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Picking "Ripe" fruit

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Picking "Ripe" fruit

Brandon Nelson | May 1, 2001 05:03 PM

Good day hounds

I saw a question on an older post that would make for good discussion on it's own. Picking ripe fruit. The question dealt with cantaloupe. Rachel had picked a melon that smelled tasty and tasted bad. Thats not uncommon, especially this time of year. The melon probably came from Mexico. Cantaloupe isn't in season in the states unitl the late spring to early summer.

First a few words on ripe fruit. As soon as fruit is harvested it stops developing sugar. The lone exception to that rule is the banana. We don't get tree ripened bananas here in the states. Harvested fruit won't get sweeter, but it will get softer. Fruit tends to develope the bulk of it's sugar during it's final days on the tree/vine/bush etc. This will happen after the fruit reaches it's mature size. Most often fruit is harvested when it reaches mature size, regardless of sugar content. This is why we so frequently find hard green fruit at the supermarket. Farming is a tough business and the faster a grower has his fruit on the truck the safer he is. The longer fruit is in the field the more opportunity for disaster.

Aside from you taste, your sense of smell is often the best indicator of the readiness of fruit. Use your nose! Don't be shy about asking to taste a piece of fruit though. Most places encourage their employees to allow customers to sample product. The scent of ripe mature fruit should make you mouth water. Pears should smell floral, melons musky, berries should have a perfume that makes you want to eat them here and now!

Since the question I found was specifically about cantaloupe I will further adress it. Both the webbing and background of a cantaloupe should be beige or tan. It should feel heavy for it's size. When ready to eat the stem end should give slightly and not be rock hard. If there is a place where iced cut melons are on display check it out, even if you prefer a whole one. Those cuts came from the same batch of melons you are searching through. There should be only a tiny ring of green around the rind. The flesh should be a deep orange and not pale. Remember to smell cut melons too.

Chow!!!

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