April 18, 2019
Grocery shopping can be intimidating – let’s be honest. The ever-changing availability of products and new trends and fads and nutrition research make buying the ‘best’ food challenging. I’ve put together some tips and tricks to give you a bit more confidence when venturing through the produce aisles.
Some of this information may seem basic for a lot of you, but when I tried to put myself in the shoes of people new to nutrition or trying to venture out of their comfort zone I realized this information is crucial.
Beginner’s Guide To Buying Common ‘Exotic’ Fruit
The first time I bought an avocado was probably 8 years ago and I had NO idea what I was doing. I bought one that was green and firm because I assumed colour and firmness meant the same thing for all produce. Was I ever wrong! Avocados are also one of the most difficult to buy as their window of excellence is very short. Here are some tips on buying and storing avocados.
Look – You should be looking for dark avocados, if they are still quite green they aren’t ripe enough to eat. If the little nub (the piece where the branch was attached) is still in place, try to pop it out with your finger, if it comes out easily and the colour under it is green, you’re good to go.
Feel – Ripe avocados should be a bit spongy feeling. Too firm means it isn’t ready, too soft means it could be very brown inside and it’s past it’s prime (could be ok for guacamole though)
Storage – If you buy avocados that are ripe enough to eat right from the store, keep them in the fridge, this will keep them much longer. If you put these on the counter they will ripen quickly and will soon be too ripe. If you are buying avocados that are a bit firm, keep them on the counter overnight or for a day and then move them to the fridge. Personally, I buy bags of avocados at Costco which are usually quite firm and a bit green and leave them on the counter for about 2 days then keep them in the fridge and they last weeks.
Avocados brown very easily and quickly once exposed to air. The best ways to prevent this are to keep the seed in the avocado or put a little bit of extra virgin olive oil or lemon juice on the exposed area.
These prickly, crown-wearing fruits are a bit tricky as their outer skin is very firm and doesn’t really represent what you find on the inside. The best way to pick pineapple is to gently pull on the innermost leaves. If the leaf comes out easily, it’s ready to eat. When buying pre-cut pineapple, it’s best to look for more yellow coloured fruit, if it is still white it needs to continue ripening and will be tougher to eat.
Full disclosure, I just purchased my first mango last week (crazy right??). I’ve always liked them in things but didn’t really know what to do with them. Mangoes are similar to avocados with their thick outer skin and in the way we tell if they are ripe and store them. Give it a gentle squeeze, if it’s got a bit of softness to it, it’s ready. Similar to avocado, if it’s firm it still needs time to ripen, and once it’s ripe put them in the fridge to keep longer.
Bananas – Most people know how to buy bananas as they are very common, but did you know you can slow the ripening process? Wrap the stem part of the banana bundle with saran wrap or some other plastic and secure it with an elastic band. This helps keep your bananas from turning brown quicker than you can eat them.
I hope you find these tips helpful in making grocery shopping more fun and you venture out and try some new fruit!