• Bananas are in season all year round, while other fruits are mainly seasonal, meaning that you sacrifice on vitamin and mineral content when buying imported goods.
• As soon as fruit is cut, it starts losing nutrients. Try buying uncut fruits.
• Frozen foods normally hold their nutritional content, unless it has been defrosted and refrozen several times. Being imported, one can almost assume that this is what happened. If you can feel a lot of ice inside the bag, leave it.
• Melons, guavas and strawberries are as high in Vitamin C as citrus fruits. Produce with deep colors normally has high vitamin content. The darker the fruit, the better.
• Apples should be firm, not bruised, wrinkle-free, and good in color. Keep in the refrigerator. It will remain fresh and crunchy for weeks.
If frozen, the freezer life will be 1 year. How to freeze: Cut into slices and blanch for 1 minute, pack into rigid containers. Or puree before freezing.
• Apricots should be orange-yellow in color, plump and medium soft. Keep in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Take out and leave at room temperature at least 20 minutes before eating. Like cheese, apricots have a fuller flavor when not too cold.
• Avocados must feel heavy for their size and should not be soft or over bruised. Allow ripening at room temperature, preferably in a paper bag or rolled in newspaper. When ripe it could last up to a week.
If frozen, the shelf life will be 2 months. How to freeze: Puree fresh flesh, add lemon juice, pack into rigid containers. Thaw overnight before using for dips
• Bananas are best when light yellow or green in color and not bruised. Avoid when gray-yellow in color, since this shows that it has been frozen. It ripens fast at room temperature and should be eaten immediately once they reach their preferred stage.
If frozen, the shelf life will be 6 months. How to freeze: Puree only for cakes and puddings. Pack in solid container.
• Berries are great when plump, not bruised and without any moisture on the skin. If it is not completely ripe, store in the refrigerator – unwashed – for a few days until perfect.
• Grapefruit should be firm and not soft. The heavier ones have thinner skins and more fruit – meaning more juice and flesh. At room temperature, it will last for a week. In the refrigerator it could last up to 3 weeks.
If frozen, the shelf life will be 1 year. How to freeze: Peel, remove all pith, cut into segments, layer with sugar, pack in rigid containers and freeze. Thaw overnight to use.
• Grapes should have green stems and should be smooth and plump, not sticky. Dry stems indicate age. Grapes do not keep ripening once they have been picked. To know whether it is good, pick one and eat it in the shop. Grapes should be refrigerated as soon as possible. Store in a plastic bag and wash only before served.
If frozen, the shelf life will be 1 year. How to freeze: If seeded, wash, skin, halve and pip. Seedless, wash, Pack in rigid containers and cover with sugar syrup. Seal and freeze.
• Guavas should be small with a green-yellow skin. Only buy not bruised and plump guavas. Once it is soft to the touch, it is right to eat. Store in a cool place.
• Lemons should have rich, yellow color, a thin skin and should be heavy. At room temperature it can last for up to a week. Refrigerated and sealed in a plastic bag it could easily last for 3 weeks.
• Mangoes can vary in color from green with yellowish flushes to red. The red and yellow increases as the fruit ripen. Keep at room temperature and eat as soon as it gets soft. It will keep a few days in the refrigerator after it has ripened.
If frozen, the shelf life will be 1 year. How to freeze: Pack in freezer syrup – 8 oz sugar to 1 pint of water and 1 tbsp lemon juice. Cut mango flesh into strips pack in containers and pour over syrup, freeze.
• Nectarines: Plump, highly colored and unblemished with no shriveling. It could last for several days in the refrigerator.
• Oranges should be thin-skinned if it is used for its juice. If chosen for eating as a whole, the skin should be thicker. Oranges will keep for up to 10 days at room temperature and weeks in the refrigerator.
• Peaches should be yellow with a reddish blush. Store it spread out in the refrigerator to avoid bruising.
• Pears should be firm, not shriveled. Pears can keep up to 5 days in the
• Pineapples should have deep green crown leaves. Fragrance is a sign of flavor. Pulling out the crown is not a foolproof sign of ripeness. Do not bargain on a pineapple ripening more after it has been picked. Refrigeration is not recommended, since the flavor is best in room temperature.
• Plums have to be plump and deep in color. Choose the ones that are just starting to soften. It can keep for several days in the refrigerator.
• Pomegranates: Pink or bright red. Avoid the hard type. It can last for up to 2 weeks in a cool place.
• Strawberries should be clean, bright, solid red color, free of moisture or mold. Discard any that is too soft or bruised. Stored with the caps on, it could last for a few days in the refrigerator.
If frozen, the shelf life will be 1 year. How to freeze: Buy, hulk, wipe and open freeze on same day. Repack in poly bags and store. It will become mushy on thawing, so use for making desserts, cake fillings or purees.
• Tomatoes: Choose bright red, firm tomatoes that don’t easily dent when pressed. For the best taste, do not refrigerate and serve at room temperature.
If frozen, the shelf life will be 1 year. How to freeze: Whole: wash, place in boiling water for a few seconds, drain and drop into cold water. Skin and pack in poly bags to use for sauces and stews. Halves: Wash, half, then open freeze before packing in bags or rigid containers ready for use. Puree: Pack in rigid containers ready for use..
• Watermelon has to be firm, symmetrical, and waxy. And, the lower side should vary in color to a yellowish tint. Very hard white watermelons are usually not ripe. It is almost impossible to determine sweetness without cutting it. When cut, the flesh has to be deep red in color with a firm texture and dark seeds. Uncut melons will keep for several days at room temperature. Slices will last for several days if wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator.