Buying fruit only to take it home to find out it's spoiled is like failing a test you thought you aced; a rotten situation. Don't fear though! Here is how to shop for America's 10 most popular fruits.


At the top of the list is the iconic banana. Rich in potassium and fiber, this fruit is botanically classified as a berry.

Unripe - A banana will still be a little green/hard when unripe. If you are unable to easily break the stem to peel the banana, it's not ready yet.

Ripe -  Pick plump bananas that are a bright yellow color. Bananas will have the fullest flavor when they have small dark specks, also called "sugar specks". 

Avoid - Avoid bananas with bruises that are sunk in/moist/dark areas on the skin that mean the fruit is bruised inside. A dull, grayish tone will indicate that they were either chilled or overheated during storage

banana, vegetable
Delissa Handoko


Did you know that there are more than 2,500 different kinds of apples grown in North America? However, the only one native to the continent is the crab apple.

Unripe - Will be hard and not have a smell. 

Ripe - When choosing apples, check the entire fruit. A ripe apple should feel firm all around with a seamless skin that has no bruises. Take a sniff, fresh apples will have a sweet fragrant scent. 

Avoid - Avoid apples that are soft, discolored, have a dull colored skin, or indent easily when pressed. 

apple, juice, sweet
Ellen Gibbs


Brought to America by Spanish explorers in the early 1500s, the grape is botanically classified as a berry.

Unripe - Unripe grapes will be hard and the skin will not "give" at all. Keep in mind that when picked, grapes will not continue to ripen. 

Ripe - Fresh grapes are fleshy, plump, and firmly attached to flexible green stems. Green grapes are sweetest when they’re yellow-green, red/black grapes are best the skin is a full rich color. If you see a powdery-white coating on the grapes, that is "bloom." Bloom naturally occurs and it protects grapes from decay/moisture loss. It's a good sign of fresh grapes and is safe to eat if it doesn't wash off. 

Avoid - Mushy, shriveled, wrinkly, or leaky grapes should be avoided. Make sure to stay away from stems that are dry and brittle.

grape, pasture, berry, gooseberry, juice
Naib Mian


As a member of the rose family and the only fruit to have seeds on the outside, the strawberry is a perennial fruit loaded with vitamin C and manganese.

Unripe - An unripe strawberry will be hard to the touch and white/slightly greenish at the top. However, the best way to choose ripe strawberries is by smelling them. Unripe strawberries will smell earthy.

Ripe - Ripe strawberries will have a sweet fragrance, a red deep red skin, and the skin will only give slightly when touched. 

Avoid - Avoid strawberries that are mushy and check thoroughly for mold (usually is white or a light grey/green). Be sure to only wash strawberries when you're ready to eat them. Wet berries do not store well.  

pasture, sweet, berry, strawberry, Healthy, Fruit
Tess Tarantino


Notorious for being rich in Vitamin C, the orange is a "modified berry" that is a hybrid of the pomelo and the tangerine.

Unripe - All citrus fruits are green when unripe so avoid oranges that are not a bright orange color. Citrus fruits are also non-climacteric and will not continue to ripen after harvested. 

Ripe - A ripe orange will be firm and have thin and smooth skin. There won't be any soft spots and it will feel heavy for its size. Pick up two and feel out/weigh them!  

Avoid - Avoid oranges are soft. Make sure that there are no white spots forming on the skin, that's mold

citrus, juice, tangerine, lemon
Amelia Hitchens


The watermelon originates from South Africa and lives up to its name for being 92% water. However, it has more lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation and destroys free radicals.

Unripe - Look for the field spot, it's the side of the melon that would've been on the ground when growing. If the field spot is white, it's probably not ripe. It should be yellow instead.

Ripe - The best way to tell if a watermelon is ripe is to tap/slap it. If you hear a hollow sound, you're good to go! When you pick up the melon, it should also be heavy for it's size. 

Avoid - If you pick up the melon and hear/feel the fruit moving inside the rind, leave it. Interestingly enough, watermelon connoisseurs say that when tapped, unripe watermelons have a more of a higher pitched sound (similar to the sound slapping a table makes), while overripe ones will make a lower-pitched sound "thud" kind of sound. 

watermelon, juice, sweet, melon
Kathleen Lee


The lemon is the most used citrus in the world. It is  used as an ingredient in remedies, cosmetics, cleaning products, and is even recommended by specialists as a "mood enhancing scent."

Unripe - Unripe lemons will be hard and the skin will be a little more bumpy and might be a little green.

Ripe - A ripe lemon will feel heavy for its size and have a zesty fragrance. The skin of the lemon should be bright yellow with no wrinkles. Keep in mind that a lemon with a thinner peel lemon is better for juicing, and one with a thicker peel is better for zest. 

Avoid - While small marks on the skin won't affect the juice, make sure to check that the lemon is not too soft and has no signs of mold. 

juice, sweet, lemon, mint, lemonade, citrus, cream
Jocelyn Hsu


There are two types of blueberries - highbush (bigger/ grow more abundantly) and lowbush (wild/smaller). This fruit is high is antioxidants and will freeze in 5 minutes!

Unripe - A blueberry that is firm or shows some hints of red is not fully ripe and will most likely be sour. Avoid white and green blueberries. 

Ripe - Ripe blueberries will be plump and have smooth deep blue skin. Don't be worried if there is a white powder like substance, that's the naturally occurring bloom! 

Avoid - Avoid blueberries that have wrinkled/leaky skin and packages that have fuzzy white mold. Make sure not to wash them until you plan on eating them; premature washing will make blueberries mushy. 

blueberries, blueberry, berry, sweet, Healthy, Fruit
Tess Tarantino


Originating in China, there are over 2,000 varieties of peaches in the world! The Hungarians called the peach the "fruit of calmness" because of the calming and anxiety reducing effects of the phytonutrients in the fruit. 

Unripe - If the peach is firm to the touch or has any hint of green is not ready.  it’s not ready. 

Ripe - The peach should “give” when you gently squeeze it and smell sweet. Ripe peaches become rounder as they ripen and the skin will be dark yellow in color.

Avoid - Avoid peaches that are very soft, mushy, have many bruises, and are shriveled. If you smell a peach and it does not have a scent, it will have minimal flavor. 

pasture, nectarine, peach, apple
Dea Uy


Did you know that the cantaloupe we know and love is not a cantaloupe but a reticulated muskmelon? The true cantaloupe is actually from Europe and has ribbed light green skin.

Unripe - A cantaloupe that has a flat web covering a grey-green rind is unripe. If the melon does not have a smell, has lumpy ends, or nubs of stem still attached, it was picked too early.

Ripe - Smell the cantaloupe at the end opposite where the stem would have been. A ripe cantaloupe with smell very sweet and have a cream colored/tan/yellow rind under a noticeably raised webbed pattern. 

Avoid - Avoid cantaloupes that are mushy, have leaky sides, or have punctures/very dark patches. 

melon, cantaloupe, sweet, vegetable, watermelon, honeydew melon
Jocelyn Hsu

Picking fresh fruit is easy and fun, so make sure to grab a friend the next time you go grocery shopping!