Become a Pro at Buying Produce

14, February 2019 02:58 PM

We all know how important fruits and vegetables are for our health. They provide important nutrients that keep us feeling good and energized throughout the day. The updated Canadian Food Guide (available here) states that eating a more plant-based diet can lower risks of cardiovascular disease and increase overall health.

As much as we may want to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, sometimes shopping for them can be daunting. How do you know what to pick? There’s nothing worse than bringing home an avocado, opening it up, and discovering that it’s brown inside.


A perfectly ripe avocado is often hard to find. The skin should be a very dark green colour and the avocado should feel slightly soft when squeezed (lightly, of course).

If the store you’re at only has underripe avocados (light green and hard when squeezed) place the avocado in a paper bag with a ripe banana, the avocado will be perfectly ripe and ready to eat the next day.  

Perfect avocado


Underripe apples are not something you generally have to worry about, but when apples are overripe they become soft and less crisp. Apples that are a little overripe are perfect for baking! The softness of the fruit works great in apple pies or sauce.

To find out how ripe your apple is, place it in the palm of your hand and look at the bottom of the apple. Squeeze lightly and check for ripples or wrinkles in the skin. If there aren’t any wrinkles, it’s perfect for eating. If there are, it’s great for a pie.  

Group of apples

Ataulfo mangoes

Ataulfo mangoes are sweet and delicious. The skin should be a bright yellow colour with a few brown spots (brown spots mean it is ripening). If you see any wrinkles in the skin, it means it’s ripe and ready to eat.

If there is a lot of wrinkles, or the fruit appears to be 
shrivelling, it means it’s starting to over ripen. Although, these mangoes will still taste good!

Sliced mangoes



Kale should be ridged and not limp. Shake the leaves lightly and see if they hold their shape.

Before you use kale, crisp it up by soaking it in lukewarm water for 3-4 minutes and then place it in ice water for 1-2 minutes. Take it out of the water and leave it to dry at room temperature. You’ll have perfectly crisp and delicious kale for any salad or meal!

Leafy crisp kale



Pineapple should be a mixture of yellow and brown, a green pineapple is not yet ripe. The leaves on top of the pineapple should be very easy to pluck and the fruit should be fragrant.

Chunks of ripe pineapple



The garlic bulb should be plump and compact with no broken skin or dark spots. If the garlic is heavy for its size, it will be fresh and flavourful. Make sure your garlic isn’t sprouting, as that can make it bitter.

Cloves of garlic



Tap the fruit and listen for its sound. It should have a deep hollow sound. The perfect watermelon should feel quite heavy for its size. They should also be dark green in colour and have a yellow spot on one side that indicates where the fruit was resting on the ground.

Sliced watermelon



Asparagus stalks should stand up straight with no sign of wilting or limping. The tips should be hard and they should have a slight fragrance.

For all fruits and vegetables, the exterior should be checked for spots, cuts, or bruises on the skin.









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