry stems and
dull sheen; decayed (brown spots, mold, leaky, soft).
Store in a covered shallow
container in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Cranberries Plump, firm, lustrous red
colored berries.
Brown, dark, leaky, spongy
berries.
Sort out any brown or leaky
berries and discard. Store good fruit in covered container in refrigerator
for up to 2 weeks.
Grapefruit Firm, heavy for its size;
smooth, thinner skin = more juice; thick skin (pointed end) = less juice.
Soft, waterlogged, with a peel
that breaks easily when pressed with finger; rough, rigid, wrinkled skin.
May store at room temp. for up to 1 week, or in refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Grapes Green, pliable stems, firmly attached fruit. Green grapes: yellow or amber hue. Red grapes: most or all
berries should be red.
Soft, wrinkled, leaky grapes
with brown, dry stems; grapes with bleached stem ends.
Store, unwashed, in covered
container in refrigerator for up to 5 days. Wash just before serving.
Honeydew
Melon
Creamy (yellow-white) soft, velvety in texture; slightly soft on blossom end, faint fruit aroma. White, greenish ; hard, smooth
in texture; largely bruised, sunken, or punctured rind.
Store in a tightly sealed
container in refrigerator away from other produce. Store cut melon, covered,
for up to 2 days in refrigerator.
Kiwifruit Plump, unwrinkled; firm. Ripe when slightly yields when pressed (not soft). Wrinkled, moldy, or excessively
soft
Ripen at room temp in paper bag,
adding a banana to speed up process. Store, covered, in refrigerator for 1-2
weeks.
Guava Thin-skinned, light yellow blushed with pink; yields slightly when pressed; strong, sweet aroma. Hard, all green fruit. Ripen at room temp. Then,
refrigerate for up to 2 days. May freeze the pulp and eat the rind, which is
full of vitamin C.
Lemons Firm, heavy for its size;
smooth-textured, rich yellow skin that is slightly glossy. Pale or greenish
yellow = very fresh fruit = high acid.
Dark yellow or dull; shriveled,
moldy, soft, or punctured. Coarse skinned fruits = less pulp.
Store at room temp. for up to 1 week and covered in refrigerator for up to 1 month. To release juice,
“nuke” for 10 sec., or roll on countertop while applying hand
pressure.
Limes Plump, heavy for its size, with a glossy rind Dull, dry rind; moldy, has soft
spots, or is punctured.
Store at room temp. for up to 1 week and covered in refrigerator for up to 1 month. To release juice,
“nuke” for 10 sec., or roll on countertop while applying hand pressure.
Mangos Plump, smooth, dark green skin with patches of red, yellow, or orange color; slightly soft; peachy-pine aroma from stem area = ripe. Hard, shriveled, mushy with
bruises, rot, or black spots, or fruit that is all green.
Ripen at room temp. in a paper bag. After completely ripe, store in refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Nectarines Plump, slightly soft along “seam”; either orange-yellow or greenish between red-blushed areas
depending on variety. Hard, tan stains are fine.
Hard, dull, shriveled; soft,
punctured, or cracked skin.
Ripen in paper bag at room temp. Once ripe, refrigerate, covered, for up to 1 week.
Oranges Firm, heavy for its size;
smooth-textured, bright-looking skin. Green color or spots or brown specks
have no affect on taste or quality.
Dull, lightweight, rough or
thick-skinned; punctured, dry or spongy feel, has soft spots; discolored weak skin at ends of orange.
Store at room temp. for up to 1 week; will yield more juice at room temp. Oranges keep well in refrigerator for up to 1 month, loosely covered.
Papaya Unblemished. To eat at once: yellow, slightly soft to the touch. To ripen at home: firm, green with some
yellow patches.
All green, mushy, bruised or
rough-textured. All green, mushy, bruised or rough-textured.
Ripen in a paper bag and dark place at room temp. for 2-3 days. Ready to eat when mostly yellow and soft.
Once ripe, store in refrigerator in plastic/paper bag for 1 week.
