Bananas Are Chemically Ripened and 7 Other Grocery Store Facts

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During the summer, farmers markets are a hit and many grocery stores offer a different array of fruits like pineapples and berries. But even though these fruits and veggies look dazzling in color and ready to eat, you should still think twice about consuming them without washing first.

Here are some tasty facts that your grocer probably hasn’t told you about their produce.

8. Apples

Those delicious apples you prefer? They could be up to 10 months old!

That’s right. Shelf life is important to maintain supply and many apples are harvested in the fall. So that summer apple you desire might have been hanging around in warehouses a while before you take it home. Most apples are coated in chemicals and tucked in cold storage to keep them ripening too quickly.

7. Pre-washed produce is not ready to eat

Bagged lettuce has made preparing food easy and simple. Especially after a long day, who wants to cut up a head of lettuce? Sure bagged lettuce was gone through a pre-wash process, but it isn’t clean enough. Brianna Nash, creator of Balance + Lift explained to Reader’s Digest that her and her husband, Zach, used to work in a grocery store and, “All the produce is really dirty, and after putting out produce, his hands would be really black.”

6. Creepy crawlers on your food

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This gives me the heebie-jeebies. While most produce sits in storage waiting to be served to consumers, there really is no perfect way to protect it from bugs or rodents. “Rodents will crawl on them, and bugs like spiders, frogs, flies, etc. So, don’t trust that it’s clean. Always wash the produce you buy,” Nash said.

5. Organic isn’t what you think

Most people (like me) think organic means produce grown without pesticides, but that is not the case. Organic produce can be protected by pesticides that are deemed organic. So just because the pretty watermelon was raised on an organic farm, that doesn’t mean it went without being sprayed.

But no worries, just wash your fruit!

4. The freshest fruit is “in the back”

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Inventory in grocery stores is important to alleviate rotting produce. With this in mind, grocers will shift the products in such a way so that the consumer picks the produce closest to expiration. When looking at a shelf, especially one containing pre-cut fruit, pick from the back to get the fresher batch.

3. Fruits and veggies have been previously handled

Not only has produce been handled by grocers, warehouse employers, and more, think about your fellow shopper. They plump, sniff, squeeze and touch produce to ensure they are choosing wisely (I think we’ve all done this). But here’s the thing: where have all those hands been?

Pretty gross, right? So be sure to thoroughly wash your veggies before eating.

2. Bananas

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When bananas are picked from the farm or plantation, they are extremely green and under ripe. Ethelyne is a natural plant hormone that ripens fruits. When a banana bunch is harvested, it stops the production of this chemical, thus leaving the bananas green. According to NPR, scientists have figured out a way to release this gas in warehouses to get fruit “store” ready.

1. The Salad Bar

Nowadays, a lot of grocery stores have a ready-to-eat salad bar set up. Most times, whatever is in the salad bar first sat and aged on the shelf.

Don’t worry, it’s not bad or harmful. It’s just aged past the prime point for shelf purchases.