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How to tell when fruit is ripe?

A pleasing appearance is only one clue to the ripeness of fruit. Today, many fruits are artificially ripened without reaching their natural stage of maturity. Although these fruits may look attractive. they can nevertheless taste disappointing. It is important, therefore, to also use your senses of smell and touch when selecting the best fresh fruit.

Unwrinkled fruit that feels heavy for its size is likely to have a good juice content and a sweet flavour. Skins should be unblemished, free of bruises, splits and any signs of insect damage. Tough, dry, wrinkled skins on citrus fruits indicate that the rind has lost its essential oils and the zest will not be suitable for use in cooking.

The ripeness of many tree fruits, such as the dessert pear, plum, peach and nectarine can be ascertained by a light squeeze with the thumb; if the fruit yields to gentle pressure it should be nice to eat.

Berry fruits should be dry and undamaged. Check the packaging of berries for crushing, leakage or signs of mould or wetness. Test melons, pawpaws and pineapples for ripeness by sniffing the base of the fruit. An attractive, sweet, fresh fragrance indicates the fruit is ripe. Bananas develop freckled' skins when ripe.

Over-ripe fruit smells musty and often has soft, dark patches on the skin, indicating that the interior flesh also contains rotten patches.

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09:42:44 on 11/26/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -