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Selecting and Storing Fresh Produce

Here's a comprehensive guide to selecting and storing fresh fruits and vegetables. Including pears of course!

Each section, for Fruits and Vegetables, is listed in alphabetical order.

Vegetables
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T V W Y

Fruits
A B C D F G H K L M N O P Q R S T U W

Pears


Asian Pear

Select firm, well shaped fruit that have a clear rich color. Avoid fruit with bruises and soft spots. Asian Pears can be ripened at room temperature.

*Refrigerate ripe pears.


Pears, Bartlett

Pears are one of the few fruits that do not ripen successfully on the tree. They are harvested by hand when they reach full maturity but before they are ripe. Pears will ripen after they are harvested. Choose a Bartlett that is bright and fresh looking with no bruises or external damage. A Bartlett will change color as it ripens.

*Store unripe pears in a warm place outside of the refrigerator in a fruit bowl or in a paper bag. Check daily for ripeness. Store ripe pears in the coldest part of the refrigerator.


Pears, Anjou/Bosc/Comice/Seckel/Red Pears

Pears are on of the few fruits that do not ripen successfully on the tree. They are harvested by hand when they reach full maturity but before they are ripe. Pears will ripen after they harvested. Choose a pear that is bright and fresh looking with no bruises or external damage. Pears other than Bartletts do not dramatically change color as they ripen. Test for ripeness by pressing gently near the stem, if it gives to gentle pressure it is sweet juicy and ready to eat. Because pears ripen from the inside out, ripe fruit will give gently to gentle pressure near the stem. Waiting until pears are soft around the middle may indicate over ripeness. Store unripe pears in a warm place outside of the refrigerator in a fruit bowl or in a paper bag. Check daily for ripeness.

*Store ripe pears in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Pears are an ethylene producer. Avoid long term storage next to ethylene sensitive produce. (See ethylene sensitive section) Pears produce odors which may be absorbed by cabbage, carrots, celery, onions and potatoes. Pears may also absorb odors produced by onions and potatoes. Take care not to store pears next to these items.


Prickly Pear

(Also known as Barberry fig, Indian fig, Cactus pear and tuna.) Select fruit with a bright red skin. The inside flesh will be yellow. The fruit should feel firm but not rock hard.

*Ripe fruit should be refrigerated.

Vegetables

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Alfalfa Sprouts

Choose sprouts that are dry and fresh looking. Avoid those with a brownish coloration or containers with excessive moisture at the bottom.

*Refrigerate.


Artichoke

(Sunchoke/Jerusalem artichoke) Look for fresh looking, plump compact green heads that are heavy for their size with tightly closed leaves. Rubbing artichokes together should produce a crisp feel and a squeaky sound. Artichokes should be olive green and relatively blemish free. Avoid shriveled and gray or tan cast leaves and those with flabby, limp leaves. The second layer of leaves is good to check as the first layer may be discolored due to growing conditions but the inner portion may not be affected. Also avoid those with leaves that are spreading.

*Refrigerate close to 32o for four days in closed container or plastic bag. Keep artichokes dry as they can develop mold if wet.


Arugula

Select Arugula with small to medium sized leaves that are fresh and have a good green color. Avoid overgrown leaves which are yellowing or wilted.

*Can be stored in coldest part of the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. Store in a plastic bag.


Asparagus, white or green

Look for firm straight stalks with tips that are well formed, smooth and tightly closed. Should appear fresh and have a rich color. Avoid limp or wilted stalks as well as flat or angular stalks. (They may be tough or stringy) Also avoid those with tips that are spreading. Freshen up slightly wilted stalks by putting them in cool water before serving.

*Store in coldest part of the refrigerator. Use quickly. If you must keep asparagus for two or three days wrap the ends with a damp paper towel and or store in a plastic bag.

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Babycorn

Look for fresh crisp babycorn that is pale yellow to creamy white in color. Length should be 1.5 to 4 inches in length. Avoid dry or tired looking babycorn. *Refrigerate and use promptly.


Bamboo shoots

Select shoots with good green color and a fresh appearance. *Refrigerate.


Bean sprouts

Select sprouts that are firm and crisp with a creamy color. Avoid limp sprouts and any that are beginning to brown.

*Store in the refrigerator.


Beans

Look for fresh young looking beans with a bright color. They should be in firm, crisp pods that are fresh looking with good, even color. Avoid dry, hard, woody beans and those that are course, wilted or flabby. Generally, smaller beans will be the most tender. However, avoid those that are immature. Beans should not be thick, tough or fibrous.

*Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator or in the crisper. Like most produce do not wash until just before use. Best if used in 2 - 4 days.


Beets

Buy smooth, firm well shaped yet slender beets with a good deep rich red color. Small to medium sized beets may have best flavor. Avoid soft, spongy, rough and shriveled beets as well as those with bruises. If beets have tops, they should be fresh looking and not shriveled. Remove tops and store with greens.

*Refrigerate beets in a plastic bag.


Belgium Endive

(See endive)


Bibb lettuce

Looks for crisp leaves with no signs of decay or browning of the leaves.

*All lettuce leaves should be firm, not wilted or discolored. Avoid slimy leaves or butt. Store in coldest area in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 days. Store away from fans in the refrigerator to keep dehydration to a minimum. Can be placed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for maximum humidity.


Bitter Melon

Choose a medium sized bitter melon (6 to 8 inches long) that appears free of any bruise or signs of deterioration. Fresh bitter melons should be clear green with a wrinkled surface.

*Refrigerate.


Bok Choy

Choose crisp, firm Bok Choy with no signs of wilting or damage from excess moisture.

*Store in refrigerator in a plastic container. Do not wash until ready to use.


Broccoli

Look for compact heads that are dark green, sage green or a purple green color. The flower clusters should be firm, compact and tightly closed. The stalks should be tender and fresh looking with a bright color. Broccoli should look and smell fresh.

Avoid buds that are open or yellow or beginning to flower. Stalks should have good color and not be woody or rubbery. Avoid stalks with soft slippery spots and yellow leaves. Avoid bunches that are wilted, shriveled and those with a pungent odor.

*Store in the coldest part of the refrigerator and use in 3 to 4 days. Storing in a plastic bag can increase humidity.


Brussels Sprouts

Choose small firm compact heads with tight fitting leaves that are bright green in color. Avoid yellow or wilted leaves and large puffy heads. Avoid those with black spots and holes in the leaves. Avoid sprouts with a strong odor.

*Store Brussels sprouts wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Do not wash until ready to use.


Burdock

Select Burdock that looks green and fresh. Avoid any with a milky or colored juice coming from the cut end.

*Refrigerate.


Butter

Butter lettuce should be fresh looking with a soft and waxy look.

Avoid browning and wilted leaves.

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Cabbage

(Green and Red) Look for firm heads that are heavy for their size and have a bright color. Avoid heads with numerous loose or wilted outer leaves and a puffy appearance. Also avoid those with brown or yellowing leaves. The butt end should not look too dry or brown.

