The fruit you buy should be firm, well ripened, and without bruises or defects. Smaller sizes of fruit, while less expensive, are of equal food value.
When buying fruit, always be sure that it is ripe, but not overripe. Unripened fruit should be kept at room temperature until fully ripened. Tropical fruits should not be placed in the refrigerator except when fully ripe, and theh only in order to protect them against spoiling. The chilling of tropical fruits destroys flavor and lessens nutrient value.
When purchasing dried fruits, select only the unsulphured varieties. It is well to get into the habit of reading all printed matter on the labels of packaged foods. The law compels the manufacturers of packaged foods to list all the ingredients that have been added on the label, but this information is, in most instances, printed in the smallest type and is, therefore, often overlooked.
Always ask yourself the question: What am I getting for my money? Am I receiving full value? Are the ingredients listed on the label of benefit to me or have they been added merely because it is an accepted business practice? Will they, in the long run, be harmful?
When you go to the fruit and vegetable store, do not rely on the clerk to select produce for you, as it may be to his interest to dispose of the least desirable fruits and vegetables first. Learn how to pick them yourself.
Citrus fruits should be thin-skinned and heavy to yield most juice. Use only the tree-ripened citrus fruits, and avoid those that are color-added. The tree-ripened citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C and valuable minerals, while unripe fruits lack vitamins, have a high acid content, and hence are unfit for use.
Pineapples should be used only when fully ripe. The ripe pineapple turns yellow and gives off a sweet aroma. Spines can be plucked easily from fully ripe pineapples, but this in itself is not sufficient proof of their ripeness. The change in color to yellow and the sweet aroma must be present.
When buying bananas, make sure that you buy only the golden yellow variety, and do not use them until they have become fully ripe.
Do not buy berries in badly stained boxes, as they may be overripe or moldy. All berries except strawberries should be without hulls.
Muskmelons (cantaloupes) should have coarse and prominent veining on the surface and should be light in color with a depressed scar at the stem end. When fully ripe, they have a sweet odor. They should be heavy for their size. They should not be moldy or have soft or moist spots.
Grapes should be eaten only when ripe. Ripe grapes are sweet. Dark grapes and those with seeds are usually the most nutritious. The sweet green grapes are yellowish, while the desirable red grapes are of a dark shade. The stems of all green grapes should be green. The older the stems, the older the grapes.