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Ask the Expert Archive

How do I select fresh fruits at the grocery store?


Q. I live in Southern California. I can’t find any fruit that isn’t under-ripened and hard as a rock. When I purchase them and ripen them at home, they lose their juice and they are awful.  Can you suggest something?


A. Some fruits will continue to ripen post-harvest, including peaches, pears, plums, nectarines, bananas, avocados, tomatoes, so these are picked once mature and then ripened during transport and can be further ripened at home.  Try ripening these in a paper bag.  If you have a bad experience, take it back to the store and express your concern. It could be that the fruit was held at temperatures that were too low during transport or at the store, or that the fruit was picked too early. Either way, the store should know about it. It is always a good idea to buy in season when possible to ensure getting your fruits and veggies at their very best peak of ripeness and flavor.  Use our seasonal fruit and vegetable guides to help you determine when to purchase fruits and vegetables at their peak of ripeness and flavor.   Remember to also choose frozen, canned, dried, or 100% juice – they all count towards meeting daily recommendations and are equally nutritious.

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The Expert: Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, is the President and CEO of the Produce for Better Health (PBH) Foundation. At PBH, she guides the Foundation’s efforts to advance the overall effort of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.
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