Peaches Somewhat firm, becoming slightly
soft; red with creamy, orangy base color.
Very hard or firm, red with
green base color; very soft, mushy, with flat bruises or pale to dark tan spots.
Ripen in paper bag at room temp. until soft and juicy. Once ripe, refrigerate for up to 1 week, uncovered.
Pears Firm, just barely beginning to soften. Bartletts: pale to rich yellow; Anjous/Comices: light to yellow green; Boscs: green to brown yellow. Dull, shriveled, or wilted;
slight withering near the stem; spotted or bruised flesh.
Ripen in paper bag at room temp. until stem yields to gentle pressure. Once ripe, refrigerate for up to 3
days, uncovered.
Pineapple Plump, heavy for its size; bright orange, yellow, or golden brown; eyes slightly separated; pleasant pineapple fragrance. Dull yellowish-green, with
sunken or pointed eyes; dry looking, bruised, moldy, soft spots, unpleasant
odor.
Store in refrigerator,
uncovered, for 2-3 days.
Plums Plump, somewhat firm to slightly soft; healthy color. Hard, poorly colored, punctured, brown discoloration; too soft, mushy, leaky. Ripen in paper bag at room temp. Once ripe, refrigerate, covered, for up to 5 days.
Raspberries
(and other similar berries)
Plump, tender individual cells on berries; bright, uniform color, clean, no attached stem caps. Mushy individual cells on
berries; moldy, leaky; stained or wet containers.
Refrigerate for up to 2 days in loosely covered, shallow container. Don’t wash until ready to use/eat.
Strawberries Bright red color; fresh green caps; dry, clean. Small to medium size taste = more flavor than large. Moldy, large seedy or uncolored
areas, shrunken in appearance. Check bottom berries in package.
Pick out any soft or mushy
berries to use in sauces, etc. Refrigerate remaining berries, loosely covered, for up to 2 days.
Tangerines Bright, lustrous deep yellow or orange. Because of loose skins, fruit won’t feel firm to the touch. Pale yellow or greenish fruit;
punctured skin or very soft spots.
Refrigerate, loosely covered,
for up to 1 week.
Tomatoes Smooth, well ripened, free from blemishes. Ripe: slightly soft, overall rich red color. Less than fully ripe:
firm, pink to light red color.
Bruised, soft, sunburnt (green
or yellow near stem), deep brown cracks, decayed, moldy, water spots.
If not fully ripe, set in warm
place, out of direct sunlight, until slightly soft and red in color. May store at room temp for up to 1 week, uncovered. Only store in refrigerator if
fully ripe.
Watermelon Uncut: 1) Firm, symmetrical,
free from bruises, punctures, dents; 2) bright green rind; 3) heavy for its size; 4) creamy-yellow underside (indicates sun-ripened on ground). Cut:
Firm, dense flesh; dark seeds.
Uncut: pale rind, punctures,
bruises. Cut: pale-colored flesh, whitish streaks or seeds; dry, mealy flesh; stringy, watery flesh.
Whole melons can be stored at room temp for 7-10 days, though 55°F. is ideal. May also be stored in the
refrigerator, uncut, for 1 week. Once cut, cover tightly with plastic wrap or
store in a container and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

I always think tips like this are great additions to your family cookbook!

I make Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software, a great way to organize and create family cookbooks.

Happy cookbooking,

Matilda

Posted in Cookbook Software, Cooking Advice, Free Recipes.

6 Comments

  1. I think this is a great piece of information, but when I printed it out for my cookbook it was in a half-sheet column that wouldn’t look proper in the cookbook. Am I doing something wrong?

  2. Hi, Kathy-
    Nope, you didn’t do anything wrong. But you got me thinking–I should do a printer friendly version. So I will!
    Matilda

  3. Pingback: Fruit Freshness Chart - Printable | Matilda's Family Cookbook Kitchen

  4. Pingback: How to Tell if Fruit is Fresh Matilda Family Cookbook Kitchen | Toe Nail Fungus

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