5 Things Everyone Needs to Stop Doing in the Produce Section

published Jun 6, 2018
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(Image credit: Abby McCartin)

I’m not sure I’ve ever been screamed at in public the way I was in a small grocery store on the outskirts of Berlin. I had no idea what the woman was saying, but it came out of her mouth in one angry unbroken paragraph — and the fact that she was yelling in German just made her sound more mad.

There was nothing I could do except stand there dumbly holding a mango and waiting for her to finish. Apparently the mango was the problem: I later learned that some German shop owners take serious offense to anyone who helps themselves to the fruits and veggies instead of waiting for them to pick it up for you.

Assaulting the fruit in a misguided attempt to find the ripe one is number one on our list of things you need to stop doing in the produce section — yes, even in the States. Put down that apple — gently! — and check out my full rant-y list.

1. Manhandling the produce.

If you’re gently pressing the sides of the mangos in your local supermarket, you probably won’t be on the receiving end of that kind of unintelligible abuse, but the key word in that sentence is gently. If you leave your thumbprints on kiwis, dent the peaches, or squeeze avocados until you could drink them through a straw, you’re doing it wrong.

For a lot of fruits, the color of their flesh or their smell can be a better sign of their ripeness than pressing or thumping them. And if you’re unsure of the best way to pick a winner, don’t be afraid to move out of the other shoppers’ way and Google it. (Seriously.)

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

2. Popping the stems off the avocados.

We know you’re convinced you need to do this in order to tell if your potential fruit is ripe, but stop it. Ror real. It interrupts the ripening process and is undoubtedly annoying to the produce department staff. If you’re worried that your avocados are underripe, you can take them home and put them in a paper bag with a banana or try a new recipe that might be better suited to a firmer fruit.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

3. Opening all the corn.

Also, you don’t need to yank the husk back on the ears of corn. The husk itself can tell you everything you need to know about what’s inside. If it’s green and moist, like the bottom half of the corn emoji, you’re good to go. If the husks feel dry or brittle or have a strange smell, leave them there.

4. Bagging up every little thing.

You do not need a plastic bag for one item. And if you have ever put your bananas in a plastic bag, just sit back and take a minute to think about what you’re doing with your life.

(Image credit: Cambria Bold)

5. Reading pricing signs incorrectly.

I will admit that I’ve messed this up on more than one occasion, most recently when I saw a “Cherries $3.99” sign at Whole Foods. My brain didn’t realize that it meant $3.99 per pound, and I was also totally unaware that a bag filled with of cherries is heavy AF. (But who among us hasn’t accidentally bought $20 worth of fruit? Anyone? Just me? Greaaaat.) Check prices carefully before you get to the register.

More of Kitchn’s Silly-but-Necessary Rants

Do you have anything to add? Anything you see people doing in the produce section that just burns you up? Anything you used to do? Discuss in the comments below!