*Store in the refrigerator. Can be rinsed before storage and placed in a plastic bag or in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Should keep for 5 to 7 days.


Cactus Leaves

(Nopales). Purchase crisp leaves that have a bright, light green color and few blemishes.

*Store cactus leaves in the refrigerator to preserve their crisp tender texture.


Cardoon

Choose young tender plants with a small shank. Look for fresh, crisp bunches. Avoid those with any signs of wilting or decay and those with pronounced blemishes.

*Keep refrigerated.


Carrots

Buy small, firm, well shaped carrots that look fresh, smooth and plump. Look for crisp carrots with good deep color. Avoid limp carrots that are rubbery and wilted. Also avoid carrots with cracks and any signs of shrivel or sprouting. Look at the stem end and avoid black or deeply discolored ends as well as those with large green areas on top. If the carrots have tops they should be green and fresh looking. Avoid wilted or discolored tops.

*Store carrots in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Remove tops before storing. Can be rinsed then stored in a plastic bag for a high humidity environment. Can be kept for 1 week.


Cauliflower

Look for firm, compact, white or creamy white curds. Any jacket leaves should be fresh and green. Avoid heads with loose, spread out sections. Avoid cauliflower with brown spots and bruises. Also avoid those with leaves that are yellow, brown or limp looking.

*Store in the coldest part of the refrigerator in a plastic bag. Use in 3 to 5 days.


Celeriac

(Celery Root, Celery Knob, Turnip Root) Look for plump, heavy celeriac. The smaller the root knob the more tender and less woody the celeriac is. Avoid shriveled and softness in the roots.

*Trim the stalk and leaves before storage then keep in refrigerator.


Celery

Look for fresh looking, solid, rigid and well shaped stalks. Look for glossy colored stalks that are medium to light green. Any leaves should be fresh and green. Avoid pithy or woody looking stalks and those that have a hollow or discolored center. Avoid limp, pliable stalks with yellow or wilted leaves. Also avoid cracks and obvious defects.

*Store in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Can be rinsed before storing in a plastic bag. Will keep for a week or more.


Celtuce

Choose Celtuce with young tender leaves that are fresh looking and green. Avoid discolored or otherwise deteriorating leaves. *Refrigerate.


Chard

(Swiss Chard) Choose fresh looking tender leaves and stems with rich green colored leaves. Avoid coarse stems and leaves with outward blemishes or wilted or yellowed leaves.

*Store in the crisper in the refrigerator.


Chayote

(Vegetable pear, Chayote squash, Mirliton). Select Chayote with a rich green color and hard surface. Avoid misshapen or otherwise deteriorated Chayote.

*Refrigerate.


Chervil

Salad chervil looks like parsley and should be selected and handled similarly. Parsnip chervil is a root vegetable which should be selected and handled like a turnip.


Chicory/Endive/Escarole

Look for fresh, tender looking leaves with good color. Avoid green leafed varieties that have turned yellow. Avoid limp or wilted leaves. Avoid leaves with obvious insect damage from the field.

*Refrigerate wrapped in plastic for 1 to 2 days.


Chinese Cabbage

(Boc Choy) Look for fresh greens and plump stems. Avoid wilted leaves and limp stems.

*May be stored in the refrigerator wrapped in moist paper. Best if used soon after purchase.


Chinese Long Beans

(Dow Kwok) Select long, thin pods that look fresh and green.

*Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.


Collard Greens

Look for fresh looking greens that are crisp and have good green color. Avoid stems and leaves that are course, wilted or yellow.

*Store in the crisper of the refrigerator.



Corn

The fresher you can buy corn the better. Corn begins to turn its sugars to starch as soon as it is harvested. Look for fresh looking kernels. The kernels should be well formed, full and tender looking. The rows should be tight. If they have the husks on, look for fresh green husks with fresh looking silk. Avoid dry looking, dented kernels, those with immature or large tough looking kernels. If it is yellow corn avoid white kernels. Also avoid dry yellowish husks.

*If possible select corn that is cold and refrigerate as soon as possible and keep refrigerated until ready to use. Store with husks on and use as soon as possible.


Cucumbers

Look for firm, fresh looking cucumbers with a good green color and heavy for their size. Avoid dull or yellowish cucumbers with a puffy appearance. Also those that look wrinkled or shriveled especially on the ends. Avoid those with dark sunken areas and white or yellow areas.

*Refrigerate in the warmer part of the refrigerator. (50 to 55 degrees F) Placing in a plastic bag can help maintain humidity and help avoid moisture loss and shrivel. Cucumbers should not be held at temperatures below 45 degrees for more than 2 days. Storing too cold will cause chill damage and storing above 50 will increase breakdown and can cause yellowing after 7 to 10 days above 50 degrees. Best used in 3 to 5 days.

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Daikon

(Japanese White radish) Select firm, well shaped daikons which are 8 to 10 inches long . Look for a clean, crisp appearance. Avoid any with signs of decay.

*Refrigerate.


Dandelion greens

Look for crisp tender greens that are fresh and without pronounced blemishes. Select those with bright green leaves that are not too deep of a green color. Avoid wilted leaves, those that are yellowing and any signs of rot.

*Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

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Eggplant

Buy those that are firm yet yield to gentle pressure. Choose eggplant with a dark purple-black glossy skin that is uniform in color. The cap should be fresh and green. Select an eggplant that is plump and heavy for its size. Avoid those that are shriveled, spongy and those with dark spots. Also avoid any with pronounced scars, cuts bruises and any sign of rot. The cap should not be yellow or shriveled.

*Refrigerate and use as soon as possible.


Endive

(Belgium endive, French endive, Wiltloof Chicory, Curly Endive, Chicory) Should be fresh looking and clean. Avoid dry or brown leaves, frayed brown edges or small reddish brown spots.

*Refrigerate all varieties. Endive and escarole can be washed before storing in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Can be kept 3 to 5 days. Chicory should be used in a couple of days. It should be placed in a plastic bag but not washed until ready to use.


Enoki Mushroom

Choose fresh looking mushrooms that are creamy white in color.

Avoid any that are slimy

*Refrigerate and use promptly.


Escarole

(see Endive)

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Fennel

(Anise, Finocchio) Look for fresh, crisp green fennel with feather-like leaves. Look for a fat, white-green stalk. The rounded white bulb should be medium sized and firm. Avoid fennel with signs of rot, bruises and any cracks.

*Refrigerate wrapped in plastic. Use in 1 to 3 days.


Fiddlehead fern

Select young, clean and fresh Fiddlehead with a clear green color. Look for those with the tip still rolled. The most delicate flavor will be from those that are young and not overgrown. Two to eight inches is best for a delicate flavor. Avoid any with pronounced deformity or blemish and those with an milky or colored juices. Also avoid any signs of rot or wilting.

*Refrigerate wrapped and use within 1 to 2 days. Do not wash until ready to use.

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Garlic

Look for a good sized, full bulb with big cloves. Bulbs should be firm, heavy, dry and have a paper-like crackley skin. Avoid any with soft cloves, sprouts or any signs of rot or mildew.

