Whether we're piling fresh fruit on top of yogurt, blending it into smoothies, or just snacking on it out of hand, having plenty to reach for in the kitchen is always a good idea. And it's not like it's all that hard to shop for apples.
Of course, there are some things we should all know and do. Here are the biggest mistakes we make when buying, storing, and prepping fresh fruit.
5 Mistakes to Avoid with Store-Bought Fruit
1. Always buying unripe fruit.
You might think it makes sense to buy all your fruit underripe, so that it ripens perfectly in your own kitchen and is ready when you want to eat it, but the truth is that not all fruit continues to ripen once picked. Fruits that produce a natural gas called ethylene (like bananas and peaches) will ripen, but fruits that don't (like strawberries and pineapple) will not.
Follow this tip: Berries, grapes, pineapple, and cherries don't continue to ripen once picked, so only buy them ripe and ready to eat.
2. Skipping the fruit with blemishes.
Ugly fruit doesn't necessarily mean bad fruit! If you're picking around the fruit that's misshapen or has a few spots, you might be missing out on perfectly good stuff.
Follow this tip: Bruised and rotten is one thing, but a few blemishes are another. Don't be afraid to buy the ugly fruit — sometimes it can even be discounted because grocery stores might not think you want it.
3. Arranging all your fruit together in a bowl on the counter.
There's something about a fruit bowl in a kitchen that seems so warm and inviting, but piling all your fruit together is actually not the best idea. Those fruits that produce ethylene gas can cause other fruits to over-ripen and spoil faster.
Follow this tip: Ditch the fruit bowl. (If you want something for your table or counter, consider a vase of flowers or a plant.) And be sure to consult this handy guide on where to store your produce.
4. Storing washed fruit.
You might think washing your fruit before you store it is just a smart way to get ahead of things, but it can actually cause the fruit to spoil faster. The excess moisture on washed fruit can encourage bacteria growth and decay — this is especially true with delicate berries.
Follow this tip: Wait until you're ready to enjoy your fruit to wash it.
5. Thinking you don't need to wash everything.
You're not going to eat the rind of that watermelon, so why bother lifting the heavy thing into the sink to wash it, right? Even if you're peeling or cutting away the outside of the fruit, you should wash the whole thing. When the knife cuts through the outside, it can drag any bacteria present on the skin into the flesh and dirty it.
Follow this tip: Wash all fruit before cutting it, regardless of if you're eating the outside peel or ride or not.