Exactly How to Tell When Fruits Are Ripe

A handy grocery-store guide

Picture it: You wake up in the morning having just dreamed about a creamy, salty and slightly spicy slice of avocado toast. You put your bread in the toaster, cut into the avocado and ewwww. Why is it so brown? You just bought it yesterday! Read on to learn how to pick the right fruits from the start.

ripe fruit bananas


Ripe when: The peel is lightly spotted. Grocery stores typically display underripe bananas because they look better, so go ahead and buy them a bit green. Then wait a few days before peeling and eating.

ripe fruit pears


Ripe when: They have just a few brown spots, like bananas. They should be relatively soft and smell sweet.

ripe fruit avocado


Ripe when: The area under the stem is bright green. If that area is brown, the fruit is overripe. If it’s difficult to get the stem off, it’s probably not ripe yet.

ripe fruit tomato


Ripe when: The skin slightly yields to the touch but doesn’t mush.

ripe fruit strawberries


Ripe when: They smell like they should taste and are totally red (with no white around the stem).

ripe fruit peaches


Ripe when: They smell like they should taste, like strawberries. Their skin should also be tender to the touch but not too soft.

ripe fruit figs


Ripe when: They are also soft to the touch. Their skin should be slightly wrinkled but not shriveled, and most varieties should have a deep brown color.

ripe fruit cherries


Ripe when: Their skin is dark and firm. The stems should also be attached.

ripe fruit pineapple


Ripe when: They smell sweet, feel heavy and have healthy, green leaves.

ripe fruit cantaloupe


Ripe when: It also feels heavy and smells sweet.

ripe fruit watermelon


Ripe when: It sounds hollow and feels heavier than the others in the bunch. It should also smell slightly sweet but not overwhelmingly so.

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