The Ripe Stuff: How to Tell if Produce is Ready to Eat

With fruits and vegetables like blueberries, apples, cabbage and tomatoes in season in Michigan during the summer, cooking fresh and healthy meals and snacks has never been easier. But when you’re at the grocery store or farmers market, how can you be sure that you’re choosing the ripest summer produce? It’s not always as easy as you’d think, so use these guidelines to help make your selection:

  1. Melons: A ripe watermelon is usually heavy for its size, rounded at the ends and emits a deep thud when you thump it. Cantaloupes will have a sweet scent and some give a little when you press into the end opposite of its stem. Make sure there aren’t any lumps or bruising.
  2. Berries: Blueberries are ripe when they have turned completely blue, with no red or green near the stem. Raspberries and strawberries will be a bright color, plump and have a sweet aroma.
  3. Sweet corn: If the husk is green and moist, and the silk threads at the top of the ear are dry and darkened, the corn is ready to eat. You can also peel the corn a little and press on a kernel—it should release a milky fluid.
  4. Tomatoes: Tomatoes will have beautiful, glossy skin, deep color, and a bit of a softer touch when they are ripe.
  5. Stone fruit: The fruit should give slightly when you press your thumb into it. Peaches and nectarines will smell sweet while plums will have a rich color and dull skin when ripe.

Want to learn more about eating Michigan-grown fruits and veggies? Check out these other blogs:

Photo credit: GomezDavid

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