Most people have a certain level of confidence with familiar foods at the grocery store, but that scope of expertise is pretty small. And if you find yourself with a Pinterest recipe that calls for an ingredient you have to research to figure out what it is, well, you might need some advice on how to nab the best product at the store.
And hey, if there are some regular, everyday things you’re not sure how to pick out (melon, for me), some tips and tricks on this list might help you, too!
It turns out, when it comes to squash, at least, that size does matter. Bigger zucchinis are more likely to be bitter, but don’t go for the smallest either – medium-sized one, between 15-20 cm, will have fewer seeds and be more meaty and tasty.
If it has a cut stem, you can also check the color – it should be green, not brown.
If your chicken has skin, it should be paler than the flesh, and if the skin is yellow or a light brown, stay far away.
Its flesh should be firm, white to light brown in color, moist, and without visible blood – and the edges shouldn’t look dry.
If you want some extra help, check the packaging date (not the expiration date), and if it’s been in there for more than two days, don’t bring it home.
You want to choose a bunch- not a single or double, as they last longer in clusters – with a green to light yellow stem.
If the stem is already brown, black spots will show up on your bananas before you can eat them all.
Check out its stem tail – if it’s dry and brown, the watermelon is ripe and ready to eat. If you want it to be super sweet, choose one with more intense spots of yellow.
And yes, you can tap on the watermelon to see how loud it is – if it sounds echoed, your melon isn’t quite ripe. You’re looking for a hollow, blunt return on your tap, instead.
The more opaque your honey, the less processed and more natural it is, so grab that one.
Also, a layer of crystals at the bottom isn’t anything to fear – it’s actually a sign of freshness.
Avoid the ones in the plastic containers, because you can’t check the smoothness and firmness of their skin, or tell whether they have a consistent weight.
Ripe tomatoes should be much heavier than an unripe one, and you should be able to double check by making sure they smell like tomatoes.
Simple but true.
Your edges should be free of holes or chew marks, and should never be even slightly brown.
You’re looking for leaves that are light dark green, very bright, and fairly firm.
You don’t want the melon that’s more green than yellow, and if a quick tap makes it vibrate, it’s nice and ripe. If you can hear water inside, though, it’s overripe.
If you’re looking for a sweet melon, apply a bit of pressure to the two ends – if they’re soft, that’s the one for you.
4. Canned Foods
Make sure there aren’t any imperfections in the packaging, like dents or rust, and always review the label to ensure the contents are preserved in their own juice or water.
A good pepper has bright, intense colors and no staining, and it’s weight should feel consistent in your palm.
Turn it over – peppers with 2 or 3 bumps will be more bitter than those with 4 bumps, and those higher-bumped peppers also have fewer seeds.
A green, firm, crispy stem means your pepper is fresh, too.
You don’t want your cheese to have a wide crust – it means it’s starting to dry out and has been cut a while.
Oil is also a bad sign, as it can indicate that it has been exposed to temperature changes and may have begun to spoil.
Even a dead fish should have protruding, shiny black eyes. Fresh fish will have skin that’s bright and silky, firm and translucent, and should bounce back from a press of your finger.
I don’t know about you, but I feel much more prepared for my next trip to the grocery store now!
Are these correct, in your experience? Was there something you were hoping to see that wasn’t there? Tell us in the comments!