Cherries & Grapes: Be careful; color can be deceiving. There’s such variety in both fruits’ sizes, shapes and textures that there’s really only one way to check... Get to grazing! We know, we know—it’s frowned upon at most grocery stores and farmer’s markets, but this is the best way to test for the sweetest, ripest spoils.
Celery: One of the more straight-forward produce items, a good stalk of celery is pretty simple to detect. Make sure the stalks are firm, packed tightly and that there are no wilting leaves. Stay away from spreading or soft and bendable stalks; those with a majority whitish hue are also generally a no-go.
Tomatoes: When you hold a tomato in your hand, it should seem a little heavy for its size, with a soft—not squishy!—texture. The harder the tomato, the less ripe it is. A fairly deep, uniform color and a shiny surface will also indicate freshness. And of course, any blemishes predict a deep-forming bruise that’ll appear sooner rather than later.
Sweet Bell Peppers: It’s a popular claim that bell peppers can be male or female, depending on their number of bottom lobes, and that their gender can help indicate taste. It’s a pretty cool thought, but it’s never been scientifically proven. In the meantime, keep an eye out for a pepper that’s firm, evenly colored and glossy. Hot tip: Peppers with straighter sides will be easier to peel or cut.
Potatoes: The most misleading vegetable around! This veggie is already lumpy and awkward, so for some people, it’s pretty hard to discern quality. However, intense discoloration, growths through the skin and a soft, mushy texture are indicators that a potato’s gone sour.
Didn’t get a chance to read up on Part I? Check it out here.