*Store in a cool dry place away from foods which may pick up the aroma.


Green Onions

(Scallions) Choose young, tender, bright and fresh looking tops with clean white root ends and medium sized necks. Smaller bulbs, those less than 1/2 inch in diameter, tend to be sweeter than those with larger bulbs. Avoid brown or slimy tops and onions which appear wilted or discolored.

*Store in a plastic bag in the coldest part of the refrigerator and use as soon as possible.


Greens

(Collard, mustard, chard, Kale, turnip) Choose fresh, bright, young and tender looking greens with good green color. Leaves and stems should be clean and free from blemish. Avoid greens with yellowed or wilted leaves and those with coarse, fibrous stems. Also avoid greens with obvious insect damage such as tiny holes in the leaves.

*Refrigerate wrapped and unwashed until ready to use. Use in 1 to 3 days.

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Herb

All herb should look fresh and green and brightly colored. Check for a fresh scent and squeeze a leaf to check for the characteristic odor. Avoid herb that are wilted or dry and any with yellow or browning on the leaves. Also avoid herb that have begun to flower.

*Store in the refrigerator and use in a few days. Can be placed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for a humid environment. Placing stems in water or wrapped in a paper towel in the refrigerator can extend the shelf life.


Horseradish Root

(German Mustard) Choose a firm, light colored root which is plump and crisp looking with no sign of shrivel or decay. Avoid dry and shriveled roots with any soft spots and/or signs of sprouting.

*Refrigerate wrapped tightly in plastic or placed in an airtight container. Best if used within a few days.

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Iceberg

look for green, fresh looking and clean outer leaves tightly wrapped around the head. Choose a head that is heavy for it's size. Leaves should have good, bright color medium to light green.

Avoid brown or wilted leaves and a dark brown or black butt end.

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Jerusalem Artichoke/Sunchoke

Choose firm, hard roots without any signs of deterioration. Avoid softness, shrivel, moisture and any sings of mold or sprouting.

*Store in a refrigerator crisper drawer.


Jicama

Choose small, well formed jicama root which is plump and crisp and free of bruises. Avoid larger roots as they can be woody. Also avoid shriveled or soft roots as well as any signs or sprouting moisture or mold.

*Wrap jicama root unwashed in plastic and refrigerate.

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Kohlrabi

Look for globes about the size of large eggs. Larger sizes may be woody or tough. Tops should be green, young and fresh looking. Avoid kohlrabi with growth cracks and blemishes. Tops that are wilted should be avoided.

Store bulbs and greens separately.

*Store in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.

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Leeks

Look for well shaped, small to medium sized leeks with fresh green tops. Look for several inches of white skin. Avoid leeks with wilted, browning or yellowing greens . Also avoid any signs of rot and bulbs with splits.

*Refrigerate unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Use within 3 to 4 days.


Lettuce (Packaged)

Select bags with the longest shelf life. Often these bags are in the back. Squeeze the bag to check for air leaks. Avoid bags with brown, wilted, discolored leaves as well as those with wet or slimly leaves. Unused portions can be stored in the bag by squeezing air from he bag, rolling down the top and securing it with a rubber band or "chip clip".

*Highly perishable. Refrigerate immediately after getting it home.

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Mache

Select very fresh looking mache with leaves of a deep blue green color. Avoid any that appear wilted or dry. Also avoid any signs of rot.

*Wrap and store in the refrigerator. Use in 1 to 2 days.


Mushroom

(Cultivated) The freshest mushrooms are plump, firm, smooth and light brown or white, with the veil underneath the cap still attached to the stem. Mushrooms purchased this way will keep longer and are excellent served raw. Fresh mushrooms have tightly closed caps that curl over the edge of the gills. (The gills are the dark fluted areas under the cap) For extra flavor, choose mushrooms with the veil open or drawn away from the stem. The wider the veil the more flavorful the mushroom Avoid blemished, bruised or slimy mushrooms.


Mushrooms

(Wild e.g. Shitake, Chantrelle, Enoke, oyster)

Look for fresh firm looking mushrooms with no signs of wilt, rot, bruising or signs of moisture.

*Store all mushrooms in the coldest part of the refrigerator in a paper bag or wrapped in a paper towel. Do not store in a plastic bag as this can make mushrooms slimy. Do not rinse until ready to use and never soak mushrooms. Handle mushrooms gently as they bruise easily. Highly perishable. Use as soon as possible.


Mustard Greens

Mustard greens can be light green or appear slightly bronzed. Select greens that look fresh and tender. Avoid those with yellowed leaves, those which are blemished or course and fibrous.

*Refrigerate.

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Nappa Cabbage

(Napa, Sui Choy, Chow Choy, Won Bok) Select medium sized heads with fresh crisp leaves and plump stems. Avoid those with wilted leaves. Also avoid very large or very firm heads as they may have exceptionally strong or pungent flavor.

*Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

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Okra

Buy Okra that have 2 to 4 inch pods. Larger ones may be tough or woody. Pods should be bright green and unblemished. Avoid Okra that is dull or faded in color, soft, dry or shriveled and any with blackening or major discoloration. Also avoid pods with stiff tips that resist bending as those may be tough and fibrous.

*Store in the refrigerator in a plastic bag and/or in the crisper compartment of the refrigerator. Can be kept for 2 to 4 days.


Onions, Dry

Choose firm, dry onions that crackle or rustle when gently pressed. The outer skin should look bright and smooth. Select onions which are firm, heavy and relatively free of blemish. Avoid onions with dampness on the neck or stem as well as those with woody centers. Also avoid those with soft necks and any that are sprouting or have green sunburn spots.

*Store in a cool, dark well ventilated place. Avoid storage with potatoes as the onions may pick up moisture from potatoes which causes onions to deteriorate sooner.

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Parsley

Select dark green, fresh looking parsley. Avoid parsley with yellow or discolored leaves.

*Refrigerate.


Parsley root

Select fresh looking root which is plump and crisp. If leaves are attached they should also look fresh. Avoid bruised or shriveled root.


Parsnips

Choose plump, smooth, firm and well shaped parsnips which are fairly crisp. Select small to medium sized parsnips as larger parsnips may have a woody core. Avoid soft and shriveled parsnips with dry skin as well as those with large or flabby roots. Also, avoid parsnips with cracks as well as those with discoloration as the latter may be a sign of freeze damage.

*Refrigerate and use within a few days.


Peas

Choose young, small, shiny green pods that appear fresh , especially at the ends. Pods should be slightly velvety to the touch and should be filled with well developed peas. Pods should not be small or bursting. Pressing pods gently together should produce a squeaky sound. Avoid pods that are filled to the bursting point. They may be over mature and have tough, mealy tasting peas. Also avoid pods that appear flat and empty as well as those that are limp, faded or discolored.

*Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Use promptly.


Peppers

( Bell, sweet.) Look for firm, fresh peppers that are heavy for their size and have a tight skin. Bell Peppers come in many colors including green, red, yellow, orange purple and chocolate brown. Select peppers with good glossy color. (Tinges of red on a green bell pepper is fine.) Large peppers are often better for stuffing. Those not as pretty are just fine for cutting up and adding to a recipe.

Avoid peppers that are soft or pale with thin, loose feeling skin as well as those with a dull appearance. Avoid bruised, shriveled or wilted peppers and those with brown or black spots and any with soft spots. Avoid any with decay at the stem end.

*Refrigerate uncut peppers in a plastic bag in the warmer part of refrigerator. When cut, wrap in plastic before refrigerating. (45-55 degrees F) Temperature below 45 can cause chill damage and above 50 will hasten breakdown. . Keep away from high ethylene producing fruits. Use in 4 to 6 days.


Peppers

(Chili) Select peppers with good rich color that are plump and firm with a thick, glossy flesh. Avoid those that look wilted, have soft spots, shriveled skin and any signs of deterioration.

*May be refrigerated wrapped loosely in a plastic bag.


Potatoes

(New) Look for fresh looking, well shaped and firm potatoes with a slightly waxy texture. Avoid those with black spots and any signs of bruising or shrivel as well and those with a spongy feel or signs of sprouting.


Potatoes

(Baking) Choose potatoes that are dry, well shaped, reasonably smooth and firm without black spots or sprouts. Avoid those with cuts, bruises and any signs of shrivel. Also avoid potatoes with greening which is caused by exposure to light.

*Store potatoes in a cool, dry and dark place. This will keep them from sprouting and turning green. Do not store in the refrigerator or with onions. The refrigerator is too cold and storing with onions may cause the onions to go bad more quickly than normal. Onions extract moisture from potatoes.


Pumpkin

Select a clean pumpkin with a rich orange color. Avoid those that are cracked, scarred, moist or show any signs or breakdown.

*Store at room temperature.

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Radishes

Select radishes with heads that are medium sized, smooth and bright in color. They should be firm and well shaped with smooth, glossy skin. If the tops are attached, look for those with fresh looking, bright colored tops. Avoid tops that are yellow or slimy. Avoid spongy radishes with soft or black spots, any signs of wilt, sprouting and those with cracks and other signs of decay.

*Store in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Remove tops before refrigerating. Can be stored in a plastic bag to increase humidity. Should be used in 2 to 4 days.


Rappini

(Rape', Rapa) Select a young tender bulb that is smooth with fresh green leaves. *Refrigerate.


Romaine and leaf

Look for good color and closely bunched fresh looking leaves.

Avoid browning and wilted leaves or any signs of rust.


Rutabaga

Choose a firm, smooth rutabaga that is heavy for its size. Size is not a critical factor in deciding quality. Avoid rutabaga with punctures or deep scars.

*Refrigerate.

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Salad (Packaged)

Select bags with the longest shelf life. Often these bags are in the back. Squeeze the bag to check for air leaks. Avoid bags with brown, wilted, discolored leaves as well as those with wet or slimly leaves. Unused portions can be stored in the bag by squeezing air from the bag, rolling down the top and securing it with a rubber band or "chip clip".

*Highly perishable. Refrigerate immediately after getting it home.


Salsify

(Oyster Plant) Select a root that is firm and gray white in color with a full, fresh looking, grassy top. Avoid salsify with any signs of deterioration.

*Refrigerate.


Shallots

Choose firm, dry shallots with firm well rounded bulbs about 3/4 inch in diameter. The outer skin should be smooth and dry without any shriveling. Avoid spongy bulbs and those that are sprouting.

*Store shallots in the refrigerator in a tightly closed paper bag. They should be cool and dry.


Shallots, (Dry)

Look for dry shallots with plump firm and heavy cloves. The skin should have a dry papery texture with a light sheen and gray to reddish brown color.

*Store in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place. Avoid storage with potatoes as the onions may pick up moisture from potatoes which cause onions to deteriorate sooner.


Snow Peas

(a.k.a. sugar peas, China peas) Choose flat translucent pods that are bright green and appear crisp. Avoid those with brown spots or other signs of decay.

*Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator to increase the humidity.


Sorrel

(French, Garden) Look for sorrel with small, light green leaves that are crisp, fresh looking and free from blemishes. Some varieties will have stems that are light green or red. Avoid wilted leaves, any signs of yellowing and woody stems.

*Store in the refrigerator unwashed and wrapped. Use within a few days.


Soybean

Choose flat pods that appear crisp, fresh and green.

*Store in the refrigerator.


Spinach

Choose fresh, clean, crisp looking bunches with large deep, dark green colored leaves. Avoid wilted yellowish, or otherwise discolored leaves as well as any signs of rot or bruising. Avoid spinach with obvious signs of insect damage.

*Store in the coldest part of the refrigerator in a plastic bag. Use in 2 to 3 days.


Squash

(Summer or Soft shell such as Zucchini/Italian/yellow/crockneck). Choose glossy, fresh looking squash that are small to medium sized with tender rind. Look for those that are heavy for their size. Avoid overly spongy, shriveled squash, those with damaged areas and those with soft spots or watery areas. Handle carefully to avoid bruising.

*Store in the refrigerator. (45 - 55 degrees F) Use as soon as possible. Can be stored in a plastic bag to help prevent dehydration.


Squash

(Winter or Hard shell) Acorn/Butternut/Buttercup/Banana/Hubbard/Spaghetti/Turban.

Select hard shell (winter) squash with a hard tough rind. Look for squash that is heavy for its size Avoid bruised squash and those with soft spots as well as those that are discolored or with other signs of deterioration.

*Can be stored at room temperature.


Sugar Cane

Look for firm hard stalks that are free of deformity or signs of deterioration. *Store in a cool dry place.


Sweet potatoes

(Generally light in color with a yellowish tan. Inside is light yellow or pale orange.) Yams (coppery or brownish in color with a deep orange inside.) Choose small to medium sized tubers that taper at both ends. Choose those that are plump, firm and well shaped with smooth skin and an even color. Avoid those with bruises, growth cracks, damp areas as well as those that are discolored or shriveled and with any signs of sprouting.. Handle carefully as sweet potatoes can bruise easily which can lead to rot, discoloration and faster breakdown.

*Store in a dark humid place. Do not refrigerate. Can be kept for a week or two.

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Tamarillo

(Cyphomandra) Choose tamarillo with clear, reddish-purple skin. Avoid those with bruises or soft spots.

*Refrigerate.


Taro Root

(Dasheen) Select firm, plump, crisp taro root. Avoid those with signs of deterioration such as bruises, moisture, shrivel, mold or sprouting.. The color of taro root when cooked can range from green to purple to violet. The richness of the color directly proportional to the richness in flavor.

*Refrigerate in a plastic bag.


Tofu

(Soybean Curd) Select tofu that is firm and fresh looking with a creamy color. *Refrigerate.


Tomatillo

Look for dry clean husks that are bright green to yellow. Avoid those that are bruised or have other signs of decay.

*Refrigerate.


Tomatoes

Select tomatoes that are firm (not hard) and plump with a tight skin. Look for clean, evenly colored tomatoes without blemish. Avoid those with a dried out calyx at the stem, spongy tomatoes, those that are too soft or split. Tomatoes continue to ripen after harvest. To eat today choose full colored, evenly red, ripe looking tomatoes. A lighter red or green color indicates that the tomato needs more ripening time. For later, use a tomatoes can be ripened at home. Place them in a warm spot or in a paper bag until ready to eat. To speed the process, place a high ethylene producing fruit such as a banana in the bag with the tomato. To test for ripeness, gently squeeze the tomato in your palm. A ripe tomato will slightly to gentle pressure. A Roma tomato may be slightly firmer when ripe as they contain less juice.

*Store tomatoes at room temperature. Never refrigerate whole tomatoes. They will lose flavor, become watery inside and the seeds can become bitter. In addition, if an unripe tomato is stored in the refrigerator it may never ripen properly even if taken out to ripen.


Topepo

This is a cross between a sweet pepper and a tomato. Select those with a rich, even color and smooth firm skin. Avoid any with obvious signs of deterioration. *Refrigerate.


Truffle

When selecting truffles, keep in mind that they will naturally be less evenly shaped than many mushroom varieties. Choose those that are light in color, fresh looking and cool to the touch.

*Refrigerate but not in plastic bag. Do not wash until ready to use. Covering truffles with a damp towel can keep moisture in.


Turnips and Rutabagas

Choose roots that are small to medium sized, firm and heavy for their size. They should be rounded and smooth. Avoid those with cuts, cracks or punctures as well as overly large ones which may be woody or pithy. Bunched turnips should have fresh, crisp looking greens. Yellow wilted leaves should be avoided.

*Store turnips and rutabagas in a cool humid place. Turnips can be refrigerated. Turnip greens should be refrigerated and used right away.

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Vegetable Marrow

(Chinese squash, amrrow squash) Look for young and tender looking vegetables with glossy skin. Avoid those with bruises or pronounced blemish.

*Store in the refrigerator.


Verdolaga

(Purslane, Fatweed) Look for small green leaves with crisp, fresh looking playable stems. Avoid those with wilted or scarred leaves.

*Refrigerate.

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Wasabi root

Choose firm, plump and fresh looking wasabi without signs of shrivel or decay. Avoid dry, shriveled roots with any soft spots. Leaf sprouting is not ideal but limited sprouting is acceptable as long as the root is firm. It is natural that the roots look gnarled and warty.

*Refrigerate and use within a few days.


Water Chestnut

(Chinese Water Chestnut, Waternut) Look for fresh looking, crisp chestnuts. Avoid shriveled and dry looking chestnuts.

*Store in a non-water tight jar.


Watercress

Choose bunches that look fresh, bright and clean. Avoid those with wilted or discolored leaves.

*Store at home in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Sort out any bad sprigs in the bunch.


Winter melon

Look for clear, fresh looking rinds with finely textured meat.

*Refrigerate.

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Yucca root

(Also known as Manioc, Cassava, Casava) Look for a clean root with a creamy colored center. Yucca should be free from blemish or other signs of deterioration.

*Store n the refrigerator.

Fruits

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Apples

Buy apples that are firm, bright skinned and well-colored. Avoid those with large bruises, soft spots, shriveled skin, lightweight fruit or those that feel soft.

*Store in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Apples can turn soft and mealy when stored outside of refrigeration. Can be kept for 7 to 10 days. Apples are an ethylene producer. Avoid long term storage next to ethylene sensitive produce. (See ethylene sensitive section) Odors produced by apples can be absorbed by other produce and other products. Avoid long term storage of apples next to: cabbage, carrots, celery, figs, onions, meat, eggs and dairy products.


Apricots

Purchase apricots that look fresh and plump with good color. Avoid those with brown spots or bruises. Also avoid those that are soft and mushy, shriveled, dull in color or too green in color. Also avoid rock hard fruit.

Apricots will ripen after harvest. To select a ripe apricot look for good color and a slight softening on the ridge. To ripen at home store in a paper bag or warm area until soft on the ridge.

*Store ripe apricots in the refrigerator. Apricots are an ethylene producer. Avoid long term storage next to ethylene sensitive produce. (See ethylene sensitive section) Avoid freezing apricots, freeze damage can occur after one light freezing.


Asian Pear

Select firm, well shaped fruit that have a clear rich color. Avoid fruit with bruises and soft spots. Asian Pears can be ripened at room temperature.

*Refrigerate ripe pears.


Avocado

Choose a solid avocado with a full neck. For ripe fruit, choose an avocado which will give to gentle pressure in your palm. Haas variety has a bumpy skin and will turn nearly black when ripe and ready to eat. Green varieties when ripe will have a dull looking skin that has a velvety feel. Avoid any that are hard or glistening in appearance. Avoid dark spots, sunken and soft spots. Avoid cracked broken skin. Smooth green varieties should not turn black.

To ripen at home, put the avocado in a paper bag or warm place in the kitchen. Check daily for ripeness. When ripe, an avocado will yield to gently pressure when gently squeezed in the palm of your hand.

*When ripe they can be put in the refrigerator. (45 - 55 degrees F) Unripe avocados should not be placed in the refrigerator. Ripe avocados should not be placed on the rack as it will put marks on the fruit. Avocados are an ethylene producer. Avoid long term storage next to ethylene sensitive produce. (See ethylene sensitive section) Odors produced by avocados can be absorbed by pineapples. Avoid long term storage next to pineapples. Avocados are susceptible to chilling and freeze damage

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Bananas

Look for plump well filled fruit with a bright color and fresh stem area. Avoid cuts, splits or multiple bruises and mushy areas. Also avoid fruit that is dried out at the stem. Fruit that has a dull gray or smoky color has most likely been stored in cold temperature and may not ripen properly. Plantains. look for deep green fruit.

Bananas ripen after harvest. A banana that is mostly yellow with a green tip will ripen at home in about 2 to 3 days. You can ripen a banana in a paper bag or leave at room temperature.

*It is best not store bananas in the refrigerator. Bananas stored in the refrigerator will discontinue the ripening process at the stage in which they were in when placed in the refrigerator. They will still be edible but the after refrigeration but the skin will turn black. Bananas are susceptible to chill injury and freeze damage. Bananas are an ethylene producer. Avoid long term storage next to ethylene sensitive produce. (See ethylene sensitive section)


Blackberries

Chose berries that are plump, fresh looking with good shape and color. Avoid those that are starting to soften, look shriveled as well as containers that are stained with juice or have berries that are moldy.

*Berries do not get any sweeter after harvest. Store them in the refrigerator and use within 1 to 2 days. Can be stored in their original container. Do not wash them until you are ready to use them


Blueberries

Look for plump berries with a fresh appearance and good color and a silvery bloom. Berries with a reddish tint at the stem end may not be fully ripe. Berries do not ripen after harvest Avoid shriveled or decayed berries and those containers that are wet with juice. Blueberries which have been exposed to higher than recommended temperature will become rough textured.

*Store in the refrigerator in the original container. Do not wash them until you are ready to use them. Use in 1 to 2 days for best results. Blueberries are susceptible to freeze damage.


Breadfruit

Choose smooth yellow fruit that is free of bruises and soft spots. Breadfruit will change color from greenish brown to mostly yellow.

*Store at room temperature.

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Cantaloupe

Choose a cantaloupe that is completely covered with a light colored, course netting. For a ripe melon look for a yellowish color under the netting. Look for a slight give especially at the blossom end. Select those without any signs of the vine on the stem end. There should be a clean indention. Ripe cantaloupes will emit a pleasant cantaloupe aroma. Avoid those with part of the stem attached. Also avoid cantaloupe with large areas without netting. Avoid those that are too soft and any with obvious external defects, such as soft spots, bruising and cracks. Avoid any with a sloshy sound when shaken, those that are too yellow and those with a wet stem end.

*Refrigerate ripe and or cut melons (45 -55 degrees). Melons are freeze sensitive.

Age at room temperature for a few days if desired then refrigerate


Carambola (Star Fruit)

Choose ripe Carambola that is bright yellow with shiny skin and a good shape. Carambola should be elliptical or oval in shape with five ridges which give the fruit its stare shape when cut. Ripe Carambola will be full yellow in color without any green. Brown on the edges is normal.

*Unripe Carambola can be ripened at room temperature. Refrigerate fully ripe fruit . Carambola is susceptible to chilling and freeze damage when stored below 40 degrees. Do not cut until ready to use.


Casaba

Choose one with a golden yellow color that has a slight give at the blossom end. Should be heavy. Avoid soft or watery spots, shriveled skin, cracks and any rot.

*Age at room temperature for a few days if desired then refrigerate. (45-55 degrees)

Always refrigerate cut melon.


Cherimoyas

Choose plump, uniformly green fruit that is slightly soft. Avoid brown, bruised, mushy fruit. Can be ripened at room temperature until they begin to turn brown. Do not let them get too brown. Ripe Cherimoyas can be refrigerated for a day or two but should be used promptly.

*Store in the refrigerator. Do not wash until you are ready to use them. Can be stored n refrigerator for 5 to 7 days or frozen for a month or two.


Cherries

Choose plump, firm, shiny, well colored fruit with green fresh stems. Cherries do not ripen after harvest so select full colored fruit. Avoid cherries that are bruised, soft, shriveled, or mushy. Also avoid those with splits or cracks and those with stems that are dried and shriveled.

*Store in the refrigerator and use in 1 to 3 days.

Do not wash until ready to use. Can be stored loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Use promptly. Take care not to store for long periods next to produce with strong odors as cherries may pick up odors form these products.


Coconuts

Shake the coconut and choose one in which you can hear juice or milk sloshing around. Choose solid, coconuts which are heavy for their size. Avoid those with no sloshing as well as light weight coconuts with any holes, moisture, cracks or mold. A coconuts "eyes" should not be damp or have any signs of mold.

*Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.


Crab Apple

Choose firm unblemished Crab apples that are bright green, orange or red.

*Store in the refrigerator.


Cranberries

Chose those that are bright and plump, firm and dry. Also look for good color and uniform size. Avoid those that are shriveled, crushed, soft or bruised.

*Refrigerate cranberries.


Crenshaw

Choose a Crenshaw with little or no green except in September. Select one with a fragrant stem cut. Should be heavy. Avoid soft or watery spots, shriveled skin, cracks and any rot.

*Age at room temperature for a few days if desired then refrigerate. (45- 55 degrees)

Always refrigerate cut melon.

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Dates

Choose dates that are plump, soft, golden brown with smooth skin that has a glossy appearance. Avoid those that are shriveled or dull looking also avoid mold and stickiness and well as any fermented odor.

*Refrigerate wrapped or in a sealed container to prevent them from absorbing odors. Dates are susceptible to freeze damage.

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Feijoas

Choose oval fruit with deep green or green yellow skin that is relatively blemish free.

*Store in the refrigerator and use promptly.


Figs

Look for figs that are fairly soft and have a rich color and a fresh smell. Avoid those that are bruised, shriveled, mushy or have any signs of rot. Also avoid those with a sour or fermented odor. Figs should not seem wet or have juice seeping from them. Avoid figs that are too hard.

*Keep at room temperature to soften or Refrigerate covered and consume in 1 to 3 days.

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Ginger root

Choose large fat "hands" with smooth skin and a slight sheen. look for a fresh smell. Avoid shriveled root and those with rot or mold. Also avoid numerous knobs and a musty odor.

*Store loosely wrapped in the refrigerator. Can be frozen.

Grapefruit

Choose plump, firm grapefruit that is heavy for its size with firm skin. Most scaring on the skin does not affect the inside but avoid any with soft, discolored areas. Avoid fruit that is puffy and soft, lightweight or browning. Also avoid grapefruit with a pointed end, a soft peel or water soaked areas. Avoid any with mold on the skin. Grapefruit does not get any riper once it has been picked.

*Can be stored at room temperature or refrigerated. (45- 55 degrees F) Avoid storage below 40 degrees.


Grapes

Choose grapes that are well colored, fresh and bright with green pliable stems. Look for plump well developed "berries" that are firmly attached to the stem. Look for deep color for black and red varieties and a yellowish color on green varieties. Avoid brown shriveled stems, soft, squashed berries and stems with too many loose berries. Also avoid grapes that show signs of leaking juice. A slight powdery appearance on the fruit is normal, this is a natural occurrence that is called bloom.

*Refrigerate grapes in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Do not rinse until ready to use. Grapes do not get any sweeter or ripen after harvest so consume promptly. Grapes will absorb odors from leeks and green onions. Avoid storage next to these items.

Guava

For eating out of hand, choose a fresh looking guava that yields to gentle pressure. For cooking, choose a firm guava.

*Guavas may be ripened at room temperature and may have green or yellow skin with white, deep pink or red flesh.

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Honeydew

Choose one with a creamy white or creamy yellow color. Also choose one that has a slight give when pressed. A ripe honey dew will have a dusty velvety feel when you run your hand over the skin. Avoid those that are too white, too green or too hard. Also avoid those that are completely smooth with out the dusty, velvety feel. Should be heavy. Avoid soft or watery spots, shriveled skin, cracks and any rot.

Honeydew melons will continue to ripen after harvest especially, when stored near or with a high ethylene producing fruit like cantaloupe or bananas.

*Age at room temperature for a few days if desired then refrigerate. (42- 48 degrees F) Always refrigerate cut melon.

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Kiwifruit

(Chinese Gooseberry) Choose firm , light brown Kiwi that are plump and fresh looking. To choose a ripe kiwi look for one that will give to gently palm pressure. Avoid rock hard or mushy fruit and bruised fruit. Avoid shriveled kiwifruit. Kiwi will ripen at home. Store in a paper bag at room temperature and check daily for a gentle give.

*Refrigerate ripe kiwi in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Kiwifruit is an ethylene producer. Avoid long term storage next to ethylene sensitive produce. (See ethylene sensitive section)

Kumquats

Choose kumquats that are firm, fresh looking with bright shiny color. Kumquats should appear glossy and relatively unblemished. Any leaves should be fresh and green. Avoid mold rot and dry leaves.

*Refrigerate loosely wrapped. Use in 2 to 4 days.

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Lady Apple

Choose those that are blemish free and light in color. Ripe fruit will be about the size of an apricot with a characteristic crisp texture.

*Can be stored in a cool place or in the refrigerator.


Lemons

Choose fine textured and thin skinned lemons that are heavy for their size with good, deep color. Avoid lemons that are shriveled, hard skinned or soft and spongy and any with mold. The stem end is where signs of aging or decay will show up first.

Lemons will absorb odors.

*Refrigerate lemons (45 -55 degrees).


Limes

Choose plump, fresh, glossy-looking limes that are heavy for their size and have a bright, thin skin. Avoid shriveled, soft limes and those with dry, woody skins. Also avoid mold and bruises. Keep limes away from sunlight as this will cause yellowing and faster deterioration. May absorb odors.

*Refrigerate for 5 to 7 days. (45 - 55 degrees)

Loquat

A ripe loquat yields to gentle pressure. Choose a fresh looking loquat with thin, downy skin that is pale or orange. Avoid obvious blemishes.

*Refrigerate ripe loquats.

Lychee

Select firm, brown, fresh looking lychee. Avoid fruit with any sign of decay or with a pronounced blemish near the stem.

*Best kept under refrigeration.

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Mangoes

Choose plump, smooth skinned mangoes that are fresh looking with the desired color and a fresh smell. The skin of a mango may be green, yellow, red or a combination of all three colors. Ripe mangoes will have a soft give to gentle pressure but aroma can be a good indication too. Most varieties of mangos will change colors as they ripen. For most varieties a mostly yellow or red color is a good indication of ripeness. However some varieties can be ripe while still green Avoid mangoes that are very green, rock hard as well as overly soft, shriveled and those with large black spots and bruises. Small dark speckles are not a problem if the fruit is otherwise in good condition. Mangoes will ripen after harvest. Test for ripeness by placing the mango in the palm of your hand and gently squeeze. It is ripe when it has a slight give and a pleasant aroma.

*Ripen mangoes at room temperature. (70 to 75 degrees F) They can be placed in a paper bag to hasten ripening. Refrigerate ripe mangoes to slow further ripening but use promptly.

Mangoes are an ethylene producer. Avoid long term storage next to ethylene sensitive produce. (See ethylene sensitive section)

Mangosteen

Select mangosteen with a rich, reddish brown rind that is free from bruises obvious blemishes or pitting. A ripe fresh fruit is plump and yields to gentle pressure.

*A mangosteen can be ripened a room temperature and then refrigerated.

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Nectarines

Choose firm, plump, well-formed nectarines with smooth, unblemished skin. Look for good, bright color without a green background or any green at the stem end. A ripe nectarine will give slightly along the seam and will have a pleasant peachy fragrance. Avoid nectarines that are hard, shriveled and those that have a dull color. Also avoid overly soft nectarines and those with bruises, blemishes and or dark spots.

*Nectarines will ripen after harvest. Store in a warm place or in a paper bag. A ripe nectarine will give to gently pressure along the seam. Check for ripeness daily. Store ripe nectarines in the refrigerator. Consume in 3 to 5 days.

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Oranges

(Blood orange. Mandarin. Navel. Tangelo. Tangerine. Temple Orange. Mineola Tangelos. Clementine. Valencia.)

Color alone is not a necessarily an indication of a good orange as some oranges remain green after harvest. Choose oranges that are firm and heavy for their size. Look for plump fruit with bright color and smooth tight skin. Tangerines will have skin that is a little loose. Avoid loose skin in all varieties except Tangerines.

Avoid oranges that are dull, shriveled, soft, spongy or bruised. Avoid light weight fruit with soft spots and mold or any other signs of decay.

Seville Oranges. Choose plump, firm, heavy fruit for it size. Avoid softness, bruises, shriveling and mold.

*Oranges may be stored in the refrigerator for a week or more. California oranges store best between 45-55 degrees while Florida oranges prefer colder temperatures 33 to 40 degrees. Some citrus will produce odors that will be absorbed by meat, eggs and dairy products. Take care not to store specialty citrus next to these items for long periods of time.

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Papaya

Look for smooth skinned papaya with some yellow and green color. Papaya will color as it ripens. A ripe papaya is at least 3/4 yellow or yellow orange and will yield to gently pressure. Choose a papaya that is medium sized, well shaped with smooth unbruised and unbroken skin. Avoid soft spots, bruises and dark brown or black spots. Also avoid shriveled and overly soft papaya, or fruit that is hard and full green. Papaya will ripen after harvest. Leave at room temperature until it gives to gentle pressure and has a pleasant papaya aroma. A paper bag can shorten ripening time. Check daily.

*Refrigerate ripe papaya. Use promptly

Passion fruit

Ripe Passion fruit or Granadilla will have a tough, deep purple skin that is wrinkled in appearance. It is similar to an egg in size and shape.

*Keep in the refrigerator.

Pawpaw

Select firm, creamy yellow fruit. Avoid pawpaw that bears any indication of deformity or deterioration.

*Store pawpaw at room temperature until ripe and then refrigerate.


Peaches

Choose a fresh peach that is firm and bright but will give to gentle pressure. Look for a yellowish or creamy background color with little or no green. A ripe peach will give to gentle pressure in your palm and have a pleasant aroma. Avoid shriveled peaches and those with bruises. Also avoid those that are very hard or look too green and those that are too soft or have dark spots.

Peaches will ripen and get softer and juicer after harvest. To ripen store in a warm area or in a paper bag outside of the refrigerator. Check daily for a slight softening when gently squeezed in the palm.

*Store ripe peaches in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Peaches are susceptible to freezing damage. Consume in 2 to 4 days.


Pears, Anjou/Bosc/Comice/Seckel/Red Pears

Pears are on of the few fruits that do not ripen successfully on the tree. They are harvested by hand when they reach full maturity but before they are ripe. Pears will ripen after they harvested. Choose a pear that is bright and fresh looking with no bruises or external damage. Pears other than Bartletts do not dramatically change color as they ripen. Test for ripeness by pressing gently near the stem, if it gives to gentle pressure it is sweet juicy and ready to eat. Because pears ripen from the inside out, ripe fruit will give gently to gentle pressure near the stem. Waiting until pears are soft around the middle may indicate over ripeness. Store unripe pears in a warm place outside of the refrigerator in a fruit bowl or in a paper bag. Check daily for ripeness.

