By May 28, 2013 Read More →

The Art of Picking Food


Written by: Marsha Jones  †  Photograph by: Marsha Jones

Have you ever bought fruits and vegetables and found they’re overripe, not ripe enough, tasteless or ruined? You’re not alone. There is a technique to picking out food and most are not just old wives tales from the past.

How to tell if a melon is ripe?

Melons are mostly water content. When you thump on the melon and it sounds hollow or has a thud sound, then it’s ripe. Also smell the stem end of the melon. It should smell like the inside of the melon. You can also shake it to listen for the seeds rolling around inside. The outside of the melon should be smooth.

How to tell if a watermelon is ripe?

Turn the watermelon over to look at the belly area. This is where the watermelon sat on the ground and this area should be yellow. The longer it remained on the vine and sat on the ground, the riper it becomes.

How to tell if a pumpkin is ripe?

Just like a watermelon, when thumping the pumpkin it should sound hollow. The outside should be firm. If it gives when you touch it, then it may be overripe. Check the stem, if it has died and turned brown or dark, it is a good indicator that it is ripe.

How to pick out a cantaloupe?

A ripe cantaloupe should not be too soft and should be golden or orange tinted. If it is green anywhere on the outside, then it is probably green on the inside and not very ripe. Smell the end of the cantaloupe where the stem was attached. It should give off a sweet,  musky smell. However, a cantaloupe will continue to ripen off the vine. If you pick out one that is green, sit it on your counter for a few days and it will ripen.

How tell if a pineapple is ripe?

Usually you can tell by the smell. It should smell sweet if it’s ripe. An unripe pineapple will not have a smell and an overripe one will smell similar to vinegar. The leaves should be green.

How tell if strawberries are ripe?

You can usually tell by the color and smell. It should be red and smell sweet. If it has the slightest smell of anything other than a sweet fragrance, it isn’t ripe or may be overripe and not last overnight. You can also tell by feeling it. If it has a mushy feel, then it is overripe.

How to tell if corn is ripe?

A good ripe ear of corn should have a moist, green unblemished husk. When you pull back the husk, the silk strands should be moist and cling to the corn kernels. If it has a sour or strange smell at the top of the corn husk, then it may be ruined or have insects underneath the husk.

Check for a grower’s sticker on the fruit or vegetable. Depending on how it tastes, you may want to buy another one or avoid it altogether. Check out local growers in your area for fruits and vegetables. This helps the community, keeps the local growers in business and offers the freshest food.  It also helps to know who is growing your food.

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Posted in: Food, Marsha Jones

14 Comments on "The Art of Picking Food"

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  1. Anna N. says:

    Great tips! Thanks!

  2. Kim says:

    thanx for all the great tips

  3. Connie K. says:

    Printing this out!

  4. Valerie says:

    Just what my momma taught me!

  5. Tommy says:


  6. Barbie L. says:

    I thought I was the only one who smelled my fruit…hahaha

  7. Carol K. says:

    Great. Thanks!

  8. Tiffany S. says:

    Thanks for all the great tips!

  9. Jane says:

    This is great! Thanks!

  10. Olivia W. says:

    I always wondered the trick to picking out those pesky melons! Now I know! haha Can’t waint for a trip to the farmers market

  11. Andy K. says:

    This is just what my Mother and Grandmother always taught me!

  12. Wendy H. says:

    This is great! Thanks!

  13. Silvia says:


  14. Rita L. says:

    I’m printing this out to take with me to the store!