*Store ripe pears in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Pears are an ethylene producer. Avoid long term storage next to ethylene sensitive produce. (See ethylene sensitive section) Pears produce odors which may be absorbed by cabbage, carrots, celery, onions and potatoes. Pears may also absorb odors produced by onions and potatoes. Take care not to store pears next to these items.


Pears, Bartlett

Pears are one of the few fruits that do not ripen successfully on the tree. They are harvested by hand when they reach full maturity but before they are ripe. Pears will ripen after they are harvested. Choose a Bartlett that is bright and fresh looking with no bruises or external damage. A Bartlett will change color as it ripens.

*Store unripe pears in a warm place outside of the refrigerator in a fruit bowl or in a paper bag. Check daily for ripeness. Store ripe pears in the coldest part of the refrigerator.

Persian melons

Choose one with full light colored netting and a fragrant stem cut. A slight give is a good sign. Avoid those with a green or dark netting and those with obvious bruises, soft and or watery spots and cracks. Avoid those with a sloshy sound when shaken and any with a wet stem end. Refrigerate ripe melons. (45 - 55 degrees)

*Age at room temperature for a few days if desired then refrigerate. Always refrigerate cut melon.

Persimmons

Choose a persimmon that is smooth and plump with bright glossy skin and the stem cap attached. For immediate consumption avoid hard fruit and choose one that is a bit soft and even a bit shriveled. Avoid any decayed , bruised or overly hard ones. A persimmon will ripen after harvest.

*To ripen at home store at room temperature or in a paper bag and check daily for softness.


Pineapple

Choose Pineapples that are fresh looking with green fresh leaves. Look for a pineapple with good size that is plump and has smooth, flat "eyes". Look for fruit that is heavy for its size. Color is not a fail-safe indicator of ripeness nor is pulling out a leaf. Avoid pineapples with bruises, soft spots and dry looking leaves, mold and dark, watery eyes. Smelling the end of a pineapple can be an indication of a fruit that is fermenting. Avoid those with an unpleasant smell. Pineapple will not ripen or gain sugar after it is harvested. However it will begin to ferment and the flavor will change which some people mistake for ripening. Eat as soon as possible and handle carefully as pineapples bruise easily.

*Can be stored in the warmer part of the refrigerator (45 - 50 degrees F). Pineapples can pick up odors produced by avocados and green peppers. Take care not to store pineapples close to these items for long periods of time. Cut pineapple should always be refrigerated.

Plantain

Plantains may be purchased at varying levels of ripeness. They may be green to yellow black in color. Plantains become sweeter as they ripen. Select a clean plantain that is free from signs of deterioration.

*Store at room temperature.

Plumcot

A plumcot is a cross between a plum and apricot. When fully ripe this fruit will be plump and possess a rich, deep purple skin. Select those without blemishes.

*Store at room temperature until ripe then refrigerate.


Plums & fresh prunes

Choose a good colored fruit that is plump and fairly firm to slightly soft. Avoid fruit with bruises cracks, splits and soft spots. Also avoid shriveled fruit that is overly soft or that is too hard. Plums will ripen after harvest. A ripe plum will yield to gently pressure.

*Store unripe plums at room temperature or in a paper bag. Check daily for softness. Store ripe plums in the coldest part of the refrigerator.

Consume in 3 to 5 days Plums are an ethylene producer. Avoid long term storage next to ethylene sensitive produce. (See ethylene sensitive section)

Pomegranates

Choose fruit that is large and heavy for its size with good color and free of cracks or splits. Large fruit will have fully developed juicy seeds. The skin can range in color from bright yellow to deep red. Avoid dry, shriveled and tired looking fruit.

*Store in the refrigerator.


Prickly Pear

(Also known as Barberry fig, Indian fig, Cactus pear and tuna.) Select fruit with a bright red skin. The inside flesh will be yellow. The fruit should feel firm but not rock hard.

*Ripe fruit should be refrigerated.

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Quince

Select quince that are large and firm with pale yellow skin that is smooth with a woolly texture. Avoid fruit with bruises or cuts.

*May be stored in a cool dry place or in the refrigerator.

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Raspberries

Choose berries that are plump, fresh looking with good shape and rich full color. Purchase those that are dry and are free from bruises or mold Avoid those that are starting to soften, look shriveled as well as containers that are stained with juice or contain berries that are moldy.

*Keep refrigerated and use promptly. Berries are susceptible to freeze damage.

Berries do not get any sweeter after harvest. Store them in the refrigerator and use within 1 to 2 days. Can be stored in their original container. Do not wash them until you are ready to use them.

Rhubarb

Select fresh looking, firm rhubarb with medium thick, straight stalks. Choose bright, glossy stems that are crisp and pinkish-red in color. Avoid stalks that look wilted, flabby or rubbery.

*Store in the refrigerator.

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Santa Clause melon

Choose a Santa Clause melon with a green and gold color but not too green. Select a heavy melon with a slight give. Stem cut may be moderately fragrant. Avoid soft or watery spots, shriveled skin, cracks and any rot.

*Age at room temperature for a few days if desired then refrigerate. (45 - 55degrees)

Always refrigerate cut melon.

Star Apple

Select clean fruit with a smooth surface and a dull purple or light green color. Avoid those with bruises or deformed fruit.

*Refrigerate.


Strawberries

Look for bright red, plump, well shaped and full colored berries with a natural sheen and a fresh green cap. Strawberries do not get any riper or sweeter after harvest so the more color the better. Those that are full red all the way up to the stem cap will be the sweetest. Avoid shriveled dried out looking berries with a dry brown cap. Also avoid soft berries with brown spots or too many bruises. Also avoid immature berries that are green or berries with too much white color. Avoid cartons that appear stained or moist as this may indicate damage inside.

*Remove strawberries from their container and store in the coldest part of the refrigerator loosely covered with plastic wrap. Use in 1 to 3 days. Do not wash until ready to use. When washing just before use wash with caps on. Allowing berries to reach room temperature can improve flavor.

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Tamarind

Select a cinnamon-brown seed pod that is fresh, tender and 3 to 8 inches long. The pod should be flat and free from bruises or deformities.

*Refrigerate.

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Uglifruit

Choose fresh looking uglifruit with good color and heavy for its size and free from bruises. Avoid browning and softness. The skin typically has a rough, mottled peel with light green blemishes that turn orange when the fruit is fully ripe.

*Store at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

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Watermelon

Look for watermelon with relatively smooth skin with a velvety bloom on the rind. Look for a yellow or light colored spot where it rested on the ground while growing (ground spot). The ends of the watermelon should be well rounded and full. Avoid shiny fruit with a white or greenish ground spot. Also avoid those with cuts, scars or bruises. Also avoid a melon with a white streak running the length of the melon. Watermelons do not ripen after they are picked.

*Store at room temperature and use promptly.

If you are buying cut melon look for firm flesh with good color and black or dark brown seeds. Avoid a watery melon. If it is a seeded melon, avoid those with white immature seeds, those with a sugary look around the seeds, and those with seeds that beginning to separate from the flesh. Cut watermelon should be covered with a plastic wrap and refrigerated. Use